In 2005, Françoise Calcagno, French-born but Venetian by adoption, opened this space, midway between an artist’s studio and an exhibition space, in the heart of Venice’s Jewish Ghetto; the Art Studio is used by the artist and gallery owner herself not only to create and display her work, but also and especially to initiate dialogues with the city where she lives and works.
Thus the gallery has become a meeting place for art in Venice: an exhibition space for other artists, who have the opportunity to display their work and compare their artistic research; it is a space for discussions, readings, a laboratory for ideas and projects.
There are several initiatives, ranging from the artist’s personal exhibitions to hosting other artists, from presentations of books of poetry and artists’ books to happenings such as poetry readings and performances, or video projections inside the gallery space or in the square.
One of the greatest successes has been the series of events called Open Dialogues, which sees the exhibition of works by two artists conducting a dialogue in their expressive languages.
From 2007 the Françoise Calcagno Art Studio has also hosted activities and events promoted by the Boiler Cultural Association. This association aims to bring together people interested in art by inviting them to participate in openings, events and the themed encounters and discussions that it promotes, to spread awareness of contemporary art via occasional exhibition initiatives, aimed at emerging artists from the Academy of Fine Arts and other institutions and artistic circles active in Venice and its surroundings, and via workshops and seminars. In addition to this, they promote shows and artistic events at their sites and in different locations.
The philosophy with which the studio approaches art and all forms of creativity connected with it, can be summed up in the artist’s own words: “The idea of change is linked to the thought of something ending or becoming something else, and this fascinates me and frightens me, so I try to obstruct the change by immobilising objects, signs and marks into a background. At times they can be real objects that attract my attention because time or human activity has already clearly changed them, at other times they can be mere traces, marks, signs that become real through my working on a surface via incision, the material, the colour. We are made of relationships, we are mostly the result of the relationships that we build with ourselves and our natural and social environment. For this reason I think that there is a large human presence in my work, even though it is not represented. Everything that is seen is an interweaving of signs and materials, and sometimes objects, instances of frozen life. Perhaps all the meaning is in the discussion itself, in the looking at it from another point of view, in the looking for other solutions. The growth, the value, life itself are all in this capacity to change, almost anything can be salvaged and transformed, and can continue to live in another way, in another form, in another landscape.” “By sheer luck or a strange coincidence, I discovered this space in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, close to other galleries and bookshops, a place rich in memories and in spirituality, with which perhaps my work too is constantly imbued and enriched. Here one breathes culture, change and learning thanks to a continuous dialogue between people, books, images and places.