Una is pleased to present its first collaboration with Spazio Leonardo, Leonardo Insurance's new container located in the heart of Milan, in the Porta Nuova Quarter. Spazio Leonardo is imagined as an organism that grows and changes, that lives in ongoing evolution: a workspace that puts itself at the service of the city and welcomes the city, enriching it with new spaces and cultural offerings.

Through the perspective of openness and interdisciplinarity, Spazio Leonardo entrusts the artistic direction of its Gallery, a long 22-meter wall positioned at its entrance and completely visible from the outside, to UNA, a gallery dedicated to promoting emerging artists and research. Therefore, an annual program is now established, from April to December 2018, which proposes a series of three solo exhibitions of as many young Italian artists: Thomas Berra (April - June); Simone Monsi (June - September); Irene Fenara (October - December). Each artist is invited to create a site-specific project, designed for the Gallery, which will cross the agency's lobby, in dialogue with the multifaceted nature of Spazio Leonardo and will be documented in a catalog with critical texts and photographs. The exhibitions will be open to the public free of charge during the agency’s open hours, providing an opportunity for exchange and meeting between the space and the city. The collaboration between UNA and Spazio Leonardo, two entities operating in different fields but sharing a vision, open to the future and to synergies, aspires to be a virtuous example of the relationship between art and business, capable of producing positive and growth minded effects, not only for the people directly involved but also for the entire region.

The first appointment of the exhibition program is Thomas Berra’s solo show: Tutti dobbiamo dei soldi al vecchio sarto di Toledo [We All Owe Money to the Old Tailor of Toledo]. The center of the site specific project is a large wall painting, as long as the Gallery's wall, a delicate gouache marked by a sign and gesture painting, with a series of works on paper and canvas in small and medium format.

With his latest production, Thomas Berra investigates and experiments with the nature of signs. The research begins with the study of organic forms in nature, from a paraphrase of landscape and plant forms, such as those present in the veins of leaves, wood, blades of grass or the surface of tree trunks. Gradually the sign takes over, ridding itself of its representative intention, and the research becomes a pure study of rhythm and composition: an investigation of the relationship between the sign and the space.

The traces left by Thomas Berra aren’t much different from each other and are repeated centimeter after centimeter, generating a visual rhythm, and producing a multitude of presences similar to the sounds and notes of an orchestra, which are nothing other than the vibrations generated by a repeating and multiplying line.

In these works, the surface, both that of the sheet and that of the wall, yields to the physical experience of the artist, who rediscovers the joy and vitality of a gesture, a line drawn with a quick and sure hand. Thomas Berra’s marks are immediate and pre-rational, signs of the moment: simple and soft shapes with liquid colors and bright and clear shades. Through this obsessive repetition of the sign the artist seems to want to affirm the impossibility of purely intellectual painting.

(Simona Squadrito)

Thomas Berra (Desio, 1986) studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. Among his main exhibitions: Il Paradigma di Kuhn, Galleria FuoriCampo, Siena, and Studio O2, Cremona (2018); Stupido come un Pittore, Villa Vertua Masolo, Nova Milanese, 2018; So long (Arrivederci), Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome, 2018; Verde Indagine (solo show), Placentia Arte, Piacenza, 2017; Dopo il diluvio (solo show), Villa Vertua Masolo, Nova Milanese, 2017; Carrus Navalis, Dimora Artica, Milan, 2016; Souvenir, Palazzo Mezzanotte-Piazza Affari, Milan, 2015; THOMAS (solo show), Room Galleria, Milan, 2015; 81⁄2, (solo show), Spazio 1929, Lugano, 2015; CIAO (solo show), Mana Contemporary, Chicago, USA, 2015; Casabarata (solo show – works completed in residency in Tangier, Morocco), Banca Sistema, Milan, 2014; Crises and rises, Palazzo delle Stelline, Milan, 2012; CIAO (solo show), Room Galleria, Milan, 2012. In 2017 Thomas won the 6artista Prize and was in residence at the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome and at Schafhof – European House of Art Upper Bavaria, Freising, Germany. During that same year, he spent a period of residency at Viborg Kunsthal, Viborg, Denmark and participated in the workshop at the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte, Poirino (TO) with visiting professors Raffaella Spagna and Andrea Carretto. In 2014 he founded Subculture fanzine, a collective publishing project exhibited at Edicola Radetzky, Milan; in 2013 he was the winner of the Unicredit Prize with a solo show at Superstudio Più, Milan.