For Beatrice Bulgari, moving image is a uniquely powerful means for storytelling. The Italian designer, producer, art collector, and patron has now been championing artists working in film and video for decades. She first worked closely with filmmakers to bring their creative visions to life as a costume designer on films like Cinema Paradiso (1990).

Then, in 2007, Bulgari founded the non-profit CortoArteCircuito to produce and promote short films about contemporary artists, and in 2012, she started the production company In Between Art Film. Formalizing her advocacy in 2019, Bulgari launched Fondazione In Between Art Film, a non-profit that supports artists working in time-based media – including film, video, performance, and installation – through commissioned projects, acquisitions, and institutional collaborations.

This spring, in tandem with the 60th Venice Biennale, the Fondazione will unveil the exhibition ’Nebula’ at the Complesso dell’Ospedaletto, a former hospice and jewel of Baroque architecture in the heart of the city. This is the Fondazione’s second presentation during the biennale, and it will feature eight newly commissioned, site-specific video installations by artists and duos Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Saodat Ismailova, Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado, Diego Marcon, Basir Mahmood, Ari Benjamin Meyers, and Christian Nyampeta. Ahead of the exhibition, she spoke to Art Basel.

‘I have worked as a costume designer for many years, which involves engaging with history and embracing imperfections. These essential elements shaped my vision on cinema: I learned to appreciate the unique creative methods used by directors and have trained my eye to recognize new and emerging talents. Cinema has provided me with a powerful tool to engage with reality and tell stories that are relevant to our times.

‘Championing video art is not just a way of enriching one’s life, it is also an opportunity to embark on a path of creativity with artists. In 2012, I launched my production company, In Between Art Film. Over the years, I collaborated with several museums and art institutions. It was through these collaborations that I met Nicolò and Iacopo, the artistic duo known as MASBEDO. Together, we embarked on a journey to create a feature-length film, the script for which was co-written by Mitra Divshali, a Rome-based Iranian artist, Nicolò, Iacopo and myself. The film, titled The Lack (2014), premiered at the Venice Festival Giornate degli Autori, and was subsequently shown in many festivals and museums. The project showed me the beauty of collaboration and inspired me to continue in this direction, creating more films at the intersection between video art, performance, contemporary art, and literature.

‘When I established Fondazione In Between Art Film, I knew that I needed to expand the scope of my work and involve a larger network of professionals. I therefore created a team that is now comprised of an artistic director, two curators, an editor, a project manager, and a collection manager. This allows us to look at projects from several angles and to invite the artists not only to conceive new works, but also to engage in discursive and editorial practices. We tend to work with artists from the very initial stages, from the moment they conceive the work to the moment it is installed in the space, supporting them through all the stages of development. The works in ‘Nebula’, like for other exhibitions, originated from our invitation to respond to a very open, poetic intuition— in this case, about the metaphorical potential of fog. Once the works exist, we often help the artists circulate them in movie festivals and we encourage the expansion of the literature around them, including with the production of books and via our online research platform ‘STILL - Studies on Moving Images’.

‘Fostering a personal relationship with the artist is a crucial element of my commitment. By building a strong connection, I can better understand their creative vision, motivations, and artistic processes. This, in turn, enables me to provide more effective support, guidance, and feedback to help them achieve their goals. Ultimately, my commitment is rooted in my desire to help the artists realize their full potential.

‘Working with moving images is not easy: it is a medium that needs resources and that has, in most cases, a very limited market. Still, film and video works are more and more present in biennials and institutions, and I hope that Fondazione In Between Art Film will help give this medium more visibility in the art world and make it more accessible to a wider public. Many artists working with moving images deal with fundamental issues: they communicate socio-political, environmental, and existential concerns, or comment on the very conditions of images today, their production and distribution.

‘An artwork is a seed: it can insert in our minds and hearts a doubt, a vision, a hope, a fear... Art doesn’t change things or, at least, not immediately and on a factual level, but it can initiate a conversation, open new perspectives, and offers a new meaning. What we will do with those meanings is up to each of us.’

Credits and Captions

April 17–November 24, 2024
Complesso dell’Ospedaletto, Venice

Elliat Albrecht is a writer and editor based in Canada. She holds a BFA in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Hong Kong.

All photos by Niccolò Berretta for Art Basel.

Published on April 12, 2024.