Group exhibition at Spazio Leonardo with Giuseppe Abate, Thomas Berra, Federica Francesconi,, Anne Schmidt and Serena Vestrucci.

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON...
Artists: Giuseppe Abate, Thomas Berra, Federica Francesconi, Anne Schmidt, Serena Vestrucci
3 February - 14 May, 2021
UNA / Spazio Leonardo, Milan

Spazio Leonardo resumes its 2021 programming with three exhibitions taking place throughout the year. Furthermore, Studio Leonardo – Spazio Leonardo’s virtual alter ego – will also restart with even more activities, offering an open live streaming programme of forumes, debates, testimonials, presentations and other events. Lastly, in conjunction with the third exhibition taking place in September, a round table will be hosted,inspired by one of Spazio Leonardo’s key vocations, namely that of bridging between contemporary art and the business world.

On February the 3rd, the first exhibition Once in a Blue Moon… will open its doors. An exhibition dedicated to painting, including the works of five artists in dialogue with each other: Giuseppe Abate, Thomas Berra, Federica Francesconi, Anne Schmidt and Serena Vestrucci.

The “Blue Moon” mentioned in the title is a very rare astronomical event evoking fairytale-like images. Hence, this exhibition aims to celebrate paintings which are able to move beyond the boundaries of the medium, filled with multidisciplinary digressions and oneiric aspirations. Paintings which owe part of their charm precisely to their unconventional nature.

The exhibition develops from a dreamlike and evocative wall drawing made by Thomas Berra (*1986, Desio MB) on the wall of the gallery. A work that constitutes the point of departure, the arena where to unfold a narration through works and colors.

The new canvases of the series Trucco by Serena Vestrucci (*1986, Milano) reveal the use of unexpected materials: eyeshadow, reduced to powder and applied on the canvas directly with the fingers, becomes both subject and object of the paintings. Canvases are therefore “wearing make-up” not just for being covered with cosmetics, but also because they disclose an illusory and ghostly character, inviting the viewer to observe a sky or a landscape that don’t actually exist.

Federica Francesconi (*1994, Brescia) has developed an approach to painting based on illusion and bewilderment. Her works appear as enigmatic monochromes where colour leaves room for brighter portions of canvas, opening the perspective beyond the edge of the frame. The shadow is the symbolic channel of an investigation on the theme of perception: moving between monochromatic abstraction and figure, the artist’s paintings welcome and reject both polarities, proposing a fresh exploration of the junction points between opposites.

Optical illusions and the pictorial medium conceived as a tool to carry hidden contents is also at the core of Anne Schmidt’s research (*1990, Brandenburg, Germania). A skilled manipulator of materials, in her Carpets series the artist employs unusual media such as motor oil and color pencils on polyester to develop a reflection on the methodologies and the norms ruling computer animation, making clear reference to great artist and director Harun Farocki’s video-installation Parallel.

An artist who makes his practice a constant field for experimentation, Giuseppe Abate (*1987, Bari) presents a site-specific installation for the lounge zone of Spazio Leonardo. The work consists of a highly personal collection of Indian textiles produced during a residency in Assam (India). Woven to illustrate pop images and brands borrowed from the urban context, the fabrics are grafted onto a clay-drawn wallpaper, providing the space with an all-embracing sense of unity.

Once in a Blue Moon… is installed to inhabit the several spaces of the agency’s ground floor. By so doing, it reflects the will of Spazio Leonardo to take the shape of a diverse and multifaceted container, permeated by the various orientations driving the contemporary and its expressions.

Giuseppe Abate (*1987, Bari, lives and works in Turin) obtained a MA in Material Futures from the London Central St Martins College (2020) and a BA in Painting from the Venice Fine Arts Academy (2011). His work has been shown at: Spazio Cabinet_Studiolo, A collection (Milan, 2020); Dutch Design Week First Online Show (2020); ADA Project Gallery (Rome, 2019); Palazzo Barolo, A collection, Artissima (Turin, 2019); Palazzo Mocenigo (Venice, 2018); Assam State Museum, Microclima (Guwahati, India, 2017); Mountain Museum (Turin, 2016); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice, 2011; 2013; 2014; 2015); Rob Pruitt Flea Market c/o A + A Galley (Venezia, 2015); Studio d’Arte Cannaviello (Milan, 2013); Pino Pascali Contemporary Art Museum (Bari, 2012); Galleria Municipale d’Arte Contemporanea of Monfalcone (Monfalcone, 2011). In 2014 he was granted with one year residency program prize at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice. Between 2016 and 2018 he has been invited to the Guwahati Research Program curated by Microclima Venice, Guwahati, Assam, India. In 2018 he has been among the shortlisted artist for the Premio Cairo, Milan.

