BRESCIA–Truly a visionary, Brescia-based gallerist Chiara Rusconi turned a grandiose, purportedly haunted, 17th century palazzo, known as the “House of 100 Windows,” into a world-class gallery that hosts high-brow collectors from all over the world.
The gallery she co-founded, A Palazzo, is located in the center of Brescia, which sits on the foot of the Alps. And despite its UNESCO protected Roman ruins and Monestary of San Salvatore and Santa Giulia, Brescia is often overshadowed by tourist attraction cities like Venice or Lake Como.
Now it is a must-see stop on the contemporary art trail, due in large part to the work of A Palazzo.
“This palazzo is one of the most interesting mansions in the city. I said to myself, we definitely have to do something here,” Rusconi said, guiding BACO on a personal tour of the space, explaining that the residence was last inhabited by a clutter-prone aristocratic elderly couple who slept in a room as opulent and as expansive as a ballroom. “It was a mess.”
Once filled with tapestries and candelabras, the home is now dominated by abstract art work like the Cold War-inspired mini-exhibit by Doctor Wolfgang Hauptmann II and an instillation exploring the Poltergeist phenomenon by Susan MacWilliam, a scholar and researcher of the paranormal activities and its history. These two artists are part of “The Rose Has Teeth in The Mouth of The Beast” exhibit curated by Moscow-based art critic Andrey Parshikov.
During the tour, a creaky door slammed for no apparent reason behind us, and we find ourselves in a small storage room in the dark. “Don’t be afraid,” Chiara said warmly. “We often have to close this place up at night. Can you imagine?”
Along with its electrical impulses and provocative contemporary art exhibits, Rusconi’s gallery sponsors a permanent project called LOLLIPOP-UP, a Design & Art Editions Store, curated by Paolo Gonzato. Most recently, LOLLIPOP-UP linked fashion with the art world by hosting fashion forward designers like Simone Rainer, who makes triangle handbags inspired by geological wonders.
“There are links between art and fashion, but the art world is really the apex,” Rusconi said.
Like the mansion she works in, Rusconi possesses a sense of noble elegance, grace and down-to-earth charm.
BACO’s Editor-in-Chief braved the ghosts of the “House of 100 Windows” and sat down with Chiara Rusconi about her personal style:
The Look: Marc Jacobs necklace and Missoni blouse.
Personal Style: “I am usually quite easygoing. I like to wear Lanvin and Alaia for evening wear. In the summer I turn into another person and my style becomes quite hippie.”
NEVER: “I almost never wear heels.”
ALWAYS: “I am Missoni addicted.”