Piacenza | Italia
Michele Cristella is a trader in the transport and automotive sector
At 31 years old, you're the youngest collector of Collective. When did you begin and how was this passion born?
I started collecting five years ago, the passion was born during the years of my education in high school, university and a small but significant experience in the art market, within a contemporary art gallery. It has been a very exciting and at the same time a stressful adventure, it helped me to understand most of the difficulties young galleries and emerging artists face in entering the art market.
Your first and last art acquisition?
My first acquisition was a canvas by Felipe Rivas San Martin, Chilean artist and writer who investigates the society by digging through pornography, post feminism, gender identity, internet and technology. The last acquisition was a photo by Diane Severin Nguyen, an American artist based in Los Angeles, who has developed an image language mostly linked to the study of some elements she assembled, which she photographs in a stressful physical condition, just before the decay, the implosion, the end.
What is the focus of your collection and how has it evolved?
The collection was born with the desire to gather artworks that focused on various topics but all has a clear relationship with one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century as well as of my generation, Internet. I believe that the artists who dealt with it and continue to do so, will leave an important artistic evidence of what has been this exciting moment of revolution in communication. Today the collection is taking other directions, the focus is definitely on artists of my generation, born mainly in the eighties, the topics vary and change and I think it will take some years to clarify which direction the collection takes.
Can you name some artists you are particularly fond of?
They are many, in particular Italians, Luca Pozzi, Simone Monsi, Vasilis Papageorgiu, Arianna Carossa, Miltos Manetas, Nora Renaud, Luca De Leva, Alessandro Di Pietro and David Horvitz.
Tell us about the Ducato Prize, you promote.
The Ducato Prize before being a prize is a challenge, to promote a renewed interest in contemporary art in the province of Piacenza. The competition is at its second edition and has already undergone changes in terms of awards, jury and application. You can not expect that it will always be the same in the coming years because it still under study and improvement. I hope to find the formula if not perfect at least correct over the next two years. This year the jury is composed of Yuri Ancarani, Marina Dacci, Zoe De Luca, Attilia Fattori Franchini and Denis Isaia, who will be invited to nominate the six finalists of the Contemporary Art and Academy Art sections and the winners. The winners will be announced on Saturday 30th May at the Palazzo del Podestà in Castell'Arquato, in the province of Piacenza (the name derives from the fact that Castell'Arquato is located in the heart of what was once the Ducato of Parma and Piacenza). On the same day the exhibition of the finalists will open until Sunday, 5th July. Everybody will somehow come out winners, a prize of 6,000 euros will be awarded to the winner of Ducato Prize and 1,000 euros to the winner of the Academy Art section. 2,500 euros to each of the finalists in the Contemporary Art section and 500 euros to each of the finalists of the Academy Section. Application for the prize is open to all through a form on the website www.ducatoprize.com, from this year the application to the Art Academy section is free, we hope that it will be free also for the Contemporary Art section in very short time.
Advantages and disadvantages of being in a "peripheral" area of the art system?
The cons far outweigh the pros, in my opinion, both as a collector and as a prize developer I find the distance, even if short, from Milan really uncomfortable. It is difficult to be reached because people interested in contemporary art go where they can find several places of interest, and without a doubt near us Milan is the city of reference. Over the years, fortunately, some positive results have appeared in Piacenza and its province as well as the Ducato Prize, such as the birth of Galleria UNA in Via Sant'Antonino and the recent opening of the XNL art space created by Fondazione di Piacenza e Vigevano.
Do you use digital channels?
I use both Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook I usually relate more to my network of personal contacts, Instagram is an exciting source of images and often helps me to discover new artists, spaces and galleries.
Which artists are you currently following with interest and would you like to buy?
I follow with great interest the artwork of Aria Dean, Vasilis Papageorgiu, Ser Serpas and Irene Fenara. The art work that I would like to buy is of Ambera Wellmann, as she is undoubtedly the artist who has impressed me more than others in the last period and I find her artistic language hold up to many of the past. I hope soon to be able to include at least one of her works in my collection.
An artist (also from the past) that you would invite to dinner?
If I could go back a few months, I would invite Ettore Spalletti, because I wanted to visit him in Pescara, meet him and have a conversation with him. I grew up with great respect, admiration and devotion for his works, I was recently in Abruzzo, but unfortunately too late. Nowadays Thomas Houseago, first of all to meet him in person, and secondly I would undoubtedly take the opportunity to make him "scribble" on some napkin and then frame it!