Rome is the symbol of power par excellence, a metaphor of Italian political, economic and cultural dynamics. It is the seat of institutional politics and the place of the palatial pomp and glitter of power. The MAXXI national museum, with its monumental architecture, is a symbolic synthesis of Rome: a spectacular container for which the enormous cost of construction and maintenance surpasses the investment on the contents. But Rome is also the city of revolt, of demonstrations in the streets. Let’s imagine that all artists suddenly stop working, leaving the curators, critics, gallerists and museums orphans. The question of the survival of the artist is crucial for everyone. If artists cannot support themselves and their production, they find themselves in a position of weakness with respect to the market, their research runs the risk of dying and of taking the artistic community with it. The tenacity of Italian artists is amazing, who continue to work in spite of the context, in spite of the lack of recognition of their professional role. What is saddening is the fragility and lack of independence to which artists are subjected today in Italy. This economic condition is an obstacle to the circulation of ideas among artists. The lack of funds for research and for platforms of interaction and encounter makes us all weak and susceptible to the power of politics, curators, institutions and the press. It would be positive to have access to study grants for young people, to make their projects possible, and to have economic support for the production of contemporary art, through expert commissions that evaluate the output of individuals, beyond market dynamics. Undertaking one’s own research means having time to experiment, far from the laws of the market. We believe that art, in the present situation, has maintained its capacity to produce change and utopian scenarios, and that the artist, in her practice, can be a revolutionary. This moment of change and economic fragility of the system might be an excellent opportunity for experimentation and connection, to find self-determined solutions.
Eleonora Chiari lives and works in Rome and Milan.
Sara Goldschmied lives and works in Milan.