Corridor Fuxia 9
Corridor Yellow 11
Present Future PF 6
Present Future PF 3
Back To The Future BTTF 7
Disegni DS 3
Good morning! Welcome to Artissima 2023. This is the AudioGuide project and you are listening to route number 2, entitled The Space of Relations The theme chosen by Luigi Fassi for this 30th edition of Artissima is Relations of Care. On this route we pass through a selection of six galleries. The research of the artists we are going to meet gives space to the connections between human beings and ecosystems. Works that speak of lived experience through techniques that are very different from one another. The route unfolds itself, starting from more intimate practices, gradually opening up towards something other than the self. We will encounter dreamlike themes, metaphysical self-portraits, but also languages mediated by artificial intelligence, post human theories undermining anthropocentrism, feminist militancy manifestos and events of territorial re-appropriation. Works that ask us to take a position, to put ourselves in relation, in dialogue with new possibilities and visions. All these connections respond heterogeneously to the theme of this Artissima 2023. They speak to us in a particular way about the contemporary world we live in, within a context that promotes a multiplicity of visions. The AudioGuides were developed for Artissima by the advisors of Arteco. This route was curated by Valentina Roselli. We are ready to go. The first stage will be The Address Gallery on the fuxia corridor at number 9, where we will start our tour. Press play once you are there.
The first stage on our journey takes us to the Monologue/Dialogue section at the Brescian gallery The Address. Here we encounter the work of artist Giuliana Rosso, who recently won the Cairo Prize with her work “Stiamo bene negli acquitrini” (We are fine in the swamps), and is currently part of the large group exhibition “Pittura italiana oggi” (Italian painting today) at the Milan Triennale. The stand at the fair is curated by Treti Galaxie, which has been following the artist since her beginnings. Trained at the Accademia Albertina in Turin, Giuliana Rosso is a painter who uses chalk, charcoal, dusting paper and papier-mâché to explore the intersection between drawing and sculpture. We often find veils of charcoal and chalk that achieve a quality on a par with painting, an ambiguous and mysterious aspect that amplifies the meaning of the work. In Giuliana Rosso's works we sense the restlessness and indeterminacy of adolescence, of unlived periods of life or misplaced feelings, between the urgency and gloom of a world in suspension. She does not attribute a nostalgic meaning to the theme of adolescence, but instead, focuses on the fragility of uncertainty that this phase of life brings. The subjects always appear portrayed in transient situations. They are dream worlds but never abstract ones, the subjects are figurative with an expressionist matrix and reflect a state of disorientation. Her works invade the exhibition space, also celebrating the fragility of human beings in their interaction with other species; environmental works, always on the borderline between gravity and lightness. The sense of relationship is also embodied by the chosen structure, in this case the corner: which is indeed the limit of a room but is also a place of birth and encounter, of shadow and reverie. Space is transformed into a scenario in which enigmatic events materialise; everything allows for a more direct and profound communication with the beholder, freeing perception from the logic of cause and effect. We have finished our first stage. Pause your player and head for the Ciaccia Levi Gallery on the yellow corridor at number 11. Press play once you are there.
The second stage takes us to the Ciaccia Levi Gallery, founded in Paris in 2013 with a transgenerational slant. The artist we are going to meet has intrigued the gallery owners even before the gallery opened, because of the profound knowledge of art history that shines through in his works. We are talking about Francesco Gennari, who, just a step away from graduating in Law, abandoned his studies to devote himself assiduously to the in-depth study of certain branches of philosophy, in particular Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, which would influence the development of his work as a self-taught artist. In 1995, he wrote on a blank sheet of paper, “I am Francesco Gennari”, thus beginning an artistic journey dedicated to the concept of “identity” and self-definition. The driving force behind Gennari's entire research lies in his desire to assert himself through a constellation of self-portraits in which drama and irony coexist. The artist has no fixed rules, oscillating harmoniously, ambiguously and contradictorily between various plastic approaches with great agility in experimenting with new languages. All of Gennari's works start from an idea in which every human being can recognise himself or herself He then looks for the material and the form to make this idea physical. Due to his stark style, he is often considered minimalist, but once the emotional code of his works is deciphered, this cold definition starts to get slippery. Here we have the opportunity to get to know him through works that speak to us about relationships in very different ways: the first are two floor sculptures entitled “However we go great together”: pairs of pastel-coloured glazed ceramic tubes. With these sculptures, he speaks to us of two moods, two tones, two people, two subjects, linked only by the idea of being a good couple together. On the wall, instead, we find a recent work entitled “Self-portrait in a sadistic relationship with the Sun”, the dark and enigmatic tones are in perfect coherence with the strong autobiographical dimension so typical of his works. During these days it is possible to discover another sculpture by Francesco Gennari at Palazzo Perrone di San Martino, headquarters of the Fondazione CRT, for the project Dove finiscono le tracce (Where the traced end up) curated by Luigi Fassi, a project spread out in five historical venues that gives space to the subjectivity of the artists as well as to the cultural history of the territory. This is where our second stage ends. Pause your player and head for the Esther Shipper Gallery in the Present Future section, on the side of the black corridor, at number 10. Press play once you are there.
