Artissima, Italy’s Leading Contemporary Art Fair, Returns With an Unexpected Focus: India

The fair's special feature 'Hub India' will showcase work by 65 contemporary artists from the subcontinent.

Installation view of Artissima, 2019.

This weekend, Artissima, Italy’s leading contemporary art fair, will open in Turin for its 28th edition. The fair will mark a joyful return for the Northern Italian art scene after being hard-hit by the pandemic over the past year, with 154 galleries from 37 countries in attendance. Since its founding in 1994, Artissima has defined itself as an international meeting point that supports cutting-edge experimentation in the art world. 

Myna Mukherjee, founder and director of Engendered, is curating the fair's Hub India.

Myna Mukherjee, founder and director of Engendered, is co-curating the fair’s extensive “Hub India” program.

Building on that tradition, this year the fair will debut “Hub India: Maximum Minimum,” an expansive program that showcases the galleries, institutions, and artists shaping the Indian cultural scene today. Curated by Myna Mukherjee, founder and director of Engendered, New Delhi, and Davide Quadrio, founder and director of Arthub, the project unfolds at the fair pavilion and expands into the city itself. According to organizers, “Hub India” is poised to be the largest and most significant conversation between contemporary art from India and the West in recent memory. 

Nox Umbra, Night Shadows (2021). Courtesy of Shrine Empire.

Nox Umbra, Night Shadows (2021). Courtesy of Shrine Empire.

A special section of the fair will be devoted to Indian galleries and institutions, offering a cross section of startling breadth and complexity with works by 65 influential Indian contemporary artists. Participants include Nature Morte (New Delhi), Gallery Espace (New Delhi), Emami Art (Kolkata), Akar Prakar (Kolkata and New Delhi), Art Alive (New Delhi), Latitude 28 (New Delhi), Shrine Empire (New Delhi), Sakshi Art (Mumbai), Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai), Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi), Volte (Mumbai), and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (New Delhi). Artists will address subjects from India’s ancient spiritualism to modern materialism, its colonial legacy and rising global influence, its tensions between agrarian and urban existence, and more.

Simultaneously, the sprawling exhibition “Classical Radical will take place at three museums throughout the city—the Palazzo Madama, the MAO Museo d’Arte Orientale, and the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino—in a collaboration between Artissima and the Fondazione Torino Musei. 

“Classical Radical” examines recent and Modern works from the Indian subcontinent that harken back to the country’s rich antiquity but through a contemporary sociological lens. The exhibition questions how India’s nuanced histories, with their own motifs, styles, and ideas, can transcend millennia to exist in this cultural moment. 

Complementing the tripartite exhibition, the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti will also host the film installation Sama: Symbols and Gestures in Contemporary Art Practices. Italy and India, Vol. 1, which posits the two countries as historical, cultural, and socio-economic extremes of the Euro-Asian continent.

Learn more about ‘Hub India’ programming here. Artissima runs from November 5 through November 7, 2021.  

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