Alchemy of Creativity: A Conversation with Goldschmied & Chiari

Curator Rossella Farinotti sat down with the visionary duo Goldschmied & Chiari to discuss their creative process, and their sources of inspiration, in a fascinating conversation about the intersection of art, design, and storytelling.

Sara Goldschmied and Eleonora Chiari founded the duo Goldiechiari in 2001 and have been working under the name Goldschmied & Chiari in Milan since 2014. Their internationally recognized work has been exhibited in prestigious institutions and museums around the world, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC and the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin. Goldschmied & Chiari

RF: Recently, you moved to a new, beautiful, and giant studio in a Milan suburb. You decided to move from the Sarpi neighborhood, where you had most of your studio visits outside of the gallery, to a new place. Why this big change?

G&C: After many years of working in a nomadic studio, moving to different venues such as apartments or industrial spaces, from Rome to Milan, we finally decided to set up our new quarter in Sesto San Giovanni. This area is a popular and industrial neighborhood in the suburbs of Milan. Our windows face the old “Area Falck,” which was a huge and historical steel factory that is now the object of a big urban redevelopment project. In a few years, that area will be totally renewed. We are happy to have bought the studio in this kind of changing background, and choosing the suburbs means that we had the opportunity to own a big space with a terrace to settle the studio and the archive in a space tailored to our needs by the architect Barbarella Marchesi.

“Dove andiamo a ballare questa sera?” – Goldschmied & Chiari’s site-specific installation featuring smoke, audio, bottles, and various materials at Galleria Poggiali in Milan, 2020. Photo by Michele Sereni.

RF: You both met outside of the art system or the academic world and soon became partners as “goldiechiari” at the beginning and then with your entire surnames. Since the beginning of your career, Milan was the chosen city where to work. Why?

G&C: We started our careers at the end of the nineties in an underground setting in Rome. During our very first period, we were much related to the rave culture, the off music, performances, and activism between squats and the university. That is where the “goldiechiari” identity was born. In 2012, Sara moved first to Milan, her hometown, and, after a few years, Eleonora rejoined her. From the very beginning, Milan welcomed us: it is the city where we started the “Untitled Views” research, experimenting with a combination of colored smoke bombs exploded in a tiny room in a garage in the Lambrate neighborhood.

RF: Also, the gallery that represents you in Italy now, Poggiali, chose this city as a main venue. Since when did you and Poggiali start your collaboration?

Goldschmied & Chiari’s “Alloro” at the Venice Biennale 2022. Photo by Michele Alberto.

G&C: We started our collaboration in 2019, just before the pandemic. We first met at the Museo Novecento in Florence, where we presented our solo show “Eclipse” in March 2019, curated by Gaspare Luigi Marcone, and we began a conversation that landed in our first solo show “Artificial Landscapes” at the Poggiali Gallery in Pietrasanta and then in Milan. We also had the opportunity to present our project “Where shall we go dancing tonight?” during the pandemic and the red zone when all galleries and museums were closed. We decided to show that specific installation, which was visible from the street through the gallery windows 24/7. It was the representation of a huge and glorious end of a party where we introduced the online performance “Let’s Get Physical,” choreographed by Anna Lea Antolini, together with two great dancers, Eugenia Brezzi, and Jacopo Giarda. The performance was launched via Instagram live.

RF: This last year was very important for you, from your presence inside the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale until the recent opening of the new Canali’s store in New York. A project in which you two were involved to create special moments thanks to the installation of three permanent art pieces and a temporary action on the shop windows in Madison Avenue, where you realized big and beautiful colored “clouds,” a trademark of Goldschmied & Chiari work. How did this project between art and fashion go

G&C: We both come from fashion backgrounds. Sara is the daughter of two fashion designers, and Eleonora grew up in the handwoven textile shop of her mother and grandmother in the center of Rome. Therefore, it was easy for us to imagine translating our work into a different context, such as that of the brand’s new shop. The Canali boutique on Madison Avenue in New York was designed by Park Associati Architects. We chose three works that are very important to us: one blue monochrome work, Untitled View, which was part of the show during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at Casa Italia, and the other two unreleased blue and red works, Untitled View, which is reminiscent of a volcano magma explosion. Both pieces are installed facing each other, while the third one is a medium-sized pink and blue piece that was part of the “Magnifica” show in Washington in 2021. We were very happy to work with you and to discover such a solid and brave family company like Canali.

“Eclissi” by Goldschmied & Chiari, on display at the Museo Novecento in Florence, 2019.

RF: The artworks in New York define an immersive journey that takes the visitor from outside to inside the store. Can you please tell us something about the art pieces installed?

G&C: We always think of our works as relational to the public, time, and space. On this occasion, we developed a project from the outside windows of the boutique to the interiors. We had the idea of two clouds that, from both sides of the windows, were spreading in space using transparent images. The viewer can perceive the first intervention from the outside. Then, upon entering the shop, the viewer can experience the mirrors: in a game of colored reflections, the public becomes an active part of the works.

Rossella Farinotti is an Italian art critic, curator and writer, the co-author of the film encyclopedia Il Farinotti, contributor to Flash Art Italia, Exibart, Mymovies and Zero, and the author of “il Quadro che visse due volte” (Morellini Publishing, 2013).