Researcher, philanthropist, writer and art lover, Rebecca Russo is one of the most important art collectors in Europe. The curatorial line of her Videoinsight Collection is based on selecting contemporary art that contains a high psychological impact and offers a real psycho-diagnostic and psycho-therapeutic potential. The italian clinical psychologist talks about art, her work and foundation, her collaboration with Phœnicia Hotel and her love for Beirut.
Ms Russo, tell us more about yourself… I am a collector and a clinical psychologist. I have created the Videoinsight Collection: a contemporary artwork selection with high psychological meaning and impressive psychodiagnostic and psychotherapeutic potential (High Videoinsight Impact). Artworks in the Videoinsight Collection pertains to specific themes such as Life, Body, Eros, Death, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Family, Evolution, Dependence, Illness, Crisis, and so on. Some artworks from the Videoinsight Collection are included in the Videoinsight Interpretative Museum. Videoinsight means to have an «Insight»: a simple and essential intuition, a discovery, an awareness that involves mind and emotions at conscious and unconscious levels. Life is a collection of moments, experiences, meets, stories, travels, problems, imaginations, and changes. In my existence, my contemporary art collection represents the evolution of my perceptions, thoughts, emotions, developments, dreams, problems, solutions, and insights. Every artwork that I have chosen is part of me: it’s inside my personality, in my mind, in my heart, in my unconscious.
What attracts you the most in Art? Art is life. Life is art too… Authentic artworks are universal, immortal, essential, primary, relational. Artworks perturb the unconscious, overcoming the barriers of defence and resistance, and modify distances, overturn meanings, interrogate multiplicity, and stimulate the emergence of new resources. Artworks stimulate feelings, perceptions, and psychosomatic effects. They activate the imagination, fantasy, and creativity through projections and reflection. Artworks promote knowledge through new interpretation processes, thoughts, learning, communications. They cause actions, decisions, and better socialization.
In 2010, you founded the Videoinsight Center. Can you tell us more about that? In 2010 I founded in Turin, Italy the first Videoinsight Center: an open space for psychological interaction with contemporary art work whose aim is the «activation of insights»; meaning the transformative and provocative evolution in personality promoted by the vision of artworks. The Center is a space for intellectual and emotional exchange in order to create meanings to be shared; a creative laboratory for stimulating innovation and consciousness and evolutive psychological transformation; an experimental observatory of artistic experiences. It’s destined for the public.
In 2013, you founded the Art and Science Videoinsight Foundation, bringing art work from the Videoinsight Collection in the world of medicine and health. How can Art help in therapy? It is a private, non-profit organization, with a legal status and funds restricted to the pursuing of its statutory goals of integrating contemporary art, psychology and medicine.The aims of the Videoinsight Foundation are to extend the application of the Videoinsight Method to the fields of prevention, diagnosis, therapy, rehabilitation, psycho-attitudinal orientation, learning, education, training, social support in the world. Contemporary Art can heal, promote change and solve individual and relational psychological distress. Some contemporary artworks are provocative, ambivalent, mysterious, and deep; they speak about the basic, and universal human needs; they offer an opportunity for personal development, progress, identification and «psychological emancipation». Artworks are emotional, affective, perceptual and mnemonic. They oblige us to think, to feel, to change; they transform us. Artworks create potentialities and open the door to future change; they break the rigid schemes, and therefore they can heal, promote wellness. Videoinsight can cause the evolution of personality, and offers new solutions to psychological problems, and promote psycho-physical well-being. The Videoinsight Method can be applied to everyone because it proposes a simple and natural experience that is independent of age, gender, social status, religious beliefs, or language. The Videoinsight Method integrates culture and health in a novel, holistic and interdisciplinary way. Its efficacy has been demonstrated through objective medical studies published in international scientific journals and recognized by the international scientific community.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut? How did this project come to be? What is the idea behind it? Starting September 2014, the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, historic and iconic pearl in the Middle East, will become an exhibition space for a selected number of Art Videos from the Videoinsight Collection. In several points in the hotel, visitors will be able to view the videos. This date will also mark the beginning of an art collaboration between the Phoenicia Hotel and the Videoinsight Foundation that will offer the hotel guests access to a selected number of Art Videos on the new Videoinsight Video Art Channel, for free, in all the hotel rooms and suites. The Videoinsight Hotel Project is the result of a magic encounter, fruit of fate, with Mr. NajibSalha. He loves art as much as me.
Why Beirut and the Phoenicia Hotel? I chose Beirut because it is a town full of vitality and charm. It is very open to culture and art. Beirut is absolutely emerging and vibrant. It is definitively a city in turmoil and evolution. It presents contrasts that create good energy. I fell in love with this town at the first glance. Beirut is full of light also. I love so much this city. Beirut stimulates the mind and the heart. I chose the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut because it is a charismatic and symbolic place, rich in history and prestige, full of vitality too.The Phoenicia harbours many people all the time every day. It is a point of reference in the city and in the world. This hotel contains a lot of beauty and has a history of collecting art. It is the ideal place to look at Art. The Phoenicia Hotel offers to its guests culture on many occasions. I love so much this hotel too. It transmits unique feelings and beautiful inspirations. In the atmosphere of the Phoenicia Hotel I had great insights. The Videoinsight Project with the Phoenicia Hotel is absolutely innovative. It is a dream that becomes reality.
What are your future projects? The Videoinsight Advanced Training Course for the prevention and the promotion of psychophysical wellbeing, that I have founded, will launch at the University of Bologna, Alma Mater Studiorum, Faculty of Medicine, in the Academic Year of 2014-2015. The Videoinsight Foundation will implement the Videoinsight Method Teaching, which is essential to form a number of qualified professionals with appropriate training.