The in the urban heart of the city.”

Topics: ArtArtists


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Last updated: June 20, 2019

The non-profitedGhisla art collection was establishedin April 2014, their intention was the create an artistic holding ofinternational value. The collection has been created by the Pierino Ghislas andMartine Ghisla, a husband-and-wife team. Thecollection is occupied in a futuristic building that has just been built as a project by the Moro& Moro architectural studio of Locarno.The buildingwas of the 40s and was refurbished and redesigned by Franko Mauro, theconversion led the art gallery to the closure of all window and the continuouscovering of the façade with a ventilated insulating envelope. A big cubecovered by red wire mesh, surrounded by a small moat. The pool outside surroundingthe building is a tribute to Locarno, lacustrine to Locarno distinct separationto the outside world.

“The new architectural connotation corresponds tothe cultural function of the gallery overlooking the Rusca Gardens in the urbanheart of the city.” (Moroemoro, 2007) Where somesculpture is part of the Ghisla art collection. “It is just located in the centre of the town just a fewmetres from the marina.

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” (Corocher, 2018) At aged 14,Pierino Ghisla left Marolta in the Blenio Valley to visit his uncle who owned afruit and vegetable importing company in Brussels, Belgium. Pierino Ghisladecided to stay in Brussels and only returning to Ticino during the holidays.PierinoGhisla Pursued to help and develop the fruit and vegetable company. This thenprovided him with necessary funds to purchase his first painting.  Pierino Ghisla and his wife Martinedecided to partner up and pursue this art collection. After being totallycaptivated by a painting by French artist Georges Mathieu. (,The collector, 2018) puts it: “However, we had to wait afew years before purchasing it – says Ghisla – because we did not have the necessary funds.

In the meantime,we befriended the gallery owner who was selling it. After acquiring that firstpainting for our collection – he continues – we fell in love with a work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude,which my friend the gallery owner allowed us to buy in exchange for several19th century works that we had at home. This marked the beginning of thisfantastic adventure.”   After over thirtyyears of collecting, Ghisla have decided to present their collection of works,creating an exhibition space open to the public. Ghisla decided that openingthe space in the city of Locarno instead of in other cities in Switzerland orabroad. Ghisla (2017) because: “Being Ticinese, we have chosen to return to this region to experienceretirement.

Withdrawing to Ticino, we brought the collection to Locarno. We donot aspire to fame, we are quite happy to contribute with a little stone to thecultural panorama of the region.”Together theyhave been gathering perfect masterpiece from the Pop Art, Arte Informale,Conceptual Art, and the neo Dada movements.

 Thefoundation does intend to set up collaborations with other cultural institutionsbut his main priority of the gallery was at first to showcase his collection. “we are open to suggestions andcollaborations. In this first moment, we try above all to as they say.” Says Ghisla. “The artworksin the Ghisla art collection are laid out in eight rooms over three floors.” (GhislaArt Collection Locarno, 2017).

Three out ofthe eight exhibition-rooms are dedicated to temporary exhibits that add to theprivate collection. As you enterthe gallery space, you will immerse yourself in the taste of Pierino andMartine Ghisla collection. Their layoutwas not determined by a specific thematic but as Pierino Ghisla explains:  “it was actually my wife and myself who wished tocreate the setting, based on our own taste and intuition, as if we weredisplaying the works in our own home and not in a public place.”(, The visit, 2018). Every yearduring the winter season from January to March the gallery is closed and partlybeing renewed by some of his other collection that may not have been shown duringthe opening and for new projects/programmes for the temporary exhibition to beplanned out. Ghislacurrent temporary exhibition in 19th March 2017 until 7thJanuary 2018 (The Museum to scale 1/7).The scenography of the scale museum which has over one hundred rooms wasconceive by the artist Wesley Meuris aswell and curated by Ronny Van De Velde, eachof these spaces contain original artworks paintings or complete installationsby 85 contemporary Belgium artists among the best known to those that are knownonly to connoisseurs.

 “Locarno is a tourist area and wemust be aware of this context.” Says Ghisla. Locarno is recognized worldwidefor its International Film Festival, the biggest cultural event in Switzerlandand one of the most important ones in Europe.


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