MTArt Agency Art Selection Committee interviews series: Edoardo Monti

Our Art Selection Committee is growing bigger and more valuable thanks to the presence of a new member, the Italian curator and collector Edoardo Monti.

He is the founder of northern Italian artist residency-retreat Palazzo Monti. Back in 2016, Edoardo was living in NYC and had the opportunity to think of a project to activate a family Palazzo that was vacant since the 1980s, in Brescia. Instead of selling the property, Edoardo designed a singular cultural activity, to be hosted within the 3 stories of the Palazzo Monti dating back to 1200, with frescoes from the 1750s. During 2016, he worked on creating the structure for the Residency Program, which was launched in March 2017 and welcomed the first artist in May 2017. Since then, Edoardo has welcomed over 100 artists from 45 countries. He collaborated with PAF (Public Art Fund) and Performa in NYC and created his own “public art” programming.

Edorado, what do you look for in an artist?

I think it’s always a gut feeling; there are emotions that you feel when you find something fresh, new and captivating. We are bombarded by thousands of images every day, so whenever you find an image that’s followed by a cool concept that stays in your mind for days. Experience, travel and research really matter. I don’t look for the establishment, I don’t look for a specific school or a specific resumé, I just look for emotions that I feel when I see that art and most importantly I think perhaps I look for human connections. Whenever the person themself, boy or girl, is a nice person, and a person that I want to work with and support then that’s a spark and that’s super necessary. I deal with contemporary art, not with modern or ancient, so the role of the living people alludes to how they speak of their approaches. The conversation is super important.


How can an artist be innovative?

I think it is an interesting and challenging question. I guess it depends on which medium they are using. There are different ways and depending on which medium they are focusing on – whether it is painting, sculpture, photography – it all changes. I think that to be innovative artists need to have a very thorough understanding of their previous practices, to make sure that they don’t repeat, or make mistakes that others made, and to have extensive knowledge of the mediums in order to create something new. So to be innovative, they have to be extremely knowledgeable and that comes with hard work, studying, researching, visiting and speaking with other artists. 


With the Palazzo Monti Residency program, you gave a chance to more than 100 artists to grow artistically and professionally. What is the greatest satisfaction to come from these years?

The greatest satisfaction comes from building a strong human relationship with the artists and then being able to see that they are improving themselves on their own without other contacts.  Ultimately it’s being able to support them directly with projects I‘ve created independently, working with institutions, galleries,  private collections and other artists. I think the best comes after the actual length of the residency when I manage to meet the person, spend months with them and really get to know them, and then work on future projects together. It sometimes takes a few years, but without the specific month we have spent together, I would never be able to focus on the relationships and focus on their practice in order to support them.


How do you picture the Palazzo Monti in 10 years?

It’s an interesting question simply because I don’t know if there will be a Palazzo Monti in 10 years – not because I don’t want to be there in 10 years but, simply because it has changed and evolved so much over the past three years, that I feel that a reverse time limit where we extend the duration of the project, can be counterproductive. I think that wherever Palazzo Monti will be in 10 years, it will be an institution stronger than ever. Perhaps, to support the artists we are welcoming, it will welcome fewer artists per year with a longer duration of the time, and it will have even more connections with international institutions than right now.


What are you most excited about regarding MTArt’s model and your art selection committee position? 

I think what is super exciting to be part of MTArt board is to be able to have a deep, thorough insight on the many projects that the agency is working on. I was impressed by the level of partners and projects that are being worked over the past years. 


What are you looking forward to doing the most as a newly appointed MTArt art selection committee member? 

I just can’t wait to give my vote and find new talents with this and, through the MTArt Agency network, being able to support them.


After Sveva, Edoardo Monti is the second interviewee of our Art Selection Committee series. Stay tuned for more interviews introducing the wonderful people who help us spot the best talents out there.

Check out all our MTArt Artists here.


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