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Neon, Textile and Minimalism - What We Saw at Artissima 2016

November 7, 2016
Deeply invested in contemporary art, Widewalls magazine aims to provide a unique experience for its readers in form of in-depth and quality journalism.

Each year, Artissima is proving itself to be one of the most progressive contemporary art fairs in Europe. Curated by Sarah Cosulich for the fifth (and final) time, the event brought a vast, international array of exhibitors, enriched with special projects and curated exhibiting sections. Even though it is considered a small-scale art fair, Artissima excels above others in quality of the art presented, where established names stand along the most interesting young names of contemporary art production. The overall impression Artissima 2016 left is one of opulence, with 193 participating galleries showcasing their most valued artists, sometimes in a little overcrowded booths. In comparison to the last year’s edition of the favorite Torinese art event, this time the fair felt visually richer, demanding more meticulousness and attentiveness in viewing from both collectors and art enthusiast visitors, reportedly, about 50,000 people.

Dora García - The Sinthome Score, 2014. Performance. Courtesy The Artist And Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam. Photo Ellen De Bruijne
Dora García – The Sinthome Score, 2014. Performance. Courtesy The Artist And Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam. Photo Ellen De Bruijne

Circling the Artissima Oval

The central spot, as always, was given to the new rising stars in contemporary art presented within the Present Future section, the selection pool for the prestigious Premio Illy, which went to Cecile B. Evans this year. Further in the center, Back to the Future section highlighted 19 artist-dedicated booths, aiming to bring their individualistic approaches from the 70s and 80s back to the light. Spreading around with the Main and Dialogue section galleries, the Artissima space underlined the New Entries presence along the entrance wall. Some of the most interesting booths we were returning to multiple times belonged to the high-end galleries Lia Rumma and Franco Noero, but also to Raffaella Cortese, Primo Marella, but also to MA2 Gallery and Waldburger Wouters. Taking a break of all the visual information was possible within the Book Corner, or a more contemplative approach to art could be enjoyed within the In Mostra space. Per4rm, highlighted as one of the most unique segments of Artissima, welcomed seven curated performances this year, underlining the strong conceptual nature of the fair.

One general feeling that can be grasped only on the spot is that Artissima is not only a marketplace for art directed towards collectors – it’s also the place where art lovers, researchers and students can see the best examples of the late 20th and 21st art, and try to detect similarities, discrepancies and a thread among pieces in the contemporary creativity.

Walburger Wouters with Eli Cortinas and Lynn Hershman Leeson
Walburger Wouters with Eli Cortinas and Lynn Hershman Leeson

Artissima 2016 and Trends in Contemporary Art

Speaking of trends, an art fair might provide an insight into trends in collecting first of all, since the prime goal of the exhibitors at the fair is to find buyers, of course. Having said that, it was hard not to notice the strong presence of neon artworks across many booths, as well as a new tendencies in textile and fabric-based art. In terms of concept, it appears that globally political art dominates, but at Artissima, there were many pieces that come from individual observations, tackle universal topics, are based on in-depth research and contemplation, which might even be called escapist to a degree. The strongest political wall belonged to a gallery from Warsaw, BWA Warsawa, with a brave and deliberately out-of-place cheeky wall by Karol Radziszewski, calling out the latest nationalist and anti-gay discrimination occurrences that have been eating up Poland (and not only Poland). Video and digital art creations continue to attract a lot of attention at Artissima still, which is confirmed by the Cecile B. Evans’ award, even though her piece could rather be described as an immersive installation. Finally, Italian Minimalism representatives are always well represented at Artissima, which is only to be expected, with showcased works by Ettore Spalletti, Mimmo Paladino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Enrico Castellani, Fabio Mauri, Paolo Cotani and many other important names of the style.

BWA Warszawa - Karol Radziszewski
BWA Warszawa – Karol Radziszewski

Concluding Artissima – Tradition of Elegance in an Art Fair

To conclude the 2016 edition of the Italy’s most elegant art fair, we find that the quality of the presented art continuously serves as the guide for the curatorial groups and the director, Sarah Cosulich, while Artissima definitely becomes the place to be for serious collectors and all art lovers, who flock to Turin each November.

Scroll down to enjoy some of our impressions of Artissima 2016!

