Seven Under Forty: Artissima’s Artists to Watch

Francesca Gavin
Oct 29, 2014 3:16PM

Turin, the city that gave us the perfect combination of hazelnuts and chocolate, is a serious foodie destination. Luckily Artissima is an even better reason to visit this stunning Northern Italian city. The fair is one of the best in Europe to catch very smart, emerging artists who are seriously rethinking approaches to art. These are some of the best artists at this year’s fair—grab fast.

Kate Steciw

Steciw is an artist based in Brooklyn with an interest in the language and tangibility of the internet that is a perfect reflection of the now. Showing at Artissima with Berlin gallery Neumeister Bar-Am, her mixed media objects fuse the slickness of the consumer world with a haphazard hyper-pop post-internet freedom. At the heart of her work is an awareness of the image itself—something that reflects her MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Yorgos Sapountzis 

Former Deste prize winner YorgosSapountzis beautifully balances his native Greek art historical references—from icon paintings to Athenian public monuments—with a sharp awareness of the contemporary. Creating work both indoors and in public spaces, Sapountzis employs performance and poetic elements in his often colourful and chaotic installations. Currently based in Berlin, he has shown at the Arnolfini in Bristol and shows at the Centre Pompidou and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, just north of Copenhagen.

Vladimir Houdek 

Houdek has not shown much outside of his native Prague but this Czech is worth discovering fast. His work is an amalgam of painting and collage, oil and paper, often in a murky grey palette that feels refreshingly historical and off-modern. His work veers from modernist-infused abstract shapes (which also appear in his film pieces) to more surrealist figurative images. The result is a young artist with a firm grip on his own visual language. 

Travess Smalley 

Cooper Union alumni Travess Smalley has a reading list on his website which includes texts by William Gibson, Hito Steyerl, Bridget Riley and Bruno Munari—a perfect way to contextualize this young gun’s approach to abstraction. Moving on from his early digital psychedelica, his current works are a sophisticated take on abstract works on paper, often made using using web browsers and scanners in a process of layering, rescanning, and digital accident.

Nico Vascellari

Italian artist and musician Nico Vascellari creates art with a strong base in performance. Not surprisingly, Marina Abramović is a fan and has included him in curated projects in the past. Vascellari’s work often has a darker vein of reference—a sense of ritualistic rebellion that has visceral, and often sculptural, results. He is performing a new work at Artissima inspired by Tarkovsky’s 1983 film Nostalghia.

Peles Empire

Peles Empire is a collaborative project from London-based artists Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff. Taking their name and much of their source material from a Romanian castle (the reproduced graphic image of the castle appears frequently in their work), the pair often use their own work as a setting for curatorial projects. History, reproduction, pattern, reality, and the inconsistency of space all play into these experimental artists’ inventive practice.

Anne Imhof 

Anne Imhof has done well since graduating from Frankfurt’s Städelschule in 2012,showing last year at the city’s highly respected Portikus space. Much of her work aims to unravel and reinvent the documentation of performance through installation, drawing, sound, and film. Her etchings and 2D works—which are made with materials such as ink, charcoal, pencil and blood on paper—brim with energy and movement.

Francesca Gavin
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019