A TALK WITH FRANCO NOERO
Photography by Matteo Pastorio
Franco Noero feels a particular affection for Turin. A center far from the center, as he calls it, where he opened his first gallery and, a few years ago, also the second one. During our encounter, we spoke about the countless artistic potentials of this city and of Italy, the origins of his passion for contemporary art and the collectors’ new generation.
When did your passion for contemporary art start and how did it evolve?
It started when I was a young boy of 14 or 15 years old, and it coincided with a visit that clarified my thoughts, which were quite confused at that time: the visit at the Ouverture exhibition at Castello di Rivoli. Since then, I understood that I wanted to work with art, even if I didn’t really know what it was. I soon started to imagine me as a gallerist, observing and contributing to the growth of the ideas that I loved and that I’ve been lucky enough to meet.
Which is the most difficult part of working as a gallerist?
To keep moral and intellectual integrity, and constantly research for quality. Even at the cost of big and radical sacrifices.
Do you remember the first artist you exhibited?
Of course, but I prefer to talk about the second one. Joking aside, I soon interrupted the collaboration with the first one, but I’ve been working with the second for 20 years now: Henrik Olesen.
You really believe in Turin. Here, you both opened your first gallery in 1999 and, two years ago, the second one in Piazza Carignano. Have you ever thought about opening a venue in another Italian or foreign city? What bound you so deeply to this place?
I truly believe in Turin and its potentials of being “a center far from the center”. There are important actors and factors that keep me anchored to this city, which welcomed but still tests me everyday. Maybe at the moment, what it needs the most is a strong direction and the will of always doing better. I’ve had a beautiful gallery in Rome for four years with two friends, Gavin Brown and Toby Webster, which was an amazing experience. Nowadays I often think about the possible development of the gallery with my shareholder Pierpaolo Falone, and thus also to the eventual opening of an external venue, but we still don’t really know how to achieve this step. We’ll see.
You represent several emerging artists, both local and international. In your opinion, does Italy give the right attention to the new generation of creatives?
Unfortunately, the Italian support system to ideas and creativity has many gaps and there’s a lot that can and have to be done. But still, we have a great museum system capable of working miracles even with the lack of founds. For example, in Turin, Bolzano and Naples miracles happened for real. Then there are privates. Italy, even without tax relief and everything connected, has many people and private foundations that have sustained and sustain art and creativity with great foresights.
Even if you’re based in Turin, fairs and artistic events allow you to travel all over the world. Based on your experience, what does differentiate Italian collectors from the foreign ones?
Some time ago they were known for their intellectual curiosity and unscrupulousness. Unfortunately, nowadays I notice a bit of shyness expecially in the new generations.
Are you familiar with Mutina? Which aspect impressed you the most about our company?
I got to know Mutina after having met Massimo Orsini and I visited their gorgeous head quarters, a Mangiarotti’s masterpiece where I started watching with extreme interest at the company’s work with design. Art is the right answer to the need of flying even higher.
Is there an artist from the past that you’d like to work with?
Henri Rousseau. Blinky Palermo. Alighiero Boetti.