BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Frutta Gallery — Rome, Italy

Understanding Tradition Without Hesitating to Break It

Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018

Italy’s capital city of Rome has been a hub for the arts for a long, long time but what’s so interesting though, is the constant rotation and evolvement it has, and continues, to go through. Though it’s an ancient city, it refuses to stagnate and this energy is highly palpable is in its art world as well. Museums, private foundations and galleries all provide a rich context within the city and the privately owned, commercial galleries further that horizon. Scottish-born art dealer James Gardner opened his Frutta gallery in Rome in 2012, and over these six years he’s seen a continuous movement of people. What he enjoys so much about his chosen home is the room to create but remain playful whilst doing so. “In April of this year we showed a project called “Ortica” in the gallery. It was an exhibition for which we built a coffee shop that served specialty coffee (which is quite rare in Rome) and plants. We found we were able to create a discourse around things that are important within Rome — coffee and art, but we were able to reposition them together in a meaningful way. There is room to be playful with things like this in Rome. To break with traditions. Increasingly, we deal with more local collectors who come from other creative industries such as chefs, fashion designers, and architects and more”. This melting pot of cultures and industries is exactly what gives Rome its unique vibe.

Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Group Show, Frutta Rome, 2018

When choosing artist for Frutta, James relies on his initial reaction to the work. “It’s impulsive and personal. What many of our artists share is the ability to utilize irony and humor within the work, or that they have an irreverent approach to materials. A simultaneous understanding and disregard for tradition”. At just twenty-four James opened the gallery and he believes that his naivety and curiosity helped him along the way. “Not having experience in other galleries means you have to learn by doing and making mistakes, but that is a meaningful process”. Perhaps that’s why Rome, and later on Glasgow (where Frutta’s second dependence is located) was such a great choice for the art dealer. “The beauty of Rome lies in its individuality. The unique layering of culture and history provide a rich platform in which to show and discuss contemporary art. Rome and Glasgow are somewhat on the geographical edge of Europe, that is they almost parenthesize Central Europe and in that sense their independence makes them interesting. They are linked via the openness to exchange ideas and their welcoming ethos. Both are cities, which have a constant influx of artists yet the frames in which they provide to view art works and for artists themselves to produce work is very different”.

Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018
Installation View, Cornelia Bates, ’Teamwork’, Frutta Rome, 2018

For the coming years, James plans on continuing his gallery program in both Rome and Glasgow. In September there will be a solo show by France-Lise McGurn in Glasgow and a solo by Holly Hendry in Rome. He feels lucky to be able to travel between two cities he enjoys spending time in, and showing the artists this as well. “All artists love to come to Rome, they become seduced, like myself, by it. Similarly, all of the artists that I work with know of Glasgow and are incredibly curious about the scene. Hardly any of the artists represented by us have ever shown in Glasgow. The one thing that is important for me as a gallery, is to always be reactive to our artists”.

by Liv Fleischhacker

Liv Fleischhacker is a freelance writer based in Berlin. Her favorite topics include art, design and food.

All images courtesy Frutta Gallery, Rome, Italy

More Information on Frutta Gallery

Galleries (40)

Futura Art Gallery — Pietrasanta, Italy

A gallery that unites established and emerging artists

Gianni Manhattan - Vienna, Austria

Young, International and Critically Astute

Misako & Rosen — Tokyo, Japan

Redefining the Conversation Around Aesthetics

Tiwani Contemporary – London, Great Britain

The London Gallery Promoting African Self-definition

Contemporary Fine Arts – Berlin, Germany

From West to East and Back Again: a Berlin Institution That’s Made Its Mark

Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

Showcasing Figurative Painting With a Side of Communal Spirit

Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

The Parisian gallery creating a home for Japanese artists in the European art market.

Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

Throwing a Spotlight on Local Artists

Vane – Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain

The Not-for-profit Space Offering Context And Critique In Newcastle

H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

Mastering the Language in the Kosovan Capital

Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

Beyond Budapest’s Baths

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

An autonomous gallery representing both upcoming and well-established artists

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

One of the most cutting-edge galleries in Berlin

Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Doorway to Amsterdam’s Contemporary Art

Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

Three Galleries in One – Oslo’s Most Accessible Space

mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

A Space that Reflects the Artistic Discipline

V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

Challenging the Boundaries of Art

Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

Celebrating contemporary art in all its multi-faceted forms

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names