Artissima 2023. Photo Credits Perottino, Piva, Peirone


The Stage of Contemporary Art in Turin

In the heart of the lively city of Turin, the contemporary artistic scene recently came alive with an  extraordinary celebration dedicated to art, innovation and creativity. Artissima, one of the most prestigious and influential art events in Europe, has opened its doors  for the 2023 edition, giving visitors a unique and engaging experience within the vast and varied  world of contemporary art. 
The energetic atmosphere that permeated the air of Turin during the days of the fair was an  irresistible attraction for art enthusiasts, collectors, critics and curators from every corner of the  globe. 
Artissima has emerged as an extraordinary showcase to explore the most avant-garde trends and  the most fascinating works of contemporary art, offering the public the opportunity to immerse  themselves in a world of limitless creativity. 

MICHELANGELO CONSANI Così lontano così vicino, 2020. Cherry wood, concrete, plaster 160×150 x50 cm Photo Nicola Gnesi

I have drawn up a list of galleries that have diversified starting from the selection of artists and  works, also on the basis of materials as well as themes. 
I would like to start with the Me Vannucci gallery in Pistoia, a gallery with a long history which is a  cultural hub for the city and a point of reference for the territory, which in Turin presents the work  by Michelangelo Consani entitled Così Lontani così vicini (Faraway, so close) from the film by Wim  Wenders and Giovanni Termini, with Grata and Misura di un intervallo
Consani’s work features a cherry wood beam, at the top of which is a concrete block, in front of it,  the plaster statue of an angel missing upper limbs and parts of the body. The two artists’ works  are part of a path that refers to the Relationship of Care, and their instinctive focus on ‘others’. Consani-Termini’s works cross four opposing and complementary ideas: presence/absence and  infinite/finite, while knowledge is at the zero point. 

Observing the stand, and reading the directions, Martin Heidegger’s philosophy comes to the  rescue to remind us that art is an instrument of care and truth, as it reveals and opens up the  understanding of a particular world. Every work of art, according to the German philosopher,  reveals an aspect of the truth and allows us to see the world in a new light. The truth therefore  becomes temporality, concern and authenticity of care. This latter concept, which the two artists,  created in the stand designed for Artissima 2023. In fact Consani, with the work Così lontani così  vicini, (2020 cherry wood, cement plaster, dimensions 150x160x35): is a dialogue between an  angel of plaster – an iconographic expression of the divine which, in this work, becomes earthly  (just like in Wenders’ film, Cassiel, played by the actor Otto Sanders) thanks to the decay of the  sculpture with its broken wing and the cherry wood monolith and concrete, synthesis by contrast  of a yearning for transcendence. As in the film, Consani’s angel and Cassiel maintain their angelic  condition, but they are both enriched by the awareness that men limit themselves to taking the  Light and keeping it for themselves, closing themselves in many small prison worlds in which  there is little space for solidarity and “redistribution” of light towards others. Altruism that the two  artists try in every way to denounce. 

GIOVANNI TERMINI Grata, 2021. Chrome crutch, wood and galvanized wire mesh. 220x140x45 cm Photo Michele Sereni
GIOVANNI TERMINI La misura di un intervallo, 2022. Digital photo, cut 110x140x5 cm. Photo Michele Sereni

The spirituality of the monolith derives, in part, from the cherry tree, a symbol of rebirth in Eastern  cultures, and from the concrete block made pure by its polishing and defined edges, so much so  that it seems like metal. The figures that make up the work are fragments that function like scenes  from a film, helping to create an infinite movement that realizes its tension towards the immaterial  through this restless search for form and substance. Even the drawing entitled The Best Offer,  again a cinematic quote, this time by Tornatore, plays on the paradox that Consani brings  forward, that is, a constant focus on the immaterial and a material inclination for care, which will  be seen applied through the Kinsugi applied to the sculpture of the angel. 
In Termini’s works, in both Grata and Misura di un intervallo, the threshold, the wait and the  separation become a material moment for a reflection starting from the lived space. Care, through  the works of art of these two authors, becomes a moment here and now, material and immaterial  for a reflection on ourselves and others. 

In the path that I have outlined, there is Monitor Gallery with Nicola Samorì, who stands out with  Blend (La Francia Fiamminga), for various reasons starting from the now famous technical ability,  and exceptional mastery of traditional pictorial and sculptural techniques. The precise details, the  realistic rendering and the attention to detail, which in general in his artistic production  demonstrate a profound technical competence. Then we have innovation and experimentation.  Those who know Samorì know that despite his mastery of techniques, he is known for his  willingness to experiment and innovate, in fact, his art often combines traditional elements with  contemporary approaches, creating a dialogue between past and present. This ability to challenge  traditional artistic conventions attracts the attention and admiration of critics and art collectors. 

