The prestige of Galleria Continua is due, among other reasons, to manage a city like San Gimignano, in the Tuscan hills of Italy, to show today a wonderful combination between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with first level art of the 21st century. In this small town, 15 of its 72 medieval towers are preserved, and it has also been an exhibition space for internationally renowned artists. These are stimulating contemporary touches along with impeccable evidence of the Middle Ages.
In 1990, from an old movie theater in San Gimignano, three friends: Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi and Maurizio Rigillo, began to build a future that today puts them at the very epicenter of contemporary art. Away from the big cities they created a prestigious, solid, and proven profile now. This location has allowed them to establish new ways of dialogue and symbiosis between such contrasting categories such as rurality and technology, local and global, old and contemporary art, as well as between established and emerging creators.
Five internationally renowned artists: Michelangelo Pistoletto, Anish Kapoor, Shilpa Gupta, Daniel Buren and Nikhil Chopra, who raise even more the prestige of the most important contemporary art event in Latin America, come to Cuba during the 12th Biennial of Havana from Galleria Continua.
Discovering new artists and confronting dissimilar creative universes is one of the objectives of this major international project. Currently, Continua is distinguished by being one of the few Western galleries featuring artists from around the world. This distinction has been achieved with projects such as the one initiated a decade ago in Beijing, when China still was not, as it is today, a market with privileged positions not only economically, but artistically.
The experience of Beijing led to the opening in 2007 of a new site on the outskirts of Paris: Les Moulins, where projects and exhibitions of monumental works made by artists from the five continents are exhibited several times a year.
One of the most important projects of Arte Continua association is Arte all’Arte for the interest in connecting the present time with history. At the same time it encourages partnerships between local cultures and emerging artistic communities. “The method is to synergize the various social fabrics, schools, artisans, farmers and artists in an interactive way through art to create new levels of dialogue,” says Laura Salas Redondo, Cuban curator associated with this project who confirmed in an interview with Art OnCuba that “despite being a commercial gallery it has a philanthropic vocation, which is to share the culture and art not to remain only in the elites”.
The link of the Biennale and Galleria Continua started from the congruence between the curatorial line of the first and multiple projects of the second one. Especially with the idea of the “Tercer Paraíso” (Third Paradise), by Pistoletto, where three circles reform the mathematical sign of the infinite and represent a concept of social transformation in order to bring together in a single work: art, science, economics, spirituality and politics.
Ties between Havana and San Gimignano are also strengthened through Carlos Garaicoa, Cuban artist represented by Galleria Continua along with Jose Yaque. In this way, it began the articulation with other projects such as the one of Daniel Buren and his intervention at the city gates and Casablanca station, Anish Kapoor with a video art at Payret Cinema, Shilpa Gupta in Villena Library and Nikhil Chopra with a performance in Arms Square .
Besides the impact that can per se generate figures like them, for Salas this means “to break the exoticism that Cuba always has and that artists to do good things here. It is also a unique moment of rupture, changes, and that, from art and culture we can do much for society. It is, without doubt, a moment of visibility for the country. “
The added value of the Galleria Continua lies in its artists manage to translate their reflections on art in specific projects for the places in which they are exhibited. The high expectations of Cuba with Galleria Continua are not restricted to the event which began on May 22 on the island but soon -it is estimated for next November- it will be in Havana a cultural center in conjunction with the National Council of Plastic Arts to bring four times a year artists from the payroll of the project. The Biennale will serve as a bridge to create a direct and constant link between Cuban art and Galleria Continua, adding another space to its cultural map: San Gimignano – Beijing – Le Moulins – Havana.