Thomas Berra (*1986, Desio, lives and works in Helsinki) studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. Among his main exhibitions: Katso Merta: alle volte mi scordo di guardare il mare, Kuja Gallery, Helsinki, (solo), FIUR, curated by Ivan Quaroni, Civic Museum Magazzini del Sale, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, (solo), Tree Time, curated by Andrea Lerda, Mountain Museum, Turin; Tutti dobbiamo dei soldi al vecchio sarto di Toledo, curated by UNA, Spazio Leonardo, Milan, (solo); Il Paradigma di Kuhn, FuoriCampo Gallery, Siena, and Studio O2, Cremona (2018); Stupido come un Pittore, Villa Vertua Masolo, Nova Milanese, 2018; So long (Arrivederci), Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome, 2018; Verde Indagine (solo), Placentia Arte, Piacenza, 2017; Dopo il diluvio (solo), Villa Vertua Masolo, Nova Milanese, 2017; Carrus Navalis, Dimora Artica, Milano, 2016; Souvenir, Palazzo Mezzanotte-Piazza Affari, Milan, 2015; THOMAS (solo), Room Galleria, Milan, 2015; 8½, (solo), Spazio 1929, Lugano, 2015; CIAO (solo), Mana Contemporary, Chicago, USA, 2015; Casabarata (solo show – works completed in residency in Tangier, Morocco), Banca Sistema, Milan, 2014; Crises and rises, Palazzo delle Stelline, Milan, 2012; CIAO (solo), Room Galleria, Milano 2012. In 2018 Thomas is among the shortlisted artists for Premio Cairo and in 2017 he won the 6artista Prize and was in residence at the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome and at Schafhof – European House of Art Upper Bavaria, Freising, Germany. In 2014 he founded Subculture fanzine, a collective publishing project exhibited at Edicola Radetzky, Milan; in 2013 he was the winner of the Unicredit Prize with a solo show at Superstudio Più, Milan.


Federica Francesconi (*1994, Brescia, lives and works between Milan and Brescia) studied Sculpture at the Venice Fine Art Academy (2017) and at Fondazione Enaip.
In 2019 she founded Spazio ORR, an artist run space dedicated to the presentation of international artists, with a research related to hers.
Between 2017 and 2019 she works as artist assistant of Christiane Löhr. In 2019 she participates in the 56. Venice Biennale performing in Adrian Piper's artwork 'The probable trust registry' and for Maria Eichhorn's 'Canvas/brush/painting'.
Among her main exhibitions: Shift, Magazzini del Sale, Venice, 2017; Tomba del mio meglio, Palazzo Coluccia, Specchia, PU, 2018 (solo); Sein, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Vienna, 2019; Rilevamenti, curated by Bruno Corà, Camusac Museum, Cassino, FR, 2020; Artissima Unplugged, curated by Ilaria Bonacossa, GAM, Turin, 2020.
Among her upcoming projects we mention the solo show at Indebt, Amsterdam (February 2021).

Anne Schmidt (*1990, Brandenburg, DE, lives and works in Vienna) currently studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna under professor Julian Göthe, she plans to graduate in 2021.
In 2019 she attended the International Summer School for Visual Arts in Salzburg with the tutors Ei Arakawa and Sarah Chow.
From 2010 to 2014 she studied Sociology and Politics at the Leipzig University.
In 2013 she studied Criminology at theTeesside University, Middlesbrough, UK.
In 2020 she has been selected to participate in the Maumaus Independent Study Program in Lisbon, Portugal, a Post-Marxism Independent Program considered the little sister of the Whitney Independent Study Program.
Among her main exhibitions: MICHELANGELO, VIN VIN, Vienna, 2020 (solo); About the New, BELVEDERE 21, Vienna, 2019 and, upcoming for 2021, a collective exhibition at MAUMAUS, Lisbon.

Serena Vestrucci (*1986, Milan, lives and works in Milan). After a Bachelor’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, she moved to Venice, where in 2011 she won the residency–study at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. Here she attended the IUAV University and in 2013 she obtained a Master’s degree in Visual Arts. Serena Vestrucci has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at numerous Italian institutions including: Gallery of Modern Art, Verona (2017); Archaeological Museum Antonio Salinas, Palermo (2017); Marsèlleria Permanent Exhibition, Milan (2016); Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art, Genoa (2015). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions, such as Casa Testori, Novate Milanese, Italy (2019); Blitz, Valletta, Republic of Malta (2019); Italian Cultural Institute, in New York, USA, and in London, UK (2018); Santa Maria della Scala Museum, Siena, Italy (2018); Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy (2017 and 2015); Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice, Italy (2017, 2012 and 2010); FRISE Künstlerhaus, Hamburg, Germany (2014); Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy (2014); Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, Italy (2014); Gallery of Modern Art, Milan, Italy (2012); Venetian Institute of Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Venice, Italy (2012); Stedelijk Museum, ‘S–Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands (2011). In 2017 she won the 18th edition of Premio Cairo and she was selected by the City of Milan to create a permanent work in the frame of the public art commission ArtLine Milano.