François Morellet - Triangle équilatéral, néons bleus interférents, 1973. Three blue argon pipes on wood, 78 x 90 cm. Courtesy François Morellet and Galerie Catherine Issert, SAINT PAUL DE VENCE
François Morellet – Triangle équilatéral, néons bleus interférents, 1973. Three blue argon pipes on wood, 78 x 90 cm. Courtesy François Morellet and Galerie Catherine Issert, SAINT PAUL DE VENCE
Left: Klaus Lutz - Bilderschrift nach Robert Walser "Frau Wilke", 1977. Copper engraving and drypoint, 33.9 x 23.9 cm. Courtesy Rotwand, Zurich / Right: Renate Bertlmann - Tender Pantomime, 1976. Black And White Photograph Laminated On Paper, 17 X 11 Cm. Copyright The Artist. Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
Left: Klaus Lutz – Bilderschrift nach Robert Walser “Frau Wilke”, 1977. Copper engraving and drypoint, 33.9 x 23.9 cm. Courtesy Rotwand, Zurich / Right: Renate Bertlmann – Tender Pantomime, 1976. Black And White Photograph Laminated On Paper, 17 X 11 Cm. Copyright The Artist. Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
Kelly Schacht at Meessen de Clercq, Present Future
Kelly Schacht at Meessen de Clercq, Present Future
Nazgol Ansarinia with Raffaella Cortese Milano + Green Art Dubai
Nazgol Ansarinia with Raffaella Cortese Milano + Green Art Dubai
Eric van Hove with VOICE Gallery Marrakech
Eric van Hove with VOICE Gallery Marrakech
Cécile B. Evans - What the Heart Wants, 2016. Photocredit Sebastiano Pellion di Persan, courtesy Barbara Seiler Galerie
Cécile B. Evans – What the Heart Wants, 2016. Photocredit Sebastiano Pellion di Persan, courtesy Barbara Seiler Galerie
Alfredo Jaar - Vogliamo Tutto, 2016. Red neon mounted directly on the wall, 101,6 x 101,6 cm, 40 x 40 in. Courtesy Galleria Lia Rumma
Alfredo Jaar – Vogliamo Tutto, 2016. Red neon mounted directly on the wall, 101,6 x 101,6 cm, 40 x 40 in. Courtesy Galleria Lia Rumma
David Horvitz - Whenever I take a shower I always wonder when the water was a cloud, 2016. Neon, 275 3/5 × 216 1/2 in, 700 × 550 cm. Courtesy ChertLüdde
David Horvitz – Whenever I take a shower I always wonder when the water was a cloud, 2016. Neon, 275 3/5 × 216 1/2 in, 700 × 550 cm. Courtesy ChertLüdde
Joseph Kosuth - Zero & Not #14 (Freud series), 1987. Neon mounted directly on the wall, 4 7/10 × 118 1/10 in, 12 × 300 cm. Courtesy Vistamare
Joseph Kosuth – Zero & Not #14 (Freud series), 1987. Neon mounted directly on the wall, 4 7/10 × 118 1/10 in, 12 × 300 cm. Courtesy Vistamare
Piotr Kowalski - Perspective, 1970. Photography on canvas with blue neon, 130 x 195 cm. Courtesy Galerie Eva Meyer
Piotr Kowalski – Perspective, 1970. Photography on canvas with blue neon, 130 x 195 cm. Courtesy Galerie Eva Meyer
Martin Creed - Work no.281 Shit, 2002. Neon, 15 x 20 cm. Edition of 3. Courtesy Alberto Peola
Martin Creed – Work no.281 Shit, 2002. Neon, 15 x 20 cm. Edition of 3. Courtesy Alberto Peola
Pier Paolo Calzolari - Veloce galoppa verde cipolla, 1970. Virginia tobacco leaf, white cold fluorescent tube, transformer, dimmer box. Variable dimensions, about 28 x 85 cm. Courtesy Repetto
Pier Paolo Calzolari – Veloce galoppa verde cipolla, 1970. Virginia tobacco leaf, white cold fluorescent tube, transformer, dimmer box. Variable dimensions, about 28 x 85 cm. Courtesy Repetto
Shezad Dawood - Elliptical Variations II, 2014. Wall-mounted neon, 160 x 400 cm. Courtesy Galerie Gabriel Rolt
Shezad Dawood – Elliptical Variations II, 2014. Wall-mounted neon, 160 x 400 cm. Courtesy Galerie Gabriel Rolt
Runo Lagomarsino - Mare Nostrum, 2016. Neon sign, 26,5 x 250 cm. Courtesy Francesca Minini
Runo Lagomarsino – Mare Nostrum, 2016. Neon sign, 26,5 x 250 cm. Courtesy Francesca Minini
Premio illy Cecile B Evans Artissima 2016
Premio illy Cecile B Evans Artissima 2016
Premio illy Cecile B Evans Artissima 2016
Premio illy Cecile B Evans Artissima 2016
Oscar Murillo - Untitled, 2015/16 with Isabella Bortolozzi
Oscar Murillo – Untitled, 2015/16 with Isabella Bortolozzi
Left: Kiki Smith with Galleria Lorcan O'Neill Roma / Right: Caroline Achaintre - Brutus, 2016 with Monica de Cardenas
Left: Kiki Smith with Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma / Right: Caroline Achaintre – Brutus, 2016 with Monica de Cardenas
Left: Abdulaye Konate with Primo Marella / Right: Emilie Ding with Samy Abraham
Left: Abdulaye Konate with Primo Marella / Right: Emilie Ding with Samy Abraham
Left: Paolo Cotani with Mazzoleni / Right: Tulio Pinto with Baro
Left: Paolo Cotani with Mazzoleni / Right: Tulio Pinto with Baro
Romina de Novellis with Alberta Pane
Romina de Novellis with Alberta Pane
Simon Callery - Wallspine, 2015 with Fold Gallery
Simon Callery – Wallspine, 2015 with Fold Gallery
F. Marquespenteado with Mendes Wood DM
F. Marquespenteado with Mendes Wood DM
Igshaan Adams with Blank Gallery
Igshaan Adams with Blank Gallery
Boris Mikhailov - Superimposition #138 with Guido Costa Projects
Boris Mikhailov – Superimposition #138 with Guido Costa Projects
Hassan Sharif - Slippers, 2016 with Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
Hassan Sharif – Slippers, 2016 with Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

All images Widewalls and Artissima