Like other sectors, the art world contributes to environmental degradation, whether through materials used, transportation of artworks, energy-intensive exhibitions, or art fairs. Maria Chiara Wang, Italian art editor, critic and curator, wants to shift the focus to making it sustainable. She voices her critique against the pervasive greenwashing in Italy, disapproving of the nation’s apparent disregard for genuine environmental protection. Since becoming a member of Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC), she has discerningly observed that Italian culture often overlooks the imperative of planetary preservation.
As far as museums and galleries go, Maria suggests they employ the 5Rs of waste management. REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPURPOSE, RECYCLE. That sounds quite easy, but many galleries and museums just don’t have the space to store things in order to reuse them. Maria says, “This problem could be partially remedied, where conditions allow, through shared management of the storage infrastructure by multiple galleries and museums. Working in network allows to optimize the use of resources.”
Through the expertise of Barbara Pavan, an Italian curator known for her focus on textile and fiber art, Maria has become deeply inspired. Subsequently, she has embarked on her own journey into the realm of fiber craftsmanship. Many fiber artists use natural fibers like wool, cotton, flax, hemp, and silk. In contrast to synthetic fibers, which can take centuries to decompose, these materials are biodegradable. Old clothes, scraps from other projects, and discarded textiles can be given new life, diverting them from landfills and decreasing the demand for new materials.
images supplied by curator
Born 1981, Maria graduated with a degree in Modern Literature. She regularly writes interviews, reviews and in-depth analysis for Espoarte and Exibart magazines. Collaborating with independent exhibition spaces, galleries and institutions in Italy and abroad is also part of Maria’s repertoire. While working with them she cherishes forging dialogues with artists, taking delight in witnessing their evolution and blossoming into their creative essence.
After graduating she struggled to step foot into the art scene, forcing her to look for a job with a stable income. Maria now navigates many worlds, dedicating her time to her work in a bank, her work as a curator and art critic, and her two children. “Sometimes I feel like shiva with many hands.”
After her second daughter was born the bank expressed disapproval. Many workplaces remain regrettably outdated in their approach to accommodating and valuing motherhood. While facing challenges in the workplace was disheartening, it serendipitously propelled Maria back towards her enduring passion for art. She followed museums and galleries on Facebook.
One day, Maria penned her reflections on an exhibition. Upon its discovery by a renowned magazine, a dialogue was initiated. Her initial publication ensued a snowball effect, leading other magazines to seek out Maria’s insightful prose for their own pages. Her adept use of social media, even initiated her first collaboration with a gallery, Art In Gallery Milan.
The Italian curator expresses a profound fascination with Germany’s take on contemporary art, observing its greater open-mindedness compared to Italy, and commends its emphasis on nurturing community and weaving a cohesive artistic network. She yearns for Italian artists to be less cautious about upsetting the government and embrace a more audacious, unfiltered form of expression leading to create stronger messages. Whilst looking to enhance the art scene in her homeland Maria wants to gain further experience as a curator, and seek out shared themes among artists to initiate a meaningful dialogue. She is eager to delve into how Leipzig shapes its artists and looks forward with anticipation to her upcoming months in the city.
written by Tess Haverney
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