The third leg of our journey takes us to the Present Future section, at the Esther Schipper Gallery, founded in Berlin in 1990, which stands out for its innovative research. Cemile Sahin, the young artist we are going to meet, just this year was proclaimed winner of the Circa Prize 2023, in a ceremony held live at London's Piccadilly Lights, an award that supports the next generation of creative talent at a worldwide level. She won with a film that tells the story of a Kurdish family divided between Paris and Istanbul: how their lives were affected by the construction of a dam that destroyed communities in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. Cemile Sahin is also a talented writer. The word is one of the cornerstones of her work. Her unconventional stories always draw from her fragmented roots, bringing to the surface the contrasts of a young, second-generation Kurdish Alevi woman growing up in Germany. She challenges conventions by addressing issues of identity, migration, memory and human perception. The project developed for Artissima is unsettling, hardly leaving one indifferent. It is entitled Simple Things and deploys different media. It is mainly based on research into the classifications applied to outlaws. The artist's focus is on the ways in which crime is glorified on certain social pages, elevating criminals to inspirational figures. Starting from this investigation, the artist decides to relate to artificial intelligence, feeding it a series of information such as: a fleeing thief, a police chase and so on. The images we find along the panels of the stand artificially elaborate according to her instructions. Positioned in the corner between the two walls is a screen showing videos captured by security cameras: real images always related to crime, accompanied by quotes from famous films such as The Godfather and Scarface. Finally, the very recent heart-shaped works reveal images of noisy cars, once again created by artificial intelligence, but showing the limits of decoding. Apparently, they look like photographic details but on closer inspection, one can detect errors, for example, the steering wheel buttons look like hieroglyphic symbols. The phrase around it winks at the language of social media, which the more immediate, effective and incisive it is, the better chance it has of achieving widespread success. Simple and evocative sentences; hence the title of the work: Simple Things. Sahin in her research starts from the relationship with her own origins and its biopolitical contrasts to arrive at the uncomfortable contemporary visual codes, open to multiple interpretations. The artist's next step will be on the future of surveillance mechanisms. We have finished our fourth stage. Pause your player and head for the VON&VON Gallery, also on the Pink B corridor, at number 3. Press play once you are there.
The fourth stage of our journey continues on Present Future, at the VON&VON Gallery with headquarters in the centre of Nuremberg. The artist we are going to meet is Sophia Mainka, born in Munich in 1990, currently in residence at the Cité International des Arts in Paris. Her practice moves across different media, from drawing to sculpture and video, which she usually combines in large installations. Sophia Mainka alters everyday objects in an unceasing stream of new interpretations. Her practice fosters new forms of understanding reality, enabling inter-species coexistence in a seemingly post-human era. In this artist's research, materiality and design resonate both as an analysis of a bourgeois aesthetic and as a sculptural exploration. The boundary between interior and public space becomes an investigation of political, social, identity processes. Her sculptures recall familiar objects, but deny their very function. Referring to Rosi Braidotti's research on the Anthropocene, the artist elaborates an intriguing and provocative compendium of works entitled Habit Loss and Trophées. The effort lies in dissolving the dualism between the human being and the environment, from a post-anthropocentric perspective. The human being is understood as a biological species within a global community. In “Habit Loss 1”, the lion-like sculpture becomes a fantasy creature with ceramic paws. One encounters a domesticated, or humanised, nature. In “Habit Loss 2”, a family is seen preparing to eat snails; they are bought in tins, then put back into the shells to be prepared and eaten. The winged objects attached to the outside also transform the sculpture into a living creature. In both cases, the floral motif refers to nature as a mere interior decorative element. On the wall is a series of five “Trophées”. The artist thus addresses the theme of the trophy and the relationship between human beings and the animal world in the context of hunting, an act of domination that belongs to a masculine and muscular dimension. Hence, the search for a purely feminine counterpart is configured in the act of sewing. While hunting takes us to the idea of strength and speed, sewing speaks to us of quality and attention to detail. We see elements of real leather, therefore of animal origin, accompanied by the floral and natural ornaments typical of the textile tradition. By creating an ambivalent mix, the artist marks an attempt, on the one hand, to reflect on different gendered approaches, and on the other, to highlight a subjugated nature, which lands, tamed, in the home. The artist questions the meaning of the trophy nowadays. Is this still the idea of value we seek in the post-anthropocentric era? What could a trophy celebrating empathy in society look like then? We have finished our fourth stage. Pause your player and head for the CertLüdde Gallery, in the Back to the Future section at number 7. Press play once you are there.
