Have you met...Luisa Catucci

Text by Rachel Simkover and pictures by Cell63


The story behind origins of the Cell63 art gallery is unique. Luisa Catucci worked in Italy as an illustrator and graphic designer before moving to Berlin seven years ago (when Berlin wasn’t as popular as it is today). She wanted to have an atelier for herself with a showroom so she could display her own work. Her friends were impressed with the space and asked to show there as well. Luisa had involuntarily become a curator and gallery director, and she realized that she really liked organizing shows and that is how Cell 63 came about. The project has been in its current location for 2.5 years. Recently Luisa has started bringing Cell 63 to art fairs including the Kunstsalon Berlin, Art Verona in Northern Italy, and the Blooom fair in Cologne.

What is the main concept of Cell 63?

I tend to gravitate towards works that integrate the human and nature (the current exhibition is different; it is more surrealistic, dark pop). I like work that creates a dreamy, mystical atmosphere. I am also interested in the feminine, for example, the role of the female before the formation of the Christian church. Many female artists show here. We are currently representing 15 artists. paradise, mystical, work that is not just pretty but conveys new messages. playing with symbols science and knowledge still spread, transmission

What is your inspiration for the space?

It depends on my mood and the project. Usually I will find one work that really speaks to me and I will form the exhibition around that one piece. I always try to show more than one artist at a time.  I really believe in the works of these artists.

How did you choose the name Cell63?

According to traditional Italian numerology, the number 63 is the protector number of artists and dreamers.

How does your curatorial practice affect your individual artistic practice?

I am really learning a lot, especially when it comes to evaluating an artwork. This experience has changed my artwork a lot. I know my weaknesses better both as an artist and a curator. It has definitely been a long learning procedure, and I have been learning patiently. I did not study art or curating in school because I am skeptical of school “standards”.  I want to always be doing something new and interesting!

How would you describe your experience at the art fairs?

Every fair has a different character, like new planets with new customers. Some have a high quality of work but are poorly organized and others have unimpressive work and are well organized. It really depends on one’s point of view.

Do you have any funny stories from your experience running Cell 63?

Of course! I am always trying to get out of the gallery. I have a friend from Italy (Luca Donnini) who was doing an on the road exhibition where he would exhibit his photographs in unconventional places. I knew that his methods would not work in Berlin because people are so used to seeing work on the streets; they would not notice it. So I had the crazy idea to make kites out of the photographs by tying balloons to them and flying them in Tempelhof airport. This exciting idea of course worked out perfectly in my head, but not in practice. The security guards immediately approached us and said that we could not have an unregistered exhibition there and that the “flying porn” (some portraits had exposed breasts) was not appropriate. We moved the exhibition to Hasenheide, but I would really like to properly realize this exhibition and make all 65 photographs into real kites.

Also there is one artist Lars Henkel, whose work I encountered before I had the space, and the work took my breath away; I kept his postcard up in my studio. I was introduced to him years later at the art fair in Cologne, and now we are collaborating!

What are your favorite galleries in Berlin?

There are so many! Strychnin Gallery in Friedrichshain, they currently have a beautiful pop surrealist show. Aando fine art (http://www.aandofineart.com/) in Mitte. Also some that unfortunately aren’t around anymore like Tristesse Deluxe and Abnormals gallery.

How do you see Cell 63 developing in the future?

I would like to work more on the quality of the artists shown here. Sometimes I select work from the internet and am not so impressed in reality. I always want to put on quality shows and to show something different. The future of the gallery lies not within the gallery, but outside.

The current exhibition “This is a Pop World” is on view until the 17th of December.

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