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Lia Lenti, con Cinzia Lacchia e Giusi Bertolotto, ha illustrato i "tesori di oreficeria" della collezione Borgogna; un pomeriggio de "L'arte si fa sentire" davvero prezioso.
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Raise awareness, stimulate new critical or analytical paths, enhance the value of the existing heritage, promote acquisitions...
Interview part of the Serie under the title Selecting: Communicating Knowledge.
What is the main function of a curator?
In the freelance work, the main function of a curator is to design and implement exhibition projects; in Museums, this is accompanied by the formulation of critical and educational paths and tools aimed at explaining permanent collections.
Curator first came into use as meaning overseer, however in 21st century, a curator is probably best known as a "multitasked" for an exhibition, what do you consider yourself in this position as a freelancer?
In Museums environment this is often the case in smaller Museums, as in bigger ones there is specialized qualified staff supporting the curator. In the freelance profession it is nowadays a practice to be a "multitasked" curator, and this involves being elastic and cooperative.
- it is more difficult to propose an exhibition as a freelancer because you can estimate the costs but the coverage of the items of expenditure takes place in progress and sometimes it is necessary to review and change - or reduce - the initial project.
How has the work of a curator changed in the last years?
In recent years, the biggest problem one faces in organizing exhibitions is the budget. In Museums financial resources are often known since the beginning, so it is possible to calculate with some degree of certainty the items of expenditure; on the contrary it is more difficult to propose an exhibition as a freelancer because you can estimate the costs but the coverage of the items of expenditure takes place in progress and sometimes it is necessary to review and change - or reduce - the initial project. In this case, the curator must also search the support of sponsors and this sometimes affects his decisions about contents and communication.
What is the favourite/dislike part of your work?
The project's design and editorial curating are the creative phases a curator takes care of. The choice of works and setting up are less free activities, but just as challenging as they require patience and pragmatism as well as originality and taste. As I said before, the search for sponsors is the most stressful phase.
Regarding to curatorial process, how does an idea usually start for an exhibition? And how do you develop it?
Raise awareness, stimulate new critical or analytical paths, enhance the value of the existing heritage, promote acquisitions ... the ideas are many; as for the amount of ideas arising in a curator’s mind, unfortunately, only a few can be implemented.
An exhibition, event, meeting... that has impressed you specially?
"Le dame del Pollaiolo. Una bottega fiorentina del Rinascimento" [Pollaiuolo’s ladies. A Florentine workshop of the Renaissance] (Milan, 2015), an exhibition that helped to compare two languages and two techniques, painting and jewelry, through the works of Pollaiolo brothers and their workshop. The exhibition was an extraordinary - and I believe unique - opportunity to compare absolute works, preserved in museums all over the world.
Lia Lenti giving a lesson-conference at the State Archives of Turin to IED students
- In the academic world, I am interested in the correlations between functions and meanings of jewels; the development and dissemination of goldsmith techniques; the aesthetic intuitions and the design modes, but I do not like “closed” definitions
How do you feel curating contemporary jewellery?
In the historical dimension, which is part of my education, contemporary defines a period that includes the entire Twentieth century; in the other part of my education - the humanities - jewels are first of all a work of human genius, a witness of their time.
What do you think the most interesting thing that you helped to make happen?
In the academic world, I am interested in the correlations between functions and meanings of jewels; the development and dissemination of goldsmith techniques; the aesthetic intuitions and the design modes, but I do not like “closed” definitions. When I created the editorial project of the “Dizionario del gioiello italiano” (Dictionary of Italian jewels) this was one of my intents; in other exhibition events La filigrana preziosa, L'oro e la memoria, Le onorificenze [Precious filigree, Gold and the memory, the honors) I analyzed individual aspects, while trying to overcome the traditional categories and standard methodologies.
What has been your most memorable response by a colleague to an artwork shown in an exhibition curated by you?
The curatorial project you could never made up?
It is still in my mind.
About the Interviewee
Lia Lenti is an Art Historian. She's the Author of monographs, essays and articles dedicated specifically to the History of Jewels. She has conceived and curated exhibitions in this field in Italy and abroad. Member of prestigious scientific committees, she has experience in the cataloguing of art collections, jewels and jewellery collections and public and private collections; she provides consulting services in the antique field and teaches in Universities, Training Centres and Expert Schools. In 1993 she graduates in Italian Modern Literature at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Florence with full marks and honours and right of publication. In 1992 she obtains an International Diploma in Gemmology at the Hoge Raad voor Diamant - University of Antwerp (RUCA) with full marks. In 1999 she obtains a Post-graduate Diploma in Art History at the University of Florence with full marks and honours and right of publication. From 1996 to 2004 she organizes and coordinates the national conference "Jewels in Italy" sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture and the University of Florence. In 2000 she is an expert member of the Commission for product specifications of the artistic jewellery craftsmanship of the Piemonte Region. From 2004 to 2006 she is part of the Technical-Scientific Committee of the "Prometeo" Consortium (Politecnico di Torino) for the development of research and new technologies applications in the goldsmith field. From 2004 to 2010, she is Scientific Director of the Documentation Centre on Goldsmith's Art of Valenza Po (Italy).
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