By Ivan Quaroni – July 2014

curator of the exhibition Marco Lodola & Jill Mathis. The new patronage: envisaging the future

Galata – Museo del Mare, Genoa

For some years now, Guidi Srl has been acting as a patron of the arts. Since 2008, you have organized and promoted a number of projects involving artists such as the American photographer Jill Mathis, the English sculptor Chris Gilmour, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, who is one of the leading exponents of Arte Povera. At a time when we are experiencing a slow, difficult economic recovery, why do you feel that it is important to invest in art?

Our project to combine Art and Industry was launched in 2008 and it continued with events in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It is an alternative way of promoting the corporate brand and gaining greater visibility.
We have enjoyed our venture into the world of art so much that it seems inconceivable to break up the partnership and go back to traditional business promotion systems. As well as being a source of great joy that leaves us astonished every single time, investing in art produces tangible results in the shape of both the works created – which can constantly be introduced to fresh, inquisitive minds during targeted events at any time – and the unanimous praise that they earn.
It would have been unthinkable – and impossible – for traditional advertising and marketing methods to reach the levels of success achieved by the forms of cultural expression that we have embraced over the years.

In the field of industrial production, it is easy to understand the importance of investments in technology and innovation, but it is harder to grasp the reasons for investing in art. As a patron, what role do you think that art and culture could play in industrial production?

Incorporating Art and Culture in industrial production could produce impressive results. Being surrounded by items that are not only functional and practical but also artistically “attractive” gives added value to all of our efforts every day.
I have to say that the range of artistic forms that we have relied on over the years has highlighted and brought out the best of an artistic side that was already an intrinsic part of our output. It is a characteristic that was right under our noses but we were only able to notice and appreciate it thanks to the skill, creativity, insight, ingenuity and capacity to surprise of the artists that have worked with us and enabled both me and the company to be fully involved.

This year exhibition project is entitled “Marco Lodola & Jill Mathis. The new patronage: envisaging the future”, which suggests contemplation of the prospects ahead and the need to look forward and develop new ideas. What does envisaging the future mean for a company like yours?

The phrase “envisaging the future” nicely encapsulates the key quality of any modern patron: at times of rapid change like the present, entrepreneurs must show great “foresight” by picking up on and anticipating future demand from the market. They must innovate on the efficiency and product implementation front and above all create economic benefits, which are always valued and crucial.
Ongoing renewal is essential in order to achieve these goals. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to invest in research and technological innovation, which have a vital part to play in future success.

In your area at the 2014 International Boat Show in Genoa, you are displaying the sculpture created last year by Chris Gilmour, while at the Maritime Museum you are presenting a new project by Marco Lodola and Jill Mathis. What message do you want to give to the boat industry with these “artistic presences”?

We try to create curiosity and interest in contemporary art, which we find truly fascinating. Our message to other companies is to invest in this field. That applies not only to the boat industry but also to all companies and businesses in general.
Works made for corporate promotional purposes at big events – such as METS in Amsterdam and the Genoa International Boat show in our case – can subsequently be presented to the local public to encourage them to take an interest in art. Alternatively, as part of a broader approach, they can be displayed in museums and galleries in Italy and other countries. Ultimately, we strongly believe that art of all kinds can pave the way to better understanding of the world and enhanced quality of life.

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