Before art, there was friendship. Before an office, a website that detailed their conversations at university and in the cafes. Above all, a perspective on the world. No coincidence then that in 2007 Claudia Cavalieri, Chiara Ciucci Giuliani, Valentina Fiore, Nicoletta Guglielmucci, Fabrizio Manzari, Simona Merra, Antonio Pizzolante, Francesco Rao, Carmela Rinaldi and Saverio Verini formed a group of art historians and curators called Sguardo contemporaneo. And even before that, carried out their Nuova Gestione projects (in the Quadraro area in 2012 and Casal Bertone in 2014) of long shared walks. The power of the journey.
Inspiration came with the recession and the many 'FOR RENT' signs. That was how Sguardo Contemporaneo decided to take to vacant spaces in out-of-the-way areas. Neighbourhoods with a history (the German search of the Quadraro area on April 17, 1944, the occupation of the Casal Bertone sports centre in the '80s, the Railwaymen's building, partisan heroes like Giorgio Marincola, etc.). Neighbourhoods to which to bring artists with work capable of dialoguing with the local community and history. They call it "the reactivation of disused areas." Because perhaps art is simply a motor which sets in motion forgotten paths, meaning that even in the preparatory stages the inhabitants are involved in guided tours which aim to restore to them a distant past and a new perspective with which to view their streets. A motor that creates dialogue and, above all, human energy: that empathy which seems to be the first ingredient of the contemporary gaze. Then, with the participation of the artists, more walks, discussions and reflection. This time even more longer. Signora Vanda from the Quadraro district, whose father was deported on April the 17th, is still moved when she thinks about those young people and their contemporary vision.
After all, that's what art should do today: play a role of mediation. Simply bring things closer together.
The story has been written by Gaia Manzini, writer
10 curators and art historians who have been bringing exhibition to the historic districts of the outskirts of Rome since 2007.