In this period of heightened political, social and economic tensions, how can an exhibition institution like Artissima try to initiate a dialogue with the contemporary?
Artissima is a fair entirely dedicated to working with contemporary art galleries and, for the most part, young generation, as are the artists they represent and is fully immersed in the context of the contemporary. The galleries reflect the geopolitical histories of their home territories and, in this sense, the panorama of the 2022 edition of Artissima, with gallerists and artists from Iran, Zimbabwe, China, and Brazil-from 28 countries in all-holds the threads of cultural complexities that are reflected in the artists' productions and works; works that weave together resonances, meanings, and questions. Artissima thus becomes a large temporary museum, where the protagonist is the gaze of the viewer who can immerse himself in this complex scenario, the result of a year of research and updates conducted by the fair team.
After your experience at MAN - Museum of Art of the Province of Nuoro - what were the lessons and visions that you were able to transfer within a world as complex and different, from the museum, as the exhibition model?
Artissima has always nurtured a dual soul, commercial and cultural, oriented toward accompanying the activity of galleries and the direct production of artistic content through external projects, commissions to artists, and the involvement of projects as curators.
Artissima moves in a territory in the making, the one favored by younger and research galleries, which precedes and anticipates the work of an exhibition and an institution; however, the fair context has even more accelerated times than the encounter with art in the gallery and offers the collector, professionals and visitors all the vitality of a scenario in motion, in which perceptions, values and meanings are entrusted to the impulse of a few days, where the sense of a productive frenzy prevails.
A museum curator at a fair can bring a special attention and sensitivity to the work of galleries and artists, helping to build strong and important content with them.
What are the highlights of this 29th edition of Artissima?
At the Oval Artissima presents itself structured with its four historical sections, Main Section, Monologue/Dialogue, New Entries and Art Spaces/Edition, and the return in full physical presence of the three curated sections, Back to the Future, Present Future and Drawings. These are led by new curators (Anna Gritz and Balthazar Lovay, Sam Demircan and Maurin Dietrich, and Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, respectively) who have provided a renewed approach to the identity of the sections. I am thinking, for example, of Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, who interpreted drawing as a primary tool of creation, identifying artists who use it as the primary medium of their practice.
In this 2022 edition, the Artissima Voice Over platform accompanies the full physical return of the three curated sections to the fair, creating a synergy between the presence at the fair and the presence on the artissima.art platform, a design strategy that will continue over the years. In general, the goal of these developments is to simplify the exploration of the fair and make all its segments and the narratives therein more fluid and intelligible. This year sees the launch of a new project of digital audio guides, accessible via one's smartphone on artissima.art, which provides full autonomous access to thematic tours of the fair, as if Artissima were a museum, whose works, histories and routes one discovers.
How did the A Sud project come about and who are the realities invited in this edition?
The project A Sud was created to deepen some historical cultural specificities of Artissima, in terms of research and interculturality, interpreting from the southern shore the changes taking place in the
Mediterranean, to develop new perspectives of artistic and social awareness. Over the years Artissima has been a platform of visibility and growth for many Italian galleries from the south of the country; the will is now to enhance also foundations and art institutions coming from the southern and island areas of Italy, to help strengthen the focus on the Mediterranean basin as a place of artistic elaboration and an incubator of new creative perspectives.
We invited the Paul Thorel Foundation of Naples and involved the Oelle Foundation of Aci Castello in Catania and the ZACentrale in Palermo of the Merz Foundation. All three of these institutions will nurture residential projects in their territories for the benefit of artists who will be identified among those at the fair, creating an innovative action of artistic research and reflection on the world of the Mediterranean.
How has the market and collecting in Italy changed and how is it changing in recent
The Italian collector who follows Artissima aims to grow a collection that reflects his or her own
individual choices, tastes and desires and proceeds in the medium to long term, in the belief that
only time will definitively shape the choices and paths taken, acquiring works and following
the artists' work. Artissima pursues a strategic goal, which is to specifically nurture this collecting that loves discovery, continuous updating, surprise and the desire to interpret with passion and a certain idealism this activity, open to the bet and the pleasure of sharing.
Why is it that first the art system and then the state still fail to protect and recognize all those professional and emerging figures such as: artists, curators, critics, journalists and gallery owners, communicators and technicians who, underpaid and exploited, contribute with commitment and sacrifice to sustain the great contemporary art circuit?
I think things are changing and that the new generation of Italian professionals, many with solid professional experience abroad behind them, are bringing about change in this area. I think, for example, of the work of AWI Art Workers Italia in building a reflection very concrete on work ethics in the art sector.
What are the fair's attentions devoted to independent projects inhabiting the various
regions of Italy?
Artissima has always paid attention to independent spaces in Italy, from the days of the Artissima Lido. One of Artissima's seven sections is then entirely dedicated to independent spaces Italian and international, Art Spaces & Editions.
What are the galleries to watch for in the near future?
In addition to the European world, attention needs to be paid to evolving scenarios with increasingly structured art increasingly structured, such as the African continent, South America and the Asian world. From there major novelties come, and Artissima will bear full witness to them in this edition
Cover photo : Alicia Reyes McNamara, Communion II, 2022, olio su tela, 40xx50 cm Courtesy Courtesy l’artista e Niru Ratnam Gallery, London Ph. Damian Griffiths