The twenty-ninth edition of Artissima, Italy’s most experimental contemporary art fair, is opening its doors from 4 to 6 November, hosting inside Turin’s Oval 174 Italian and foreign galleries from all over the world. 42 of these are participating in the fair for the first time, testifying to the fair's appeal and ability to be a catalyst for market investment and artistic interchange.
The 2022 edition undoubtedly marks a turning point. First of all, the seven sections that make up the fair are returning to full physical presence and will boast many monographic stands – not only the four most established ones, then - Main Section, New Entries, Monologue/Dialogue and Art Spaces & Editions – but also three sections curated by leading figures on the international scene – Drawings, Present Future and Back to the Future (curated respectively by Anna Gritz and Balthazar Lovay, Sam Demircan and Maurin Dietrich and Irina Zucca Alessandrelli), which, last year, were held online, on a dedicated cross-media platform.
Secondly, it should be emphasised that this year Artissima has a new director, too. After five years, Ilaria Bonacossa – now director of the National Museum of Digital Art in Milan – has been replaced by Luigi Fassi, previously director of the MAN Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro, and of the 2016 edition of the “Curated_by Festival” in Vienna.
As Fassi told Domus, “the priority, after two years that were very important for the fair, albeit marked by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, was to re-launch the strength of the fair’s national and international network, furthering the scouting and discovery identity that has made it a much sought-after international brand for galleries, particularly the younger ones. For Artissima, 2022 has been a year of travel, research and wide-ranging contacts on a global level, from Europe to America, from Africa to Asia”. This statement suggests that, after two challenging years for cultural events, the contemporary art world is ready to find new points of connection.
These transformative experiences are precisely the main inspiration of this year’s edition, explains the director: “The American contemporary philosopher Laurie Anne Paul, in her book Transformative Experience (2014), argues that the transformative experiences are the experiences that we cannot in any way rationally anticipate or predict.” The philosopher will give a lecture on 5 November at the fair, “a novel case for an international contemporary art fair,” emphasises the curator.
In the wake of this transformation, an onlife approach is adopted within the fair’s venue, where the digital media plays the role of “cultural mediator”, accompanying visitors through the Artissima Voice Over platform, a new project in collaboration with Lauretana consisting of digital audio guides accessible via smartphone. It is “as if Artissima were a museum whose works, stories and paths can be discovered,” suggests Fassi. Another major addition is the A Sud project, created to explore and support some of Artissima’s historical cultural specificities linked to the south of the country and in which the Fondazione Merz/Zac Centrale, the Fondazione Oelle and the Fondazione Paul Thorel are participating.
Also worth mentioning, among the collaborations with numerous partners, is the fair’s focus on young artists through JaguArt, Jaguar’s award, as well as the collaboration with Juventus, which this year invited artist Giovanni Ozzola for the usual project for young visitors to the fair. Thanks to the dialogue with the Fondazione Torino Musei, as well as with the Main Partner Intesa Sanpaolo and with the partners Gruppo UNA and illycaffè, with the now historical illy Present Future Award, the fair expands in the city with three “by-invitation-only” projects and an exhibition.
In addition to a very rich selection of works at the fair, in fact, the city offers a full agenda of stimulating events. “Over the years, the relationship between Turin and contemporary art has grown on several levels, from the construction of large collections of Italian and international art in the public and private spheres to the nurturing of independent spaces and the incubation of young artists. The city has developed an operational porosity that produces a virtuous and continuous interchange between Artissima, the city’s institutions and galleries, and internationally renowned public art projects such as Luci d’artista” Fassi says.