ARTEFIERA, the annual international exhibition of contemporary and modern art is happened this past weekend in Bologna, January 23-26, 2015.
I’ve been going to the fair for a few years and it remains fairly constant with many of the gallerys’ major players repeating from past fairs – even some of the same exact pieces. Its nice that the galleries are faithful to their artists, but there seems to be a lack in fresh new risk takers in this age of continuing financial crisis in Italy.
The fair in general features Italian galleries with few international ones making the investment to participate. Visiting this fair is similar to other commercial art fairs around the world, but fairly basic in its presentation as far as booths go; the spaces and installations of the artwork themselves does not have much wow-factor. Although I would say, it is important for the work to speak for itself, never the less, the goal it is impress to sell. Perhaps it is better to not to rely on flashy presentation tactics, but there needs to be some break in the white box monotony of the typical fair pavilion.
In any case, I still think even a quick 2-hour run through of the fair is helpful to see what the local art market trends are and to find a few piece here and there to inspire some creative juices to flow. And if you have time, seek out some of the related events happening around town. Here are the pieces I noted this year at Artefiera.
There were a couple of large scale color photographs by architectural photographer Camilla Borghese which I found rich in composition and tone. I looked for similar images on her website, but found mostly commercial documentary photography, but I’d like to see more abstracted images like the ones above.
Continuing on monolithic imagery, I found the gold-leafed photograph above by Giovanni Sesia quite poetic and painterly. To the right, above is a photographic collage printed on old book pages by Nicolò Quirico. I’ve seen a lot of collages using old paper to build an image, but this was a little different, at least technically, with the photograph being printed in fragments directly onto the old paper and reconstructed into a surprisingly accurate photographic image with the added layer of text, giving some additional visual texture.
In the wall composition above, Enrico Tealdi has obscured old images in black frames and partially scratched away to reveal the images in a delicate way, evoking the passing of time and memory, along with a curious almost voyeuristic visual limitation of the images.
In another composition of several pieces, by Francesco Bocchini, I am attracted to the slightly childish approach to concealing and revealing of images. I was first introduced to his playful, vintage toy-like constructions at the 2012 Artefiera. Below is an enlargement of one of the 2D pieces.
In the pieces above and below, I failed to document the artist’s name with certainty (Arcangelo?). This happens sometimes when the galleries don’t properly label the works. I liked the objectness to these pieces, along with the tactile surfaces. The addition of sound I found a nice touch but not necessary to enjoy the pieces themselves.
Are you noticing an aesthetic trend here? I seem to be attracted to pieces with a light palette with some traces of contrasting visual information, symbolic drawings and notes of references, as seen in this piece by Mirko Baricchi.
Above, Antonello Viola uses simple layers of paint and gold leaf on glass to create a stack of semi-transparent “pages” of information being restricted to a square. Both the layers of pigment and the glass being gently supported on the wall give a sense of fragility.
I’ve included Georges Rousse in my favorites before. These photographic images document a clever visual trick in which the artist paints surfaces in architectural spaces in order to create the illusion of a form painted on the photograph, floating within the space, but the shape is actually painted on the real surfaces and visually constructed only when seen from one specific vantage point. Think Gordon Matta Clark deconstructions with paint instead of cut-outs.