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A Day in the Art Life of...

A Day in the Art Life of Marialuisa Pastò

Photograph of Marialuisa Pastò by Nebojsa Babic.

The ‘A Day in the Art Life’ series is meant to convey a sense of the life of art world figures; a taste of their routine or an ideal day in their life, sprinkled with some philosophical musings.

A woman sleeping with her back on the bed in front of a large window during the daytime.
Marialuisa Pastò is an art writer and independent curator living in Milan, Italy. She is associate curator at Bienvenue Art Fair in Paris and project manager at MIA Fair in Milan. She is an editor of Daily Lazy contemporary art platform and one of the jurors of the Prisma Art Prize in Rome. She has previously collaborated with publications including Corriere della Sera and she has been co-owner and curator of the exhibition space Soyuz.

My day begins with… I’m not a very routine kind of person but I’ve learned that taking some time for yourself is the best way to get in harmony with the day that is about to begin. The intimate space of morning solitude is a necessary moment for me to focus on ideas and to find the right concentration, thus allowing creativity to flow.

The day starts better after a night of dreaming. I pay a lot of attention to what I’ve dreamed and, as a matter of fact, my day usually starts with me writing down fragments of my dream sleep on a notebook I always keep on my bedside table, in order to fix the transient contents passing through my mind.

And only then I go about my day by checking my email.

Image: Kuala Lumpur, view from one of the places I was staying in Malaysia.
A specially designed table, chair, dog sculpture on the floor in an art gallery with wooden floors and white walls.

Galerie Chloé Salgado with Lulù Nuti, Xolo Cuintle, installation view, Bienvenue Art Fair, Paris, co-curated by Domenico de Chirico and me, (April 2022, second edition).

A two-storey villa with a cream-colored green grassy garden.

When I need to feel inspired, I… Nothing opens up the world of imagination more than doing new things, or even the same in a new way.

I am the type of person who rearranges my workspace everyday or so because I can get bored with the layout if it stays for a long time. I also like working in different places, such as the lovely bar LOFT cafè & bistrot, next to my home in Milan (located in a former Coca-Cola factory, today converted into a residential complex), which has practically become my second office, and the enchanting setting of a bucolic place in Tuscany very dear to me called I Farivi b&b, where I take refuge whenever I can and where I can write undisturbed.

But inspiration is not just an unexpected flash of light, something that suddenly comes along. I think it's more a matter of mindset. More than anything, it's the way of being attentive to your surroundings, a receptive way of perceiving the world and accepting the stimuli it offers you at any moment. It lies in the little things that others may overlook and in welcoming challenges that force you to try new approaches and think outside the box. I take mental notes of my ideas anytime, but also on my phone or on pieces of paper that I love to keep between the pages of a book and forget them, in order to rediscover them accidentally after a time.

Image: I Frarivi b&b, private villa from the ‘30s, Apuan Riviera, Tuscany.

Mouches Volantes with works by Nils-Simon Fischer, Matthias Grotevent, Phillipp Röcker, Deniz Saridas; a project curated by Mara Sporn (April 2022).

Andrea Festa Fine Art, with works by Jade van der Mark and Dylan Hurwitz (October 2022, third edition).

Some of my best ideas come… From my passions and curiosity. I strongly believe in the value of a cross approach to knowledge as a source of investigation: I often get inspiration from something from my past experiences, my background in photography, my humanities studies and my interest in the themes of ancient Greek literature, my expertise in advertising…

Likewise music, Antonioni, Buñuel and Godard films, new reading, good talks and above all traveling: not only do they open up the world of the imagination, but they help me learn new information. Every detail can conceal a story that is begging to be told.

Philippe Lhomme, Bienvenue Art Fair Production (December 2021, first edition).

Atelier Tchikebe with Laurent Lacotte, Jeanne Susplugas, Frank Perrin, Emmanuel Régent, Tornadus Lacombe (April 2022, second edition).

Prague’s view from the hotel I was staying last time.

A photo I took on the Borgia set at the Barrandov Studios in Prague.

The art spaces I enjoy going to… Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, to name but one, where I especially like to go alone to take a pause and enjoy the intimate and enveloping experience of the visual narratives that unwind through its huge spaces. Known for its immersive large-scale installations, it is, indeed, one of those kinds of venues that manage to freeze time.

I like to experience new art places and all the ones abroad I manage to visit throughout my travels and that I used to know only from a distance.

The place that means a lot to me… Prague. I went there about ten years ago for the first time to work for the historical drama television series Borgia at the art department of Barrandov Studios and I was totally ravished by the magnetic and timeless atmosphere that characterizes it.

I try to go there whenever I can and I always come back with a lighter spirit.

Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx (in front of a work by Urs Lüthi), exhibition view from Unders at Soyuz.

Lenz Geerk, mixed media and collage on paper, 2018.

Vivian Greven (together with works by Wilhelm von Gloeden), exhibition view from L’Esule e le Grazie at Soyuz, curated by Marialuisa Pastò, 2018.

Andrey Bogush, exhibition view from I’ll be back in a moment at Bid Project in Milan, curated by Marialuisa Pastò, 2016.

I have a collection of… My collection basically consists of artworks from some of the contemporary artists I’ve worked with, such as a beautiful drawing that Lenz Geerk gift me, a big UV print on PVC curtain by Andrey Bogush, a ceramic sculpture by Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx, but also a photograph by talented Rhomi Martens, a print by Anouk Kruithof, a lithography by Dalì that a very dear friend of mine gave me years ago…

The artwork/object/thing that I could never part with… My old writing-book of poems from when I was sixteen; I still happen to recognize myself in the temperament of those thoughts.

Two rectangular objects hanging on the walls of a room with white walls, gray carpet, illuminated by white lights.

If I could, I would collect… All the ones that captured my attention through an impalpable sense of connection. Those artists whose work conveys the authenticity of a distinct entity, without the need to give in to the lure of expectations easy to please and which also invited me to reassess my own interpretation codes a bit: The Divorce from the series True Stories (The Autobiographies) by Sophie Calle, Lisetta Carmi, Kounnellis, Brancusi, Martin Soto Climent, to name a few.

Some of the ones I've got the chance to know closely, such as Magnus Frederik Clausen, Maria Loboda (namely the photographic prints from the series A Man of His Word), as well as the young London-based painter Georgia-May Travers Cook…

Some specific ones among the extraordinary artists I’ve worked with, like Vivian Greven and Philip Seibel and even many others among those who have taken part in BIENVENUE Art Fair over its editions at the Hotel La Louisiane in Paris.

Image: Philip Seibel, exhibition view from The Yellow Mill at Soyuz, Pescara, curated by Marialuisa Pastò, 2019.
A double bed with a white cover in a circular room with yellow walls.

My idea of happiness… Firstly, it is simply a sense of opportunity: when something is about to begin, as much as the precise moment that precedes the final outcome; everything that stimulates curiosity, making a moment an experience.

It’s a question of intentionality too: every time I learn something new; writing at night when everyone's asleep; reading over an old note and understanding it for the first time; feeling a smell of the past stuck in my memory; living with irony.

Image: KUK Gallery, installation view, Bienvenue Art Fair, Paris, 2021, Photo by Maurine Tric (December 2021).
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