For those that don’t know, can you give us a little background on yourself and the types of projects and work you do.
I’m a contemporary art curator and I’m based in Florence, although I work internationally. I’m particularly interested in artistic practices that involve transitioning between different mediums. I work as a curator at the Fondazione In Between Art Film. Founded by Beatrice Bulgari, the Foundation support the work of artists and institutions that explore the field of the moving image through exhibitions, new productions, and international partnerships. Since 2008 I’m also the curator of Lo Schermo dell’Arte, a Festival in Florence dedicated to the dialogue between contemporary art and cinema.
How did you first come in contact with the Villa Lena project and become part of the board?
I was introduced to Villa Lena by Caroline Bourgeois, curator of the Pinault collection. It was the very early days of the Residency Programme and I was very surprised to discover a new contemporary art project in Tuscany that I didn’t know of. Since then I have tried to visit the Villa as much as I could!
What is special about Villa Lena and its location within Tuscany?
Villa Lena is an absolute dream! I don’t know what you can desire more then being immersed in a beautiful forest surrounded by pristine nature. Geographically it’s close to Florence and to some other areas, like Carrara, that can be very interesting for an artist working with sculpture for example.
The community that passes through the Villa is diverse and international and can stimulate new creative connections. Also I think that the decision to welcome partners and children is extremely important, in particular for female artists, because many residency programmes don’t allow this.
What sort of artists do you find are drawn to Villa Lena and what do you personally look for in an artist-in-residence when selecting?
Personally I’m interested when I read in the application that there is a specific reason why the artist would benefit from the residency in the moment they apply. It could be for a specific project or research that engages with the territory or even simply the need to work in a remote location for some time. I also think it’s a plus if the artist is ready to share his/her practice with the community of the Villa and how the practice is permeable to collaborations.
How do you feel artists, writers and other creative individuals benefit from creating work on the property and in the community?
I believe that Villa Lena is a unique place to slow down and to research and think in order to develop new projects. Sometimes for artists it is essential to escape the “noise” of big cities and the continuous obligations of the contemporary art circuit. Villa Lena also offers the possibility to become part of an international community with some interesting cross over connection to Music for example.
Within the VL Foundation we are discussing how we can support artists better during their residencies, what support do you think artists could benefit from ?
I think it could be very interesting to develop even more connection with local artisans traditions and of course the few contemporary art institutions of the territory. For each residency round you could organize a programme of studio visits or maybe welcome international curators that could spend a weekend at the Villa and network with the artists.
And finally is there a project / artist / exhibition you are really excited about at the moment that you could share with us.
This week I’m going to Venice and I’m really looking forward to seeing the exhibition of Bruce Nauman at Punta della Dogana/Palazzo Grassi. He is a true master of our time!
Leonardo Bigazzi Works as curator at Fondazione In Between Art Film for which he has commissioned and produced several artists’ films. He is also part of the editorial team of the Foundation’s research platform STILL Studies on Moving Images.
He is the curator of Lo Schermo dell’Arte since 2008, founder and co-director of Feature Expanded (2015-2018) and founder and curator of VISIO – European Programme on Artists’ Moving Images (2012-ongoing). Over 150 artists have participated to these two research and residency programmes.
He has curated exhibitions and film programs in institutions such as Fondazione Merz (Turin), Paul Klee Zentrum (Bern), CAC-Passerelle (Brest), MAXXI (Rome), Palazzo Strozzi and Museo Marino Marini (Florence).
He sits on boards and committees including the acquisitions committee of FRAC Bretagne (2020-2022).