Galleria Continua is a leading international contemporary art gallery, which was founded in 1990 by three friends: Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi and Maurizio Rigillo, in San Gimignano, Italy. Occupying a former cinema, Galleria Continua established itself and thrived in an entirely unexpected location, away from the big cities and the ultramodern urban centers, in the town of San Gimignano, a place steeped in history. This choice of location provided scope for the development of new forms of dialogue between unexpected geographies: rural and industrial, local and global, art from the past and the art of today, famous artists and emerging ones. Galleria Continua was the first foreign gallery with an international program to open in Beijing, China in 2004, and in 2007 launched a new site for large-scale creations – Les Moulins - in the Parisian countryside. In 2015 the gallery embarked on new paths, opening a space in La Habana, Cuba, devoted to cultural projects designed to overcome every frontier. In the course of almost thirty years Galleria Continua has created a strong identity, which remains faithful to a spirit of perpetual evolution and is committed to developing public interest in contemporary art. That identity is grounded in two values – generosity and altruism – that lays at the heart of all its dealings with artists, the general public and its development as a whole. Galleria Continua is all about a desire for continuity between ages, the aspiration to having a part in writing the history of the present, and between different and unusual individuals and geographies. Galleria Continua presented the work of Anish Kapoor for the first time in China in 2007 in the Beijing gallery space, on the occasion of his solo show "Ascension".
Those two values and the importance of friendship led Galleria Continua to be the first major foreign gallery to arrive in China thanks to a strong tie with friends: the artist Chen Zhen and his wife Xu Min. The gallery settled in a 1950s Bauhaus style building that had not yet been restored back then, in an area considered to be in the Beijing outskirts and now famously known as the 798 Art District.
In April 2004, Galleria Continua participated in the first contemporary art fair in Beijing followed by organizing the first foreign Art Project in November of the same year. Then in May 2005, Galleria Continua held its inaugural show featuring 16 artists from five continents. Since then, the gallery continues to bring important artists from all over the world for the first time to China: Daniel Buren, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Kader Attia, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Chen Zhen, Etel Adnan, Berlinde de Bruyckere and many more.
As of today, the 798 Art District has become one of the most visited locations in China, along with the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. It is now firmly positioned as the country’s place in the world where culture keeps growing, recently welcoming numerous other foreign artists, galleries and institutions to the region. Meanwhile, Galleria Continua created other numerous important bonds with more and more institutions, artists, collectors and curators whilst perpetuating its passion to open new spaces in unusual territories: Les Moulins (Parisian countryside) and Habana (Cuba). The underlying thread of Galleria Continua's activities through all these places and endeavours is to discover new artists and to provide showcases that bring together spheres of creativity and various different cultures.
And this will is to be continua! To celebrate the 15th year Anniversary of the Beijing life of Galleria Continua, a very unique exhibition, starting this October 25th, will retrace the history of the gallery by bringing back the works of 15 artists who have been part of this story along with the major exhibitions that our space hosted for the first time here in China: Ai Weiwei, Kader Attia, Daniel Buren, Loris Cecchini, Chen Zhen, Carlos Garaicoa, Antony Gormley, Carsten Höller, Anish Kapoor, Giovanni Ozzola, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Kan Xuan, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu and Zhuang Hui! Most importantly the exhibition is incarnating the strong ideology of the three founders, an ideology and a purpose that has never changed over the years and that will always remain the core value of Galleria Continua as expressed in an interview by our founder Lorenzo Fiaschi for the 25-year anniversary of the gallery in Paris: ‘For Mario, Maurizio and myself, culture is a meeting, it’s about making our differences a source of creativity, of beauty, of union and of love’.