Cris Contini Contemporary tells MAW about the running of their gallery as they celebrate their first anniversary in Mayfair!
Could you please tell us about the founders of Cris Contini Contemporary – Cristian Contini and Fulvio Granocchia.
Cris Contini Contemporary’s founders Cristian Contini and Fulvio Granocchia have known each other for many years, being friends before business partners. Their paths, professional and personal, have been united by their passion for art, leading to many collaborations including the opening of their gallery.
Cristian Contini is a second-generation gallerist, growing up around modern art he frequently spent time with artists such as Fernando Botero and Igor Mitoraj.
Years ago he started to focus more on contemporary art and in 1996 he created ArtStyle, the first free art magazine in Italy that focused on art, design, architecture and jewellery; which is still in print after 22 years.
With over 20 years of experience working alongside his father in Italy, Cristian has acquired a curatorial expertise. In 2018 he founded Cris Contini Contemporary with his business partner Fulvio Granocchia, with the purpose of promoting and representing a selection of artists to a worldwide audience with curated exhibitions, art fairs and printed publications.
Fulvio, born in Rome, moved to London at the age of 16 where he graduated in government and political science, however he has always been surrounded by art. His father introduced him to the antiques business, with Fulvio becoming an expert in Renaissance art and antique jewellery, curating exhibitions and cataloguing for auction houses.
Could you please tell us about Cris Contini Contemporary.
Cris Contini Contemporary officially opened in Mayfair last year, on 14th February 2019. The choice to open a new gallery in London, precisely in Mayfair, was pretty easy to take, as the UK capital is renowned as the center of the European art market. Mayfair is the natural place to be for any high-end gallery in this city; when we decided to open in London, it was very important to have a good location, and here we are within a short walk of the most important galleries and auction houses in the world.
Utilising the experience, knowledge and passion of the Cristian and Fulvio as well as the professional team at Cris Contini Contemporary, we are able to offer our clients tailor made solutions, giving our collectors the best advice for their investment that will unite their love for art with the purchase of an asset.
We collaborate with galleries in Italy on national and international projects, and plan to open a second gallery in Milan soon.
For MAW2019 you hosted a sculpture workshop with the artist Michelangelo Galliani. Could you tell us a bit about this artist’s work?
Galliani works as a professor of “Techniques of marble and hard stones” at the Academy of Fine Arts in Urbino. His work as artist can be described as a tenacious challenge to the stone and its hardness by manually and methodically carving it using surgical instruments. This unusual technique marks an important milestone in the growth of his conceptual work and the creation of an original and exquisite style. He focuses on expressions, contorted bodies, soft carved features and divine elegance, combining different traditions and employing his technical accuracy. The result is a mesmerising production of artworks that present a varied, irrational, and aesthetically captivating interpretation of classical sculpture.
The idea of proposing such a different type of event for MAW2019, a sculpture workshop with the artist Michelangelo Galliani showing the phases of his work on marble, was about proposing a new experience that would be engaging for the audience. Michelangelo was able to connect with the people that participated in a way that made the workshop a great success.
What process you go through to select the artists you represent at Cris Contini Contemporary Gallery?
The selection of the artists roster is very important for the gallery and the choice usually fully represents what the directors, being collectors themselves, would invest in. The choice is always made by them, either they discover a new talent, or an artist proposes him/herself. It is very important for Cris Contini Contemporary Gallery to be committed to promote the research and the activity of an artist we fully trust for his development in the art market but also from a curatorial point of view.
Is there an artist you are particularly excited about working with at them moment?
Cris Contini Contemporary is currently cultivating a relationship with Endless, a British street artist. His radical and provocative creations give an honest and philosophical depiction of his surroundings, exploring the principles that regulate the modern world of fashion, advertising and contemporary cultures. Collaborating with several fashion brands, including Karl Lagerfeld, Fiorucci and Clarks, Endless is making headway in the art world. He is reaching a wider audience through his unique form of expression and addressing contemporary issues which a new generation can relate to.
Cris Contini Contemporary also puts great attention into environmental and sustainable projects and on artists such as David Begbie, who uses only recycled steel mesh for his sculptures that explore the relationships between masculinity and femininity, positive and negative, matter and antimatter, light and dark.
Do you have a relationship with other Italian galleries in Mayfair / London?
We haven’t collaborated with other Italian galleries in London yet, but we do very much respect the work that our compatriots are doing in this city. Although being competitors, we do share the same mission, promote Italian art and Italian professionalism on an international level in order to highlight how Italy is still synonymous with quality and prestige.