Interview with Gilli Stampa
We had a strong interest in the cultural life of Basel and wanted to create an “open space” for culture.
How did the Stampa gallery begin?
We were young, interested in art and wanted to do something with our lives so we decided to open a gallery space. However, we didn’t want to be a conventional gallery, so we added the bookshop because of our passion for books. Beyond the fundamental visual experience, the books are important for intellectual know-how and basic knowledge of all things. We wanted to have a range of media such as books, videos, artwork and installations in the same space. The only requirement was, and still is, to be authentic.
Basel is a city that doesn’t speak about itself.
I met my husband Diego here. We fell in love and decided to stay. Basel is a wonderful city, close to Germany and France, with a rich cultural life and plenty of interesting activities going on in architecture, university and in many other areas.
The Kunst Museum is very active and the Kunsthalle is one of the most important institutions in the field of contemporary art. Equally significant are the Beyeler Foundation and the Schaulager, and other independent art spaces.
There are many things going on here but they are slightly hidden. This attitude is very different from, say, Zürich. Basel is completely introverted. One should also speak about the importance of the families of Basel in supporting art. It’s really an old Basel tradition that has continued over many generations.
If you go to the exhibition, Holbein bis Tillmans at Schaulager, there is a presence of every generation who has supported art and added all the wonderful things in the museum. It’s a particular spirit linked to Basel.
A vivid architectural scene.
Can you explain your relationship with architecture?
Basel has some very good architects, with Hezog & Meuron being of course the epicentre. Thanks to them, many young architects come here because there is an important motivation to realize high quality architecture.
The fact that we also have companies like Vitra and Novartis, inviting the best architects from all over the world to build their campus, brings a lot to the Basel architectural scene. Architecture is definitely part of Basel’s tradition, even though before it wasn’t always so popular and known only among architects.
Since 1969, Stampa Gallery in Basel has organized exhibitions of Swiss and international contemporary art. Besides exhibitions and representation of artists, the gallery is also engaged in organizing events such as performances, seminars and book representations