The fifth stage on our journey takes us to the Back to the Future section at the ChertLüdde Gallery, a landmark in the contemporary art scene in Berlin and beyond. The artist we focus on is Clemen Parrocchetti, celebrated by the gallery itself with the first exhibition outside Italy after her death in 2016. Clemen Parrocchetti was born in 1923 in Milan and trained at the Brera Academy when she was already the mother of five children. Starting in the early 1970s, Parrocchetti expressed her nascent feminist voice in works that she called “objects of female culture” and exhibited them in alternative art spaces in Milan. The decision to attend the Academy, heralded in the pages of her diaries, is described above all as an inner necessity, almost a gesture of defiance towards what her noble social background imposed on her. Parrocchetti finds her visual grammar in the materials of domestic work - needles, bobbins, lace, kitchen utensils, medicines, textiles - which she transforms into subversive instruments of denunciation and protest. Parrocchetti's work is about women's struggles for equal pay, divorce laws and the right to abortion, issues that remain at the centre of political debate after almost half a century. In 1978 she joined the Varese-based Gruppo Immagine, pioneers of the combination of art and feminist militancy, with which she participated in the 1978 Venice Biennale. The group disbanded in the mid-1980s but Parrocchetti pursued a feminist ethos for over fifty years. We find in her works a renunciation of the conventional frame, criticising and challenging the subjugation and objectification of women within the confines of domestic life. The title of each work, which still resonates today, is a slogan of protest: Liberation, Tortured and repressed, Out of the ghetto surrounded, Re-emerging, My anger my strength. Works from the 1970s imbued with Handmade Militancy, translated by the title of the exhibition in Berlin of the same name dedicated to her this year, curated by Sofia Gotti and Caterina Iaquinta. Resonating with the artist of the previous stage, we note a reconsideration of the relationship between art and textiles in women's artistic activity as a major theme: this practice, having been minimally affected by the patriarchal artistic tradition, is capable of redeeming an autonomous and powerful relationship between art and women's art-making. We have finished our fourth stage. Pause your player and head for the KOW Gallery in the Disegni section at number 3. Press play once you are there.
Here we are at the last stage of our journey. We are in the Disegni section, the only one among Italian art fairs dedicated to this medium. Drawing is a phase of the artistic process that is as authentic as it is delicate, perhaps the one freest from filters. We focus on the project of the KOW Gallery of Berlin. The name of the collective represented is CATPC, established at Lusanga in Congo in 2014. The acronym stands for Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (Congolese Plantation Workers Art League). This collective can be said to have invented an economic and ecological model. In fact, through the sale of their artworks, the members of the collective, composed not only of artists, contribute to the purchase of land confiscated by Unilever, a colossus created in 1930 by the merger of two food producers, who based their wealth on slavery and appropriation of land still claimed by local communities. The collective thus paves the way for a post-plantation era. Over a period of nine years, one hundred and twenty hectares of exhausted soil have been recovered and recultivated to provide sustenance for the Lusanga community, thus regenerating the surrounding ecosystem. These never-before-seen drawings were created by three members of the group. Three different styles that become an expression and denunciation of the disasters of colonialism. Although the graphic signs evoke violence and pain, the entire project gives us hope, with heartfelt and spiritual depth of expression. The collective's aim, besides the re-appropriation of their land, is geared towards activating more equitable relationships between art, economy and ecology. Since its founding in 2014, CATPC has worked tirelessly to create various works of art, including clay sculptures that are scanned and 3D printed in Europe, using materials such as chocolate, palm oil or sugar, which come right from the extractive plantation economy, thus generating a flow of restitution. In 2017, the Dutch artist Renzo Martens, together with the collective, commissioned Rem Koolhaas' architecture firm to build White Cube, an art space that took the place of the Unilever palm oil plantation. White Cube now attracts capital with art, and marks a new era, in which both colonial relations and the mechanisms of the art world are explored, understood and changed. In 2024, the collective will be featured in the Rietveld Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and will be able to express truths that deserve to be shared, in the hope of contributing to the discourse on colonialism in the art world. We have finished our fifth and final stage. We hope that this route has stimulated and intrigued you. If you’d like another perspective on the art fair, go back to the info point or the AudioGuides landing page and select another podcast! See you soon and enjoy Artissima!