Celebrating Women of Photography: Elena & Matilde

Elena and Matilde are a curatorial duo working and closely have created many interesting projects. They've recently opened a gallery T14 in Milan, in Italy. One of the projects they curated is "Identity", idea of the photographer Mara Palena and brought to life thanks to the amazing synergy of these women. "Identity" aims to give young people living in the suburbs of Milan a chance to express their feelings through analog photography tearing down the existing barriers in the digital age. But let's give the floor to Elena and Matiled now!

Hello Elena and Matilde, it’s nice to have you back on the Lomography Magazine! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

We are a curatorial duo working together in Milano since 2016 under the name of Twenty14. The project was founded by Matilde in 2014 with the aim of creating a space devoted to contemporary emerging photography. At the moment we are curating projects both inside our gallery space than outside, expanding our interests further than just photography. We are also teaching workshops and classes in different photography schools. We are currently carrying on with Mara Palena the social project IDENTITY where we combine our experience as curators and teachers.

Can you describe the life as a woman in the curation world?

We can describe our day by day reality, Milano is very different from the rest of Italy and Italy is very different from other countries in Europe.
We don’t like to complain and point fingers to others, for sure being a woman pursuing every kind of carrier it is difficult on many levels. Pursuing a carrier in the art industry male or female it is very challenging. Milano offers many opportunities and at the same time a lot of competitors.

What are the challenges and struggles you experience in this field and how do you manage to overcome them?

We are both under 35 years old and our “young” age in many situations has revealed a sort of a problem in terms of professional credibility and gaining clients or collaborators trust. We had to work on our self-esteem and learn how not to be intimidated by people with more power than us.
But the real challenge is to find the right balance between what we like, what are the art audience needs and the art market trend. These are aspects that we always keep in mind when we approach a new project.

How important it is to cooperate and support each other in your work?

For us, it is the base of our work relationship. We support each other on a daily basis but also we push each other in order to become better and better in our job.

What drives you, girls, to do what you are doing?

We love art in general and we are convinced that even if our contribution is little compared to big scale museums and institutions we can help people to approach and discover contemporary art.

Who is your main source of inspiration and motivation?

We think art is the most powerful medium which capable of connecting people throught a universal language - devoid of rhetorical shapes, that want to give voice to people’s identity and diversity. It inspires us for trying to buck the trend, at a time when everything tends to get cliched, trivial. We want to give more space to cultural expressions.

What would be your advice for girls and women who are still starting out in the world of curation?

Don’t be afraid or to proud to go to more experienced people for advice. Keep studying, it is very important to be well prepared and never stop to look at the past for references and inspiration.

Lastly, what are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Balance for Better”?

It is very important to believe that a gender-balanced world is possible. In the last years, the attention dedicated by media on gender equality-related problems has awakened a lot of people. And that’s a very good thing, the first step to solve an issue is to start talking about. Most of the time the problem is that people don’t talk about these topics enough in their circles, like friends, family, co-workers. More women that we imagine are afraid to be considerate aggressive or to suffer some consequences just for asking their bosses the same pay of their male colleague, so they stay silent. But we can see that something is changing, people are starting to get more involved, we went on the women’s day march in Milano and it was a huge event.

To see more of Elena, and Matilda's work, see their project T14


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