THE GALLERYGALERA SAN SODA is a new contemporary art gallery based in Milan, Italy.Its core exhibition space consists of three large windows opening onto the salmon pink and blue tile foyer of Palazzo INA, designed in 1957 by the visionary rationalist architect Piero Bottoni at the height of the Italian postwar economic boom.The gallery takes its name from the Italian word galera which translates as jail or prison and is derived from the historic Genoese Galea or the Venetian Garea: a ship or boat propelled solely or chiefly by oars in use in the Mediterranean Sea from the ancient Greeks to as late as the 19th century. The rowers who propelled the boat forward were typically sentenced to undertake this task, effectively prisoners and sailors.
THE BUILDINGPalazzo INA: an 18 floor, 180 apartment unit wide monolith was constructed at the height of the progressive architectural thinking of the Italian postwar economic boom. Its architect, Piero Bottoni, envisioned a fair and self-sustainable high rise with shops and workshops on the ground floor and in the basement units, as well as a large open-air communal recreational area on the 19th floor roof terrace. Palazzo Ina shines candid against the fog and pollution of the Bassa - the industrious flatlands of Lombardy. At a fair 64 meters above ground, and stretching 14 meters in width, Palazzo Ina outdoes Gio Ponti’s Rai Italian National Radio & Television headquarters and broadcasting tower in Milan.
The gallery was founded by Steno Branca di Romanico in 2018 as a last resort bunker for the promotion of art in a country plagued by an economic and cultural recession. Entrenched in this monument to a bygone progressive Italy, the gallery officially debuts on March 29th 2019. Galera San Soda is both a physical and theoretical place where artists who feel trapped in their daily professional coops, careers, shticks and gimmicks are allowed to break free from what is expected from and of them. To truly enter such an environment of liberated productivity one must accept a higher degree of uncertainty, for there is no safety or guaranteed reward in endeavouring the blindspots and dark pockets of irresolution, that is why I like to coin the entrance to this endeavour as the entrance to a another type of Galera1 where the artist is master and slave of his device. The objective is to incite a genuine body of work that follows the artist’s inner yearnings rather than the constant outer ego-search for approval and its fleeting promises of rewards in the form of vacuous spotlights and accolades.