Turin Rebounds As Collectors Flock to Artissima, Italy’s Top Fair

The fair is a treasure-trove of artistic discoveries.

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Peres Projects' Booth
Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano, Courtesy Peres Projects
Neumeister Bar-Am's booth of Kate Steciw and Rachel De Joode
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Joe Sheftel New York's solo booth of Alex Da Corte in Artissima's "Present Future" section
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Rotwand Zürich's Booth
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Wentrup Berlin's Booth
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Galerie Barbara Thumm's solo booth of Anna Oppermann in Artissima's "Back to the Future" section
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Bugada and Cargnel Paris's Booth
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Georg Kargl's solo booth of Bernhard Leitner in Artissima's "Back to the Future" section
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Guido Costa Torino's Booth
Photo: © Alexander Forbes
Air de Paris's Booth
Photo: © Alexander Forbes

Italy’s top fair for contemporary art, Artissima, opened on Thursday to a heavily Italian but also international crowd of collectors, curators, and artists. In the fair’s early hours, the pace in the Oval Lingotto Fiere—built as an ice rink for the 2006 Olympics—was by no means frenetic. But, collectors were plentiful.

Prominent Italians Patrizia Sandretto re Rebaudengo, members of Fiat’s Agnelli family, and that of the Trussardi fashion house were at Artissima and buying. Other collectors came from as far as Brazil to see the fair, as did notable French collectors such as Marie Chaix, and Michel and Colette Poitevin, as well as Germany’s Ingvild Goetz. It’s Artissima’s strong and well-deserved reputation as a platform for discovering new artists that pulled them in. Not a single blue chip artist was to be found across the fair’s booths, and generally artists under 40  put out the best works.

Artissima’s 21st edition is slightly larger and more international than it was in 2013. Across its six sections, 194 galleries participate this year, up from 190 last year. Fifty-seven of those galleries are Italian, and 137 are international.

At least for foreign visitors, the fair’s Italian galleries are some of its more intriguing finds. The international participants are top-notch, no doubt. But we know Hannah Barry (a first-time participant this year), Jocelyn Wolff, Mendes Wood, and Emanuel Layr by now from Liste, Frieze, and others—Milan’s Camera16, Rome’s A Gallery Apart, or Turin’s Guido Costa, perhaps not so well.

Fair director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto has done a fantastic job mining fresh talent internationally as well. Among the fresh-faced 19 galleries participating in the fair’s New Entries section—featuring galleries under five years old participating at Artissima for the first time—are Berlin’s Neumeister Bar-Am, London’s Rod Barton, Paris’s Emmanuel Hervé, and Athens’s Christina Androulidaki. Neumeister Bar-Am kicked off the fair with a performance by sometimes-collaborators Kate Steciw and Rachel De Joode, who also enjoy a solo presentation at the gallery’s booth. The resultant work is on sale at the gallery’s stand today.

The performance was part of a new addition to this year’s Artissima, dubbed Per4m. The program runs throughout the weekend. And in opposition to recent ventures by many fairs into performance art as side programming, Artissima integrates the works directly into its sales platform. It’s further proof that the fair remains not only on the cutting edge of contemporary art but on that of the art fair industry as well.

See some of our favorite booths in the slideshow above, presented in no particular order.

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