“Einmal ist keinmal. Tomas repeats the German proverb to himself. What happens only once is as if it never happened. If man can live only one life, it is as if he did not live at all.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
We were invited to the Art Verona preview, and we gratefully went. Of course as usual, laziness meant that, unlike serious sites, we did not set out overnight to write, but chewed and rehashed what we saw before we started. Yet what follows will be no more than notes as we plan to make a more in-depth summary of things seen at various events at the end of the year.
So there you have it:
If you asked for directions upon entering the fair, someone may have been told that on the left was contemporary and on the right was modern/historical. We went to the right because we were intrigued by the diversity, compared to other fairs, of this option. Only upon entering we lingered on the first work that caught our eye and discovered esser of 2022. The second from 2021. Only here, in the modern, did we see a gallery exhibiting NFTs. So something doesn’t add up.
The area we are in is the Italian Market. As much as it may make sense to say so, in any case in the main section we saw no more than 3 galleries with foreign headquarters, while all the others, which then maybe have branches around the world, report to Italy. So being that there were 117 exhibitors we think we can say it was a fairlycomplete showcase.
There was nothing outside the classical painting/sculpture enclosure. Experimentation is enclosed within a rectangle hanging on the wall. No video, few installations, some images from performances. The bulk of the exhibition remains painting, photography, sculpture. Without this being a criticism, for there can be great innovative richness even without exhibiting neural networks. Clearly, however, one of the virtues of the Verona fair is that it is essential: the Market demands this. All in all, this is notunfortunate, because in the narrow scope we are talking about we have seen a lot of very fine work, often more refined research. Of course there remains in many cases a sense of already seen, already experienced, especially since on the other side of the main aisle is the so-called modern pavilion that reminds you why.
Scattered, by impression, what we photographed along the day:
Bonelli Gallery : Silvia Inselvini is dedicated to helping us understand our fatuity and its perseverance. Or rather how to deal worthily with the passage of time, through drawings made with blue and black bic pens, which filter into each other through sequences of juxtaposed painted squares. Memento mori.
Cardelli and Fontana: Marco Baricchi’s work Selva s’intitella e selva è. But a forest devoid of figurative elements in the strict sense and not even very symbolic. The memory of the forest, who knows how far away, is used to give evidence to the pictorial gesture and, probably, the fact that it is not an untitled but evokes something to which the artist is attached means that the reflection is not on painting in general but on his art.
Contemporary Villa: Anna Turina, if you. Since there were only a few we put at least one installation. What struck us, aside from the neon phrase of course, was the use of materials such as stone and a certain compositional elegance.
Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani: in itself should be pointed out all of it, for history and representative artists (Galindo, Santiago Sierra etc). Outside, for example, stood a photo treated from La sombra, a 2017 performance by Regina Jose Galindo but we point out Tiziana Pers, Municeddhe. Why? Meanwhile, because it explains why you have to have sympathy for Prometheus, as it is one of the few galleries present that pays attention to the setting. In this case we see the resumption of the spiral movement in theplacement of the works and it is not bad. Then because it is pointless to mention Deleuze and the becoming animal, as we get here and there even on this site, without valuing the politicalness of the anti-speciesist critique. In any case, we are talking about the Market: The animals in his works are in fact rescued through exchange with a work, and this raises the question of whether an economic value can be placed on a living thing and consequently on the work with which it is exchanged.
ZamagniArte since so far we have mentioned only galleries from the main section, we indicate at least one from the section Curated by, entrusted to Giacinto di Pietrantonio. In this section a relationship between galleries and curators/curators should be developed, as essential figures in the valorization of the contemporary. We would very much like to say that the attempt is successful, but, although with an obvious greater attention to the use of space, honestly there is not much difference from the other galleries. So we highlight the Zamagni for the two artists involved: Giovanni Gaggia, who presents a tapestry (!) composed of the reunions of the Russian and Ukrainian flags, and Edoardo Cialfi, who uses the aerosol technique on canvas, which makes his landscapes very textural.
Not nice things
Less than positive ones, as it would not be nice to say the works we did not like.
Certainly the sense of already seen that we were writing about at the beginning. Many galleries do not have, shall we say, the propensity for innovation even formally. They probably try to sell through reassurance mechanisms.
The lack of care, which does not even manifest itself when you include curators, as mentioned, who flaunt a lot of galleries, whose spaces become heterogeneous, colorful bazaars. Of course we are at a fair, it is not that we expect 117 exhibitions set up properly, but neither, since we are talking about art, that there are often objects resting/hanging here and there without characterization.
Money evidently still runs on the side of the modern. Attitudes, dress, age say that those who really buy continue to be more attracted to the 900s. It is no coincidence that the only captions that listed the cost of the work were in that pavilion. And so if we could buy an Isgrò we knew we were going to spend 100,000/200,000 euros, but if we wanted to buy something in the contemporary pavilion we had to approach the gallerist who, like a drug dealer, took us aside and said, “I’ll do 15 to you.”
These are probably all signs of Market fatigue, which pushes for safe-haven goods more than daring, and so galleries tend to cater to a more traditional, precisely already-seen taste.
Since we stayed only one day we could not attend many events and talks, however at SUPERFLUO we met the NONE collective, an Italian group of artists interested in the relationship between humans and machines, understood as technologies. Since we said there was only painting, we liked to point out their installation commissioned by Pasqua vini (and already the commission is a nice thing). A very engaging site-specific work. If you went to their site, as we recommend, you will understand what we mean.