The Artsy Guide to Artissima 2014: Present, Past, and Future Under One Roof

Turin’s international art fair, Artissima, kicks off in November with close to 200 exhibitors assembling in the city’s former Olympic facility for three days of contemporary art, presented in a variety of inventive formats. Last year’s fair saw some 50,000 visitors pass through its booths, and was ranked 5th among Skate’s Art Market Research list of 30 top international art fairs. The fair aims to function as a “window onto the most experimental frontier of the visual arts,” and with sections featuring the latest contemporary art, flashbacks to some of the greats of the 20th century, multiple performances per day, and an off-site exhibit spearheaded by Maurizio Cattelan (to name just a few highlights), this year’s edition holds promise for success.

When? Where? How?

For its 21st edition, Artissima will run Nov. 7th – 9th, open daily 12-8 p.m. at the Oval in Turin, Italy. Originally constructed for the XX Olympic Winter Games in 2006, the Oval is a 20,000 square-meter pavilion, hosting Artissima for the fifth year running. Tickets are available online as one-day passes priced at €15 (€10 for visitors ages 12-18 and 65+) and three-day passes are priced at €30. 

Six individual sections to explore within the fair

Artissima offers a wide array of content, divided into six sections, each with a unique theme and set of curators. With 194 galleries participating overall, three sections—Main Section, New Entries, Art Editions—feature galleries chosen by the fair’s selection committee, while the remaining three—Present Future, Back to the Future, Per4m—have been specially curated by a group of museum directors and curators. A full list of exhibitors is available on the fair’s site. 

Main Section: Browse the booths of 124 galleries, representing 27 countries worldwide, with 42 from within Italy itself. Be on the look out for Lia Rumma, Continua, Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea, Lorcan O’Neill, Christine König, Tucci Russo, Brand New Gallery, Hannah Barry, and MONITOR (which features a new selection of works by Thomas Braida, among others).

New Entries: Young and up-and-coming galleries, all of which have been in business for less than five years, make their Artissima debut in this section; included are Rod Barton, massimodeluca, Elika, Neumeister Bar-Am, Last Resort. Of the 19 featured, one outstanding gallery will be chosen to receive the Guido Carbone Prize of €5000 for their promotion of young artists; last year’s prize went to Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris. 

Art Editions: First introduced in 2012, this section is dedicated to presenting editioned works, prints, and multiples to the international market; of the six participating galleries, five are native to Italy, namely Editalia (Rome), L’Arengario S.B. (Gussago), G. Marrei – G. Galimberti (Turin), Danilo Montanari Editore (Ravenna), and Sudest57 (Milan). Alex Daniels – Reflex from Amsterdam will also be present.

Present Future: Now in its 14th year, Present Future offers a selection of 20 young artists organized by a group of young curators—including Luigi Fassi (the section coordinator), Catalina Lozano, Piper Marshall, Jamie Stevens, and Xiaoyu  Weng—and acts as a high-exposure platform for emerging artists to gain international recognition. Each artist will present a site-specific project; the list includes Alex Da Corte at Joe Sheftel, Anne Imhof at Deborah Schamoni, and Karthik Pandian at Federica Schiavo, among others. A jury will present one participating artist with the illy Present Future Prize, giving the artist the opportunity to feature in an exhibition produced in the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art. Last year’s winners were Caroline Achaintre and Fatma Bucak. 

Back to the Future: A curatorial committee consisting of João Fernandes, Douglas Fogle, Beatrix Ruf, and Jochen Volz, coordinated by Eva Fabbris, has selected an assortment of “historical” works produced between the years of 1960 and 1989. This section allows visitors, artists, collectors, and curators alike to rediscover the past work of artists who influenced contemporary art as we know it to be today. Highlights include: Tetsumi Kudo at Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paulo Bruscky at Galeria Nara Roesler, and Vera Molnar at ONIRIS - Florent Paumelle. One gallery’s presentation will be awarded the Sardi per l’Arte Back to the Future Prize of €5000. 

Per4m: A brand new addition to Artissima, Per4m will showcase performance art through presentations from 16 galleries with artists chosen by Simone Menegoi, Tobi Maier, and Natalia Sielewicz. Highlights include Cally Spooner at MOT International, Kate Steciw and Rachel de Joode at Neumeister Bar-Am, Tobias Kaspar at Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Marcello Maloberti at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, and Nico Vascellari at MONITOR. The dedicated booth will be home to four performances per day. Along with this section comes the introduction of a new prize, the Prix K-Way Per4m, worth €10,000, to be presented to the top performance artist selected by a jury.

“One Torino: Shit and Die”

Initiated last year, Artissima presents “One Torino,” an external exhibition that draws works, objects, and inspiration from museums and collections around the historic city. Maurizio Cattelan leads the charge, along with Myriam Ben Salah of the Palais de Tokyo and independent curator Marta Papini, curating an exhibition inspired by Turin, to be shown in the Palazzo Cavour (which, it must be noted, played a significant role in Turin and Italy’s political and cultural history). The fair promises a “highly subjective, obsessive and irrationally non-exhaustive composition.”

Enhance your fair experience with Walkie Talkies 

Take a tour of Artissima in an informal, discussion-style “walkie talkie,” each led by two international curators. Eight total meetings will occur throughout the duration of the fair, with 16 curators offering their personal insights on works and artists seen in the various booths. The Walkie Talkies schedule is as follows:

Friday, Nov. 7th: 

3:30 p.m. Marina Fokidis + Chris Sharp 

4:30 p.m. Daniel Baumann + Bettina Steinbrügge 

Saturday Nov. 8th: 

3:30 p.m. Douglas Fogle + Polly Staple

4:30 p.m. Caroline Corbetta + Luca Lo Pinto

5:30 p.m. Adam Budak + Barbara Casavecchia  

Sunday Nov. 9th 

3:30 p.m. Jamie Stevens + Amira Gad

4:30 p.m. Cecilia Canziani + Lisa Mazza

5:30 p.m. Eva Fabbris + Francesco Garutti

Explore Turin during Contemporary Arts Night

Coinciding with Artissima is Contemporary Arts Night, on Saturday Nov. 8th, with events from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Galleries, museums, and “unusual spaces” around the city will be open late, bringing the city to life as Italy’s biggest contemporary art scene. A full list of the evening’s programming can be found online. 

Explore Artissima 2014 on Artsy.

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