Susanna Corchia: Cultural agent and external tutor at Metàfora on our art courses

Metàfora is a small and independent art institution, which means that we cannot offer the academic facilities of most universities. However, on our courses we try to provide our students with things they will not learn at university: How to “break through” the barrier and enter the artworld with a voice and an opportunity to be seen.

Every year during the autumn semester, we look for adequate external tutors for our 3rd year students to work with during the last months of their stay. The external tutor is most often an artist, a gallerist or a cultural agent, and the idea is always to choose someone who shares ideas and interests with the student and who can help them network and open doors in the artworld.

In the case of Melle Skarfstad, advanced level student at Metàfora, we thought it was interesting for her to get to know and share ideas with one of the strong female characters on Barcelona’s art scene, Susanna Corchia.

Susanna Corchia, director of Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Susanna Corchia (Naples, 1978) trained as a Film and Theater Historian at the University of Bologna in Italy and at the Université Paris 8 in France.

She began her career in the world of visual arts in the archive of the Magnum Paris journalistic photo agency and between 2002 and 2007 she was responsible and coordinator of the programming of the Future Film Festival audiovisual festival in Bologna, Italy. In 2007 he moved to Barcelona where he has been gallery manager of ADN Galería until 2016.

Since 2017 she has been the director of the annual Barcelona Gallery Weekend event and collaborates autonomously in other international cultural projects, among the most recent the Unlearning Barcelona festival promoted by the Italian Institute of Culture that took place in November 2018. She is an art consultant of artists and occasionally teaches about gallery and art market.

art courses

Susanna giving a talk recently to Metàfora’s students.

How has the tutoring experience been? Have you turored aspiring artist before?

Susanna: I have been tutoring mid-career and emerging artists before. The experience of tutoring it’s always enriching for both parts, and in the specific case of Melle it has been especially engaging from an emotional point of view, because of her subtle work with human feelings and soul.

Tutoring aspiring artists is delicate because you have to push them to recognize their voice and create a discourse, but at the same time without being too invasive. First of all, a deep understanding of the investigation is needed and then you make many questions about everything, technique, medium, sizes, etc. Only questioning their work they will find the answers.

We always like to look for an adequate external tutor for each student on our art courses, someone who shares interest in the investigation of the student. How – if t all – does Melle’s work relate your professional experience?

Susanna: I have been working nine years as manager in a gallery focused on socio-political art, so I found Melle’s work interesting with regard to her look at transgender culture and the way society perceive it.

During the LOOP festival 2018 Melle’s work was showcased at a public event hosted by Metàfora. The event included a screening of the video “JOA” and a debate on gender politics, identity and self.

On her website, Melle describes herself and her discourse:

“I’m a multimedia artist working with projects related to the human body, sexuality, feminism, as well as exploring what is beyond and in between. Through painting, photography, video and sculpture, I’m aiming to explore subjects related to these topics trying to open up to questions instead of answers. Working with the philosophy that everything we might have learned, and thought was right, could be wrong.”

Have a look at melle’s projects here:

Where – and doing what – do you envision Melle in the future?

Susanna:  Haha, it’s difficult to say! I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think Melle’s work will improve her spiritual angle, leaving in a second plan the activist aspect. She could perfectly fuse her art practice with healing and therapy, which I think is what she likes most.

Melle Skärfstad, multimedia artist,
advanced level student at Metàfora