Marilena Saraceno is a gallerist based in Rome.  After a degree in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration, she worked for about twenty-five years in the strategic and financial consulting sector.  
Fifteen years ago, her curiosity about the art world led her to become a collector and a lover of modern and contemporary art.  At the beginning of 2021 the passion for art became a life project and she founded the SaracenoArtgallery based in Via di Monserrato 40, a small space dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists.

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Art, whatever it takes – RomeArtProgram has made interviews with people involved in art, living in Italy, the USA and the UK, to know their feelings during the emergency.
– Marilena Saraceno interview:

#1 RomeArtProgram: What is your definition of “Art” today?

– Marilena: Art today, as it was yesterday, is “immediacy” the possibility to get in touch with oneself, to get excited, to isolate oneself through the mere act of contemplation.

#2 RAP: Art is dynamic and regenerates itself… how does it change, and how did it change us?

– Marilena: Art is the result of the historical and cultural moment of which it is an expression. Regeneration is inherent in the concept of art itself which, by its diversification, connotes, through different expressive forms and new media, recurring social and intimate themes. I think the real change today is the “availability” of art, which once was the prerogative of a few.
#3 RAP: When (and how) did you understand that art was becoming very important in your life?

– Marilena: I have an economic and financial background, I have approached this world initially with curiosity, visiting museums, exhibitions, foundations in Italy and abroad. I realized that I could not do without it anymore when, like all passions, it became engulfing, necessary for my inner balance, comforting, suggesting new dimensions and the existence of parallel worlds.

#4 RAP: What role does art play today? What are the “great figures” who have recently changed it? Do you feel close to any of these figures?

– Marilena: Art, never as in the last two years, has established itself for its saving power. It has reminded us that beauty is imperishable when we could not enjoy it and has established itself in our lives through the use of alternative channels as opposed to the traditional ones. It was possible visit museums from afar, to participate in talks, openings and to buy works of art. In this particular historical moment I think that everyone has done their part, both on the side of proposals and on that of final customers.

#5 RAP: Are there still traditional figures such as collectors, muses, mecenate and patrons, in today’s art and society interaction model?

– Marilena: Collectors, museums and patrons continue to play a fundamental role today as they did yesterday. I think that collectors and patrons play an even more important role than museums, as they do not have an institutional vocation by statute. The suggestions evoked by the Carmignac, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Maramotti, Gori foundations, just to name a few, witness the persistence of a patronage model that sometimes makes up for the shortcomings of the museum institutions.

#6 RAP: How have the new technologies and media culture changed art today, improving or worsening it…? What do you feel are your biggest challenges?

– Marilena: The use of technology has led to an enlargement of the competitive arena. Today it is possible to monitor proposals from all over the world while staying comfortably at home and often disintermediating the galleries. In my opinion, the purchase of art still has a strong emotional component and it is essential to enjoy it ‘on site’ unless you already know the artist and his work. Despite that, my investments this year will certainly concern the strengthening of the internet channel.

#7 RAP: Art as a mirror of man, in this moment of emergency seems to be shattered …what do these fragments reflect now?… Shadow or light of the moment?

– Marilena: It honestly does not seem to me that art is shattered… Art is magmatic and adapts itself to the context, it reflects and reinterprets it, today as it did yesterday.

#8 RAP: Understanding, interpreting, and then possibly judging the work of art; which is the right path when we are in front of a piece of art?

– Marilena: The work of art should not be understood, it lets itself be understood. There is not a kit to an approach to art on the side of final user. Art generates very personal emotions: it generates indifference in some and yearning in others. The work of the art historian and art critic is different, but I think this is not the point of the question.

#9 RAP: Which is the real role of Academies and Art schools today? What can artists learn from these institutions today?

– Marilena: I think that Art Academies and Art Schools today provide the background and technical tools needed to
approach this world. Another important driving force is the network, the possibility of interacting with talents
attracted by the brand awareness of the Academy.

#10 RAP: Art too has undergone a complex process of globalization; can having an authentic and genuine style be an advantage or a drag for an artist?

– Marilena: Globalization represents the possibility for an artist to get anywhere easily. A personal style is always a distinctive element in a globalized or non-globalized market.

#11 RAP: How do Art Galleries and Museums position themselves today, and, in your opinion, how should they?

– Marilena: Galleries are increasingly losing that aura of sacredness that characterized them in the past but sometimes they make up for the role of cultural educator that a museum has. We must not forget that the ultimate goal of galleries is the market and that, conversely, the museum has an institutional and cultural role, but there are museums that fulfill their mission very well.

#12 “Figuration” vs “Abstraction”: which of the two is better descriptive of the period we live in? Which one will have a better future?

– Marilena: Figurative or abstract is the way in which the artist chooses to express himself, he can describe the times we live in very well with either style.

#13 RAP: Today we often speak of “emerging artists”; what advice based on your experience do you feel you can give to young artists?

– Marilena: To dare with techniques, style, messages that have a strong original content and to try to tie themselves to galleries that are able to support them.

#14 RAP: Art as a lens for reading the present, can it modify the space and time we pass through? …will art save us?

– Marilena: It can anticipate the future… and bind us to the past…

12 Dicembre 2022, articolo

Marilena Saraceno, saracenoArtgallery, Roma