“En Plein Air” at Studioli, Rome

View of Studioli


On Saturday May 12th, Studioli will open again its space to host a group of artists invited to work on the theme of En Plein Air  painting. The artists, Kerstin Brätsch, Enzo Cucchi, Stanislao di Giugno, Marino Melarangelo, Rochelle Feinstein, Gianni Politi, Max Renkel, Paulina Semkowicz & Myles Starr and Patricia Treib will work directly on the Studioli spaces.

“Rogues, cheats, pickpockets / bands of drunks and gluttons / scabby tobacconists, barbers, and other ‘sordid’ subjects”. Thats how Salvator Rosa defined the favorite subjects by The Bamboccianti, the art movement active in the 17th century in the northern area of Rome that represented the Arcadian landscapes and the daily life of the slums of the city.

The rooms/garçonniere, the terrace, the little wood, the landscape of Tor di Quinto, the view over the Tevere river will be the scenography of this happening. The exhibition highlights the creative process, the artist’s gestures, the working tools and the conceptual and visual adaptation to the place where the work is produced.

The works will be shown for one month at Studioli and can be visited upon request.

Studioli is an art project founded by Alessandro Cicoria and Valeria Giampietro in Rome inside an old quad of ivy-cloaked garçonnières by the Tiber River. Studioli is a space-sharing project where artists are invited to work and reinterpret the space, among smoked mirror surfaces, chromatic moquettes, boiseries and Magistretti furniture.

On the occasion of the exhibition we publish a conversation between Giorgio Orbi and Alessandro Cicoria.


Studioli, January 24th, 2018 

Dear Giorgio,

During the exhibition Peonie I remember we thad a conversation about Ponte Milvio as an outpost and shelter for artists of the time, the Bamboccianti. Like street reporters, these painters of the ‘600 portrayed the life on the margins of society: guitti, beggars, barbers, raids and fistfights, parties and scenes of everyday life, Arcadian landscapes.

Today artists are still fascinated by these portraits. Pedestrians, lawyers from the city, street sweepers and beggars are perhaps seduced as well. These new Bambocci capture through photography everyday life scenes, buses quarrels, thefts, street workers, gypsies camping under a bridge. Nowdays, subjects once portrayed by the Bamboccianti are often self portrayed.

There is a lot of adventure in such visual revolution, I always run out of storage space on my phone and the memory is never enough.

Reflecting on this we invited at Studioli a group of painters free to imagine the history of our garçonnière, Ponte Milvio’s life, the night raids in Chatenet cars, Dulcamara starlets, the rural landscape that can still be glimpsed from the Tiber. 

Do you think somebody will paint the Mont Blanc of Mondi instead of appreciating its culinary art?

With En Plein Air painters we’ll see if painting, always considered a meditative practice – in contrasts with the fast society we live in- can still tell us something. I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter,


Pordoi Pass, June 8th, 2018

Dear Alessandro,

regarding what you said about memory not being enough, recently during a conference some artists complained that the historicisation process of their work within the art world, despite the efforts of the publishing industry and its employees, is slow and ineffective.

Someone in the audience intervened by suggesting to better investigate the memory of their devices, or perhaps spend a weekend at Burning Man where the works of art are exhibited and burned.
Someone proposed to give Bergson’s Matter and Memory a second read.
Today, we are all interested in immortality, not just the artists.
That’s why a multitude of images are recorded every day.

 The boundaries of meditative practices expanded through techniques that go beyond horizons – until recently considered unknown.

We practice yoga to the rhythm of heavy metal or climb a mountain to break a speed record. The company that sells journeys out of the Earth’s atmosphere has sent a DJ into space. In terrestrial skies, the first rave party in the absence of gravity has been organised.

In a nutshell, it seems that even in space we’ll not be bored too much, we’ll just have to find another universe to preserve silence.
Did you know that when Hannibal crossed the Alps, along with the elephants, he carried art works? Unpublished works from the best artists of Carthage. Unfortunately they all went missing as it had happened for books of the Royal Library in Alexandria.

The real attraction of en plein air painting is experimentation on reality.
Painters left the studio to work outdoors, catching light, reflections, deception and enchantment of reality that could no longer be reproduced in the atelier.

In the last ten years the five historic palms of Piazza di Spagna were down to three.
There were also five in the first postcards of the square dating back to ’900.
You could put rows of sandbags piled up under the palm trees to make a trench, along with a canvas, a stool and colors.
A bivouac for artists who, while reproducing reality at close range, can also look over it. Let’s first historicize the palms of the 20th century. 

EN PLEN AIR is an experiment that doesn’t fear the judgments of the artificial resurrection of a practice which has been averted by time. Painting has started indoors, inside caves.
According to the archaeologists, the oldest one dates back to 64,000 years ago.
Animals, geometries, daily life scenes such as hunting, the human body, hands.
Those were the subjects and with time passing of time, things have ‘t changed much.

It is true, as you say, the system goes fast, but it is normal, we are living in a time where we are having a lot of fun with robots. When the painters will manage to paint in the absence of gravity, reality will rise again unexpectedly, like those artists who, thank to the vagaries of the market, have the opportunity to emerge in the limelight in their third age.

At that moment reality will be the talk of the town as when rumor has it, that the old owner of restaurant of the neighborhood has not yielded to the mediocre charm of the square dish, despite being run now by the son, the one who plucks his eyebrows.

Studing Bamboccianti you could find a certain trace, a strong connection with the attention that our contemporaneity prefers to establish with certain subjects; I am sure that this choice draws a timeline with the visual moods of the Bamboccianti and the original spirit that guides the Studioli exhibitions.

Today prostitutes are called escorts and “scooteroni” are the horses.
Who will disturb the quiet of a hidden nutria among the reeds to make a portrait?
Who will study the stickers on helmets or on scooters, the new hieroglyphs that tell the secret life of the young generation of Ponte Milvio?
Van Laer’s tobacconist is still there, but today he also sells marijuana with a low percentage of THC.
But this is not the point. 

Instead, gathering an outdoor painting session in Rome today is very adventurous and enterprising. At least five large tall trees have fallen in 2017 alone.
Whatever may be said, Rome is a city always on the move and no one seems to like being in the same place.
Not even the trees. 



Studioli, En plein air, Kerstin Bratsch


View of Studioli


Studioli, En plein air, Enzo Cucchi


En Plein Air
13 May–18 June 2018
Opening Saturday 12 May 2o18, 5–9pm

Studioli | Viale di Tor di Quinto 39, Roma