ARTEFIERA, the annual international exhibition of contemporary and modern art is happening this weekend in Bologna, January 24-27, 2014.
The fair has gotten smaller in recent years, surely due to the continuing economic status also affecting the art world. Although there is a section of under-30 artists, the air seems less experimental (in both theme and media) and even tends back toward painting which had somewhat fallen out of popularity for a while. The size of the fair is not as over-whelming as it had been in the past. I wasn’t able to attend any of the off-site initiatives such where it is more likely to find younger, more risk-taking art and exciting events around town.
Many of the artists are repeated year after year, especially if they are big sellers. The commercial galleries must make the fair worth their while, so you can’t blame them, but I was less surprised and delighted than I had been other years. Going to this fair and others similar are still a good way to see what the contemporary art trends are on an international level. Most of the galleries that participate in this fair are Italian, which make the other nations stand out.
I went to take a look around and noted some of my favorite picks for this edition. Photographs by Silvia Camporesi are already appealing as images, making the poetics of space apparent, but she also selectively intervenes by slicing and folding some of her images, cleverly creating forms within the space.
Another artist photographing the beautiful degradation of interior space is Fabiano Parisi. Not unlike US photographer Matt Lambros, Parisi is documenting abandoned theaters damaged beyond repair, saying something about where our entertainment and cultural priorities have degraded, capturing a sadness in what was once their pride, now halted in time, a memory of the past.
Dezider Tóth, an artist from Slovakia, was a discovery for me. Attracted to his painted books arranged as abstract floor plans, I was drawn into a monograph showing some of his work since the 1960s. Clever and witty, Tóth’s concepts and methods of working are Fluxus in vein and tangibly conceptual.
Laura Bisotti is one of the under-30 artists exhibited. Her installation of tiny folded boxes made from engravings delicately grew around the corner of the stand defining its own space. Luca Pignatelli‘s images were instead large and bold sort of memory boxes with Greed and Roman statues evoking myth and archaeology. Pignatelli’s work reflects his architectural training.
Jefferson Hayman is a photographer who works with intimate memories and objects with moments of nostalgia. His collections and compositions of parts are like an anthology of images. I especially like his Minitaure Works. Albano Morandi uses small remnants and extractions to form compositions. The first of his works pictured below was at the fair, while the others I found online, but appreciate their jewel-like qualities.
Anne & Patrik Poirier is a duo who created a work that caught my eye — a grid of pin-mounted wax pages with delicate scrawls, text and drawings imbedded into the surface. Although the piece was from 1973, it still retained a contemporary reading. Not even trying to collect artists that use stick pins, I found 2 others. Elisabetta di Maggio is an artist I have mentioned before. Her delicate ribbon-like pins map paths and direction in a simple, but elegant way.
Michael Gambino does some amazing colorful world maps made from cut paper butterflies, pinned onto a surface. My favorite of his, however, was a book exploding with butterflies cut from maps — a sort of pop-up book gone mad.