Artissima 2022, a Transformative Experience

The Art Week in Turin has just ended, and with it the 29th edition of Artissima

Every year from the first days of November, the city lights up with art thanks to the many exhibitions and events that pervade the streets with an experimental and cutting-edge ferment. 

In this scenario, Artissima takes place from the 4th to the 6th of November at Oval Lingotto, it is Italy’s most important contemporary art fair: 174 Galleries from 28 countries participated this year.

Image courtesy of Artissima ©

The selected theme for this edition is Transformative Experience, that comes from the homonymous essay of the American philosopher Laurie Ann Paul, published in 2014. According to this concept elaborated by the author, a transformative Experience is able to radically modify the person who lives it, triggering a crisis of rationally envisioned expectations and opening a perspective on the unknown (L. Fassi, 2022, Artissima uploads). It’s like an hymn to the power of transformation inherent in art itself. 

This edition has the ambition to anticipate themes, languages and trends of the future.

The fair is divided in four sections: Main Section, Monologue/Dialogue, New Entries, Art Spaces & Editions; plus three curated sections: Present Future (emerging artists), Back to the Future (rediscovery of the great pioneers of contemporary art) and Disegni (drawing). 

We will explore these three categories in particular and some of their artists.

Present Future

It shows monographic works and emerging talents with the aim of enhancing the new tendencies that are characterizing the international panorama. These artists often differ in medium and style, it’s an explorative art that investigates intersections of human life with nature, they are curious about different life stories and cultures. 

In this area Marco Giordano (The Modern Institute Gallery), artist from Turin, presents his visual audio installation To Disturb Somnolent Birds: an immersive dark room where sculptures of lightened birds are positioned on a black mirror table. An hypnotic sound in the background, made up by tribal glitched sounds, seems to mark the passing of time. This work wants to stimulate a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. In the liminal space, we can better perceive what a Transformative Experience feels like.

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Back to the Future

This part recalls avant-garde creations from the recent past that perfectly speak the language of our present time. It shows a variety of practices of every day life that narrates how artists elaborates the society.

The work of Marliz Frencken (Althuis  Hofland Gallery) finds its setting here. She has spent the last forty years painting and making sculptures of female figures, since her mother died when she was only a teenager, she recalls her gorgeous profile in every woman’s picture she sees, it’s all about women. She searched for beautiful women in the magazines, ads, posters, painting history and she found her way to personally take over these figures. As she states, there is a huge emotional involvement in her works, in her sculptures there is a mixture of fine arts materials like clay and objects that she finds in her everyday life. The artist explores the multiple versions of the representation of the body and of the female figure, fusing together the universal and the personal dimension. 

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Artissima is the only fair in Italy that dedicates a section to the art of drawing. Every artist has a solo exhibition, conceived to enhance the different and independent techniques and styles on paper. 

The geometric, but irregular shapes of Petrică Ștefan (418Gallery) can easily catch the eye. He was almost forced to draw again in the quarantine period, he used to work with considerable surface and with oil on canvas, but due to the pandemic limitations he had to review his approach. That is when his series of drawing has started. The artist explores and creates connections between geometric, synthetic and organic, natural elements, creating an intriguing contrast that produce visual harmony, helped by an accurate choice of vibrant colours. There is a perpetual dynamism of enlargement and diminution in his works, in a compositions that seems not having an end.

Images courtesy of Artissima ©


Finally, there is one more section that we thought could be particularly interesting: the Monologue/Dialogue part. It is reserved to emerging galleries, often with an experimental approach, that want to present a monographic work or a dialogue between two artists’ projects. In this area stands the work of Turiya Magadlela (Kalashnikovv Gallery), a South African artist that transforms nylon tights and textiles of uniforms in pieces of art. She deconstructs and reassembles these fabric pieces that has a personal and emotional connection for her, she was raised in a house in political resistance. These works are abstract and therefore they suggest a free and subjective interpretation.

Image courtesy of Kalashnikovv Gallery ©

In this brief recap of Artissima 2022 we have explored the concept of Transformative Experience through the eyes of different artists, maybe feeling how could be like breaking the edge of the standard stages and sections of our lives, to redefine and create new boundaries or connections with the uncertainty and the liminal parts of our existence.

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