Artissima 2019: The duality of Desire and Censorship, Turin, Italy

The duality of Desire/Censorship is the overall theme for the 26th edition of the Fair that in 2019 presents seven sections: Main Section, New Entries, Dialogue, Present Future, Back to the Future, Art Spaces & Editions and Disegni. For the first time the Fair presents the focus Hub Middle East, a new project set out to offer an overview of the galleries, institutions and artists active in a geographical area of central importance for developments in contemporary society.

As the only fair in Italy exclusively devoted to contemporary art, Artissima welcomes over 55,000 visitors with a program that maintains the fair’s experimental and avant-garde identity while proposing original ideas in response to the stimuli generated by the most interesting developments of our time.

Internationally renowned for its focus on pioneering practices, and as a launching pad for up-and-coming artists and galleries, Artissima is a unique event that attracts a large audience of collectors, sector professionals and art lovers every year. With each edition, the fair confirms itself as an international favorite for curators, directors of art institutions and foundations, as well as the patrons of museums from all over the world who are involved in various ways in its program.

The Exhibition
The theme for Artissima’s 26th edition is the duality of desire/censorship. The objective is to stimulate timely and varied reflections on the power of the image: contemporary ambitions and utopias, the impulses that shape our times, and the perspectives and narratives that cross them. The vitality of Artissima and its innovative force resonates throughout the city, thanks to the many cultural projects made in collaboration with public institutions, museums, foundations and galleries across the region.

Through the fair and these collaborations, Artissima confirms its role in contributing to the growth of the Italian contemporary art market, stimulating and supporting collectors with an eye on innovation, and a continuously evolving critical and curatorial vision.

Artissima 2019, inspired by the versatile theme of desire/censorship, closely scrutinises the ambitions and utopias of contemporary society, narrated by 209 international galleries that will take part in the various sections: Main Section (that features the most highly acclaimed galleries on the international art scene), Dialogue (presenting works of 1 or 2 artists in dialogue), Art Spaces and Editions (dedicated to galleries that offer editions, prints and multiples by contemporary artists), New Entries (the section on the most interesting young galleries, with less than 5 years of activity), Back to the Future (focused on the great pioneers of contemporary art), Present Future (focused on emerging talents), Disegni (focused on drawings).

The vitality of Artissima resonates also throughout the city, thanks to a rich calendar of collateral events: Abstract Sex: We don’t have any clothes, only equipment, the innovative off-site exhibition project focussed on the theme of desire and occupying the spaces of Jana, the historic boutique in Torino, with artworks presented by the galleries taking part in the Fair; Artissima Telephone, an exhibition project created with and for the spaces of OGR – Officine Grandi Riparazioni, offering a survey of the use of the telephone as an art medium..

Ma l’amor mio non muore, a large sculptural installation by the artist Marcello Maloberti set up at the Hotel Principi di Piemonte di UNA Esperienze; The Italian Job, the surprising artistic intervention by the British sculptor Richard Wilson installed at Domus Lascaris to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film set in Torino; the videoinstallation Love is the Message, the Message is Death by Arthur Jafa, winner of the PIAC – Prix International d’Art Contemporain, at Palazzo Madama.

Untitled (Lay-out Painting), 1988, by Endre Tót, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and acb Gallery. Photography: Dávid Tóth Of the fair’s seven sections, three are curator-led including a strong outing from Back to the Future (coordinated by GAMeC director Lorenza Giusti), which focuses on the rediscovery of pioneers of contemporary art. It’s not like we’ve forgotten the always-brilliant William Wegman, though always appreciate an occasion to peer into his wonderful world of Weimeraners, this time by way of artist drawings at Paris’ Florence Loewy. Also good was Budapest-based Acb Gallery’s presentation of Endre Tót’s Lay-out paintings (1988–1991): the punchy, geometric canvases nod to 1980s industrial design (from floppy disks to a Ferrari Tettarossa) and visual layouts of magazines and newspapers.

In 2019 the fair presents two novel off-site projects: “Artissima Telephone”, at OGR-Officine Grandi Riparazioni, presenting works created for the telephone; and “Abstract Sex. We don’t have any clothes, only equipment”, which inside a historical boutique in the city center explores the territories of desire and censorship, delving deeper into this year’s theme.