NICOLA SAMORì Blend (la Francia Fiamminga), 2023. Oil on Trani stone 30×30 cm. Courtesy the Artist and Monitor Rome, Lisbon, Pereto (AQ)

The artist explores complex themes, such as the fragility of human existence, mortality, suffering  and the erosion of time, profound and universal themes that are linked through the multiple  painted surfaces, capturing the attention of viewers and stimulating reflection. His unique  aesthetic: Blend (Flemish France) is also a disturbing and surreal work, with a dark and decadent  atmosphere. It seems to give life to a sculpture, which seems to be made of flesh, with a glassy,  shiny look, and real hair, but instead, it is just a two-dimensional painting. This unique and  recognizable aesthetic evokes infinite emotions. 

URS LüTHI Installation view / Selfportrait ‘Brachlan’ (Large Glass), 2015 B/W Print behind plexiglass, Wood 200×150 cm Courtesy Collica & Partners

Collica&Partners bring other Sicilian authors to Artissima 2023, but Urs Lüthi emerges forcefully  with a great photograph that is part of the 2014 Brachland/Wasteland series, a project included in  a large volume published by Skira entitled Who Does Contemporary Art Speak to? In this case,  Lüthi’s art speaks of rupture, the transience of human life and the inevitability of change. The artist  reflects on contemporary social and cultural dynamics through this damage. Why do we break?  Why do things break, as well as human relationships? Brachland is a psychological and  introspective investigation, which explores the complexities of human emotions and interpersonal  relationships. 

WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery with Chris Soal, a South African and very young artist already known  internationally, who with “recycled” materials such as metal caps or bamboo toothpicks gives life  to natural environments, recalling the world of mould, sea anemones and plant life in genre,  placing the reflection that it is the hand of man that immutably transforms Nature. Soal, like many  other great African artists, including El Anatsui, awarded the Golden Lion in Venice in 2015, or  Pascale Mathine Tayou uses waste materials. 
In reality, Soal does not discard anything, we could say instead that he works by mixing two  important currents of the twentieth century, the ready-made and Arte Povera, as his works are  created with objects just produced by large industries and at the same time aspire to reflect on  the strong connection we have with nature and the environment. By trying to minimize the  environmental impact and incorporating natural elements into his works, Soal poses a paradox, of  creating art through manual and artisanal work in contrast with the industrial production of the  objects he uses. WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery still confirms itself as one of the largest galleries in the world,  with a careful selection of artists. 

CHRIS SOAL Amoung Us, 2023. Discarded beer bottle caps threaded onto electric fencing cable, with burnt and unburnt bamboo and birch wood toothpicks, held in polyurethane sealant on board 195x160x23 cm. Courtesy Chris Soal and WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery. Photo Matt Slater

For Acappella Gallery, founded in Naples in 2015, with the aim of promoting national and  international artists through exhibitions of works created specifically for its exhibition venue. It  represents the natural continuation of the activities of the Museo Apparente, a design and  experimentation space inaugurated in 2011. They bring Michele Cesaratto and Leonardo Devito to  Artissima 2023, I would like to focus on the latter. Born in Florence in 1997, Devito created for the  stand of the Acappella gallery, paintings that recall some of the masters of art history, from the  oldest such as Masaccio, through Piero Della Francesca to the most recent such as Cagnaccio da  San Pietro and more in general, I find references to the Magical Realism of Donghi and Casorati.  Devito’s painting is made of warm tones, and the characters depicted seem surrounded by an  aura of mystery as if time had stopped so that a butterfly is immortalized forever in the moment of  flight. The shadows are barely hinted at and the faces appear seraphic. Finally, a different  painting, no longer “art brut” but which brings with it many emotions, even if it strongly recalls the  past. 

Other galleries that have the merit of being mentioned are the Car Gallery with the artist Julia  Haumont, the Copperfield Gallery with Rebecca Romero and the Rosenfeld Gallery with Ioana  Maria Sisea who sets up the entire stand with her little ceramic women, glazed in gold. Sisea’s  works revolve around the concept of “desire”. Her sculptural scenes portray the physical  expression of “hedonism” and are meaningful, full of humour and illustrate the most obvious  situations exacerbated by a “society that buys everything with money”. The absence of moral  judgment allows us to look at them as they are and to decide for ourselves what they can say  about “desire” and the society that produces these extreme examples. Approaching a topic from  various directions gives his works a remarkable coherence and also lends a greater richness to his  approach varied with different means. 
There were many galleries that exhibited superlative artists in this edition, I hope to be able to talk  about them on future occasions.

Marika Marchese

I have been living and working in Milan since 2016 where I teach and write about contemporary art. I follow my passion for art always, not only for my career, but also for my hobbies, in fact, I define myself an art lover. I also love to travel and read. I have been writing for Made In Mind since 2017, I have been manage the Streams column since 2020.

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