Nathalie Brambilla graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Milano. Nathalie started her career as a gallery assistant at Massimo De Carlo Gallery in Milan. After three years there she moved to Paris to join the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin as director and artists manager. During her time at Galerie Perrotin, Nathalie had the chance to collaborate with artists like Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Piotr Uklanski, Gelatin, Bernard Frize and many others. For the last seven years, Nathalie has been in London. Since 2016 Nathalie has been working for the Simon Lee Gallery as a director and artists manager. We are excited to share Nathalie’s Frank Talk here because of her extensive experience working in Europe and with such amazing artists! Please enjoy.
What was your first job in the Arts?
I started at Massimo De Carlo in Milan as gallery assistant. We were three, included Massimo. So from not knowing anything about a gallery, I ended up in hanging works in client’s houses, doing fairs, assisting artists during the installation of an exhibition. Honestly, it’s been the best school ever.
That was in 1998, when the financial markets determined the course of events, creating a boom in the art market.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
The love and passion for art in the true sense of the term. It’s been an almost contagious feeling.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I think I realized it when, after 3 years at De Carlo, I decided to move to Paris to work for Emmanuel Perrotin. Unconsciously I took the decision to dedicate my life to art. And still now, sometimes, I just think how lucky I am in doing this job.
What do you do now?
I’m a director and artists manager at Simon Lee Gallery in London.
Another city, another experience.
Where are you from?
I’m from Milano.
What is the arts community like there?
It’s very active. Galleries and public spaces are growing more and more giving to Milan a wonderful energy.
Fondazione Prada, Hangar Bicocca, PAC only to mention a couple have very strong and interesting programs.
I’m don’t live in Milano since now 17 years but every time I go back there’re some incredible exhibitions that I can’t miss.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
I think so. In Italy there’s art everywhere you walk: architectures, museums, churches, history. It’s a city rich in beauty and artistic masterpieces.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Be passionate, be curious, take risks and never stop learning because it gives you courage. The more knowledgeable you are, the more comfortable you feel.
And first of all go with your heart.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
I worked with Maurizio Cattelan for 13 years while at De Carlo and then Perrotin.
In 2011 he had a major retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York.
Almost his entire oeuvre was gathered at the Guggenheim in one colossal, exploding column where self-mockery was mixed with grandiosity at the same time.
It’s been very touching and unforgettable to be part of it.
What has been a challenge for you?
To leave in 3 different cities and to adapt to the different cultures.
It’s not easy and with the time, that means getting older, it’s more and more difficult.
But it’s worth every effort of it!
What is something you do every day at work?
I read every day the newsletters I’m subscribed to so to have a clear update on what’s happening around me. And I try to learn something new every day.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
Surely the weirdest moment of my job so far has been to install taxidermies of pigeons on a fair booth while I was working for De Carlo.
The work was “Turisti” by Maurizio Cattelan and we had something like 12 pigeons to install on the wall of the booth.
On top of the strange sensation of handling dead pigeons, I had to prepare with paint a fake bird poop to dirt the wall with. I was about 25 years old at the time, and that was the beginning of my love for art!
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
A good boos is the person who gives you a good advice, a good exemple and who gives you the chance to grow with the business, to make you feel part of the family.
A good employee is committed, passionate, reliable, positive, enthusiast and not scared of failures.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
His personality and his knowledge.
Someone who has a positive mind and a positive attitude and is curious to learn more. The important thing to do is to arrive prepared to an interview and know a lot about the hiring company.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace?
I think that it’s very important first of all to be a good team player; it creates a productive environment and it benefits for everybody.
Integrity, working hard and being committed to the company are other qualities that will make you stand out and be appreciated.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Bacon and Giacometti at the Fondation Beyeler. Two of the greatest artists of the times in a breathtaking face to face.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
This is not a fare question! It would be Alberto Giacometti, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Rothko, Rudolf Stingel, Marlene Dumas, Iannis Kounellis (It’s 6!!)