by Mario Ayala
On this Friday, the luck of the number thirteen (Italians believe that the number 13 is lucky) followed all those who attended the excursion into the San Niccolo neighborhood in Oltrarno. In this very historic neighborhood, near the Tower of San Niccolo, there is a jewel of contemporary art in Florence: BASE – Progetti per l’arte. BASE is a very interesting and successful space for artists, run by artists, where contemporary art has flourished throughout the years, even amidst the weight of Florence’s richly traditional past.
The group had the opportunity to hear from one of the founder artists, Massimo Nannucci, who was very happy to share with the group the mission and the values of BASE, which, since its start has always operated with passion for contemporary art, an unknown presence in Renaissance Florence.
Nannucci explained that the BASE project was created in 1998, by artists and for artists, with no intent to profit financially from what happens within the walls of the space. All of the works shown in BASE are created within the space and function with it, setting up a dialogue between the work of the artist and the architectural space. It is a place where artists from all over the world are invited to practice their art simply for the sake of making art. All of the artist who are invited to work in the BASE space address the same question, but do so in various different ways, each piece being an expression of the artists personal analysis of the space.
The current artist at Base is David Tremlett, an English sculptor, installation artist, and photographer. His work at base, title Due Pareti, is just that; two walls within that are painted with pastel, his preferred medium. Keeping with his established method, Tremlett uses his travels as inspiration for his pieces. In his project for BASE, his works wore made after being in Asia. The wall with the more vertical orientation was conceived of in Japan while the wall with the horizontal format was inspired by being in Vietnam. Tremlett uses lines, and simple shapes to push the boundaries of architecture, and indeed the paintings themselves extend beyond the confines of the one wall they are focused on.
BASE has become an interesting place in Florence because it represents the struggle that Florence has had in adopting, or allowing contemporary art to properly flourish in the city. It gives the city an opportunity to establish itself as an influential place for contemporary art at the international level. The doors at BASE are always open to any ideas from any artist who wishes to express their interpretation of the space within the locals.