In the main section of the fair, American artist Melissa McGill’s Venice Biennale project Red Regatta set sail for Turin, where Mazzoleni staged a monographic display of photographs and hand-painted sailcloth works. Galerie Rolando Anselmi had a simply sublime pastel canvas by Gianni Pelligrini, while Visaterna had a strong booth with works by photographers Guido Guidi, Takashi Homma and Lorenzo Vitturi. And it was impossible to miss Muhannad Shono’s dramatic black PVC pipe installation, which completely engulfed Jeddah gallery ATHR, part of Artissima’s newly launched Hub Middle East programme.

Castello di Rivoli
Swiss artist Claudia Comte commandeers the top-floor gallery of Castello di Rivoli’s historic residence with a series of vast perception-shifting mural interventions, partly inspired by the 18th-century decorative motifs present throughout the property. Comte’s research for her site-specific exhibition also included a study of the rock formations specific to where the museum is located on the edge of Turin.

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Palazzo Madama
The Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco presents a video work by Arthur Jafa – winner of the 47th Prix International d’art Contemporain (PIAC), which is awarded every three years to recent work by an artist. The Mississippi-born artist scooped the €75,000 prize in October with his widely acclaimed film Love is the Message, the Message is Death (2016), a poignant reflection on black history and experience in America. In the Palazzo Madama, however, the film takes on a jarring new meaning, one that is arguably at odds with its opulent surrounds.

Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR)
Monica Bonvicini is making herself at home in Turin with a large-scale architectural intervention into OGR’s former industrial premises. Cutting the exhibition space in two, the Italian artist sets the stage for a dual showing of sculpture and photography. Most impressive is the wooden skeleton of a half-built structure that has its roots in 1970s Californian residential architecture, though its ‘residents’ will leave a chill in your bones.

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Berlinde De Bruyckere has taken a monumental leap in her artistic practice, with series of site-specific works that draw inspiration from a visit to a skin trader workshop in Anderlecht, Belgium. In the austere space of the foundation, the freshly flayed animal hides are piled up onto large pallets and covered in salt, to protect and preserve them for future treatments.

Abstract Sex: We don’t have any clothes, only equipment
What’s at stake in the idea of desire? Curators Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti and Guido Costa hypothesise that desire today is ‘completely entangled in what we call the “pornographic regime”.’ At the R-rated off-site exhibition occupying cult fashion boutique Jana on Via Maria Vittoria, visitors would have encountered, among other works, a seemingly innocent boater hat by Simon Fujiwara; a glitter-gold curtain evoking the queer of flag-planting’ by Wu Tsang; and Thomas Hämén’s Asstral Traveler (we’ll leave some room for imagination).

Art Mapping Piemonte
Artists Zhang Enli, Oliver Mosset and Mario Ariò will create site-specific installations in the Piedmont region outside of Turin city, ranging from a sculptural work in the deconsecrated church of San Remigio to a fresco in the rural chapel of Montabone. The initiative was produced by Fondazione Torino Musei and curated by Bonacossa for Artissima.

Artissima is Italy’s most important contemporary art fair. Artissima is Italy’s long running and exciting contemporary art fair. The event focuses on providing a platform for experimental and innovative creativity. Many galleries participate every year.

More than 200 exhibitors are indeed expected at the show each edition. The artwork is divided into different curated parts offering something a little different. Firstly, there is the main section. Secondly, there is a part introducing new and young artists under 40 yearls old. Thirdly, a section presents solo shows for the period covering 1960 – 1990. Finally, a last section is devoted entirely to drawings. As a lively and inspirational event, Artissima attracts numbers of art lovers and professionals. It takes place in the autumn each year in Torino which holds as well.

Present Future is the section Artissima has devoted to emerging talents, less than 40 years old, selected by a board of young curators from around the world. The artists are presented by their representing galleries and the works include new productions as well as projects that are being displayed for the first time in Italy and Europe.

Back to the Future is the section that Artissima has devoted to great pioneers of contemporary art. The section – also open to Artists’ Estates – displays works realised between 1960 and 1999. The section aims to bring international artists who have played a fundamental role in contemporary art back into the limelight. For the general public, Back to the Future is a unique opportunity to get to know important works from those years in a dialogue with today’s experimentation.

Disegni is the section of Artissima devoted to the expressive medium of drawing. The section is intended to celebrate an artistic discipline capable of expressing the immediacy of and the thinking behind the creative gesture, existing in a space suspended between idea and finished work.

Since its establishment in 1994, it has combined the presence of an international market with a focus on experimentation and research. Artissima will present three exhibition projects in the museums of Fondazione Torino Musei (Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Palazzo Madama – Museo Civico d’Arte Antica and Museo d’Arte Orientale). 2020, a new format, extended throughout the city and online that brings together physical exhibitions and digital projects.

Tags: Italy