Interview with OTTN Projects Director Giorgia Ori
What motivated you to open a gallery?
I opened the gallery at 26 after a collector decided I was the right person to run this business in a small Italian town. I had just moved back after 8 years in the States, so I wasn’t sure if to accept it but felt a strong desire to walk this adventurous path. In almost two years, I put together a team of 5 women and together we decided to move office for our aim now is to change the way contemporary art is perceived by the majority of people, from the way we talk about it, to the way we exhibit, and finally the way we communicate it to the hosting communities. Our biggest desire is to raise people’s level of consciousness through the means of art, for we believe artists are intellectuals who show us their vision of the world then our job is to shield this valuable witness and share it with a wider audience.
Every day we work towards finding new ways of communication to reach not just to collectors rather the outsiders of the art world - those who need art the most but do not know it yet.
Do you believe you have a local ecosystem that supports you? How is the community engagement with your gallery?
We have decided to move from being a physical space to be a nomadic collective bringing exhibition around Italy, with a focus on exhibiting Italian emerging artists in the stunning countryside. In this way, we constantly change the type of community we interact with and we love this challenge. It brings us great joy and excitement to arrive in a small town, find a typical local construction (such as a castle, a Trullo or a barn) and install a pop-up show there. We then invite the local community to join us, from the elderly sitting at the cafè, to the young kids. For each town, there are communication obstacles to overcome or new marketing strategies to be invented. But how can we still exhibit in boring "white cubes", when there are so many incredible places where art could be?
For each show, we also invite a "Visiting Collector" - a term we coined to give new importance to a collector's role, which is key for the ecosystem of contemporary art. Collectors are not only financially supporting the artists, but are artists themselves as they create their own collection: we truly value their work, eye, and sensibility.
The best part of all is the online community, for which we are very grateful, which follows and supports our project not only on Instagram but in the real world as well.
What are some of the challenges your gallery is facing today?
One could say the biggest challenge of all is the shortage of money for independent spaces, which is true but does not stop us. It’s exciting to see what blue-chip galleries can do with their gigantic budgets, and how they can lead the new installation trends. Yet, I strongly believe that art is spiritual, it is an emotion, and both those things are unbounded to budget.
We are a nonprofit so did not start this business with the idea of making money, rather do something we love and cannot stop doing.
Who runs an art business should ask himself why do I do it.
I do it because despite all the closed doors I have found, every morning I wake up still wanting to do it, realizing all those closed doors just made me grow stronger throughout failures.
As a new generation of gallery owners, we should not fear to shake up the system or follow our guts sharing with the world what art should be and how it should be communicated.
Finally, emotions. To make people feel in front of a piece of art. That’s our biggest challenge.
What are some of your public programs?
Currently, we are working on more than 12 projects a few of which are commissioned ones. Our strongest desire is to experiment and exit our comfort zone, so we like to accept commissioned works which have something to do with different kinds of public. From art programs involving minorities to artists workshops in dismissed stores to activities in Art Academies and more. We also have a Podcast, which we are really proud of, and in September will open our IG TV channel where will stream a Reportages series in artists studios. We are working on something really special for 2020 but cannot say it out loud yet!
What are your hopes for the future of your gallery?
We are all Under 30, hence many plans for the future! Honestly, there is not much time for daydreaming as we live a lot in the present focusing on the projects. Probably the one big hope we have is to keep finding inspiring people on our journey while we move forward with kindness. For now, all we wish for is to fulfill the OTTN Team's goals, support artists, and develop valuable skills, but we are open to what can happen one day. Who doesn't dream to be a curator at MET or be featured on Forbes30under30?
Of course, our eyes are filled with passion and our hearts beat for big dreams!
This interview is a part of our Public Support section, dedicated to our Kickstarter supporters.