Andrea Galvani, New York and Mexico City based artist. Photo by Monkeys Video Lab. Courtesy the artist
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am a visual artist and cross-disciplinary researcher working with photography, video, drawing, sculpture, archival material, sound, architectural installation, and performance. As a boy I was obsessed with the invisible, the infinitely small, the unseen interior of things. I grew up in an environment where research, scientific experimentation, as well as a particular sensitivity to art and music were everyday languages. My father was a pioneer of surgical nephrology.
In 1968, he was part of the team that carried out the first human kidney transplant in Italy. As a child, I remember the joy of Sunday afternoons, I listened to him for hours answering complex questions with such clarity and simplicity. That thirst for knowledge, that unstoppable desire to understand has remained with me to this day, and it is the driving force behind many of my projects.
2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?
I think of museums as places where we go to experience, to learn, to get lost, to reconnect, similar to the way that I immerse myself in nature. The word ‘museum’ comes from the Greek μουσείον, the temple or shrine of the muses. It’s a place where we go to get inspired. Living and working between New York and Mexico City means that some of the world’s most remarkable museums are at my fingertips. There are so many great institutions with incredible shows, it’s hard to list my favorites. A museum is a container of ideas, and is made by what’s inside through a special dialogue between the architecture and the art.
On the top of my list in New York, I would place the Whitney, and it’s gotten even better since they moved downtown to their new Renzo Piano building. A perfect spring day in New York is going there after gallery hopping in Chelsea, and this year we have a mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu to look forward to. I love the Brooklyn Museum because of the creative and pioneering ways they present thoughtfully curated exhibitions of their impressive permanent collection.
I also love Frank Lloyd Wright’s open spiral at the Guggenheim Museum, a challenging architectural space that after more than 60 years is still unique in the way that it allows the public to experience shows as a continuous flow while one can also look over the edge and see the exhibition as a whole. In Mexico City I really enjoy Museo Jumex, Museo Tamayo, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología. I’m excited for Felix Gonzalez-Torres: The Politics of Relation, opening at MACBA Barcelona in March.
I also love MOCA, LACMA and The Broad Museum in Los Angeles; Pérez Art Museum in Miami; Pirelli Hangar Bicocca and Fondazione Prada in Milan; MASP and Pinacoteca in São Paulo; the Niterói in Rio de Janeiro; MALBA Buenos Aires; the Stedelijk in Amsterdam; Haus der Kunst in Munich; Kunsthalle Basel; Museo Reina Sofia and the Prado in Madrid; and many others where I’ve had the opportunity to experience powerful and thoughtful exhibitions.
3.How important are social networks in your business? Which platform do you prefer and why?
Social networks are important for connecting with global audiences and engaging in a more intimate, unmediated manner. In this era of social distancing, digital media has become our primary tool to navigate, learn, experience and engage. I prefer Instagram because it’s intuitive, fun and as a visual platform I find it most conducive to sharing images. It’s also a joy to see how the public perceives my work through the photographs and videos they share, especially during exhibitions and fairs when there’s an explosion of stories and posts.
4.What are your future projects?
2020 was a super productive year for me, despite the pandemic, and 2021 has been off to a great start. Just a few months ago in Rome at the Mattatoio / MACRO Testaccio, I opened “La sottigliezza delle cose elevate”, a monumental solo showcurated by Angel Moya Garcia. For this project I designed a site-specific installation that centered around an ongoing live performance which progressively transformed all 1,300 square meters of the Mattatoio’s iconic Pavilion 9B.
Looking back it was a miracle that we were able to accomplish such a complex exhibition in spite of all obstacles generated by this global emergency. Thousands of enthusiastic visitors were able to see the show and attend performances with timed tickets, always prioritizing safety and following public health guidelines.
I am currently participating in several museum shows, including “Time present: photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection” curated by Friedhelm Hütte at Palais Populaire in Berlin, and “Stasi frenetica: Artissima Unplugged” curated by Ilaria Bonacossa and Valerio Del Baglivo at Palazzo Madama in Turin.
I’m simultaneously developing a new body of work and finalizing some public art commissions. I have major plans throughout this year and into the next, including exhibitions at galleries, fairs, and museums in the USA, Mexico, Asia, and Europe. I am also building a new studio, which is very exciting.
Andrea Galvani (b. 1973, Italy) lives and works in New York and Mexico City. Adopting a cross-disciplinary approach that often draws upon scientific methodology, Galvani’s conceptual research informs his use of photography, video, drawing, sculpture, sound, architectural installation, and performance. Investigating relationships between fragility and monumentality, temporality and continuity, visibility and invisibility, Galvani’s practice often draws upon the multiplicity of language, institutional collaboration, and collective action. His vast and immersive body of work extends our perspective from individual to collective, personal to planetary and beyond—contextualizing human experience within geological time, cosmic change, and social transformation.
Galvani has exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum, New York; the 4th Moscow Biennial for Contemporary Art; the Mediations Biennial, Poznań, Poland; 9th Biennial of Contemporary Art of Nicaragua; Art in General, New York; Aperture Foundation, New York; The Calder Foundation, New York; Pavilion – Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Bucharest; Mart Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Trento; Macro Museum, Rome; GAMeC, Bergamo; De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam; Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen; Sculpture Center, New York; among others. His work is part of major public and private collections in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, including: the Permanent Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Deutsche Bank Collection, London; Artist Pension Trust, New York; the Contemporary Art Society, Aspen Collection, New York; the UniCredit Art Collection, Milan; the Permanent Collection of the United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC; the Mart Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto; the 500 Capp Street Foundation, San Francisco; and MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome. He was a visiting artist at New York University, and has completed several artist residencies in New York, including Location One International Artist Residency Program, the LMCC Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the MIA Artist Space Program/Columbia University School of the Arts. In 2011, he received the New York Exposure Prize and was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. In 2016, the Mart Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto presented Galvani’s first mid-career retrospective in Europe. In 2017, his work was selected to represent the Deutsche Bank Collection at Frieze New York. Andrea Galvani (Mousse Publishing), a comprehensive monograph of over 10 years of work and research, was published September 2018 and is distributed worldwide. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious Audemars Piguet Prize. In 2020, the artist presented a monumental solo show and 3-month long durational performance at the Mattatoio Roma / MACRO Testaccio.