«I define myself as a poetry fan, the way one is a football fan at the bar. I’m not an expert, but I enjoy it very much». In conversation with new Miart Artistic Director Nicola Ricciardi
Miart fair at Fiera Milano City
After its 2020 online edition, Miart is ready to welcome visitors back at Fiera Milano. The twenty-fifth edition of the modern and contemporary art fair will, in fact, run from September 17 to September 19. Nicola Ricciardi is the new Artistic Director. His appointment came in September 2020, following the four-year directorship of Alessandro Rabottini. «I am embracing this new challenge with enthusiasm», says Ricciardi, «and hope to spend the coming three years consolidating Miart as a point of reference for Italian and international galleries, artists, and collectors».
Born in 1985, Ricciardi is a curator and contemporary art critic with an international background. He leaves the post of Artistic Director of OGR – Officine Grandi Riparazioni di Torino. A cultural centre located in a former train repair facility, which he held since 2016. «My involvement at OGR since its birth has been essential for me to gain management and administrative skills. These are now proving necessary to organize and direct an art fair. As I contributed to laying the foundations of OGR, I am working on laying those of a fair reinventing itself in the aftermath of the pandemic».
Nicola Ricciardi, Miart’s new Artistic Director
Ricciardi wants to guarantee solidity and continuity in relation to the path mapped out by Rabottini and, earlier on, by Vincenzo de Bellis. But, he is also facing the changes happening in the art fair business. One that has suffered since the outburst of Covid-19. «Vincenzo has been a mentor to me since the days of our collaboration at Ennesima. He has succeeded in turning Miart into an event of international resonance in a moment when Milan’s cultural scene was growing following Expo 2015. He did it by focusing on the quality of participants and artworks. This is what I plan to do at this year’s edition».
To guarantee the realization of the fair, Ricciardi reached out to the applicants that had been admitted to the 2020 edition. «The moment I became Artistic Director, I listened to the needs and expectations of each gallery for the fair. A number of them was facing financial hardship. I did not take their participation for granted. But, I confided in them to build a new edition of the fair with a collaborative effort. It was necessary to fill the void caused by the pandemic and rebuild a dialogue that was gone for months. This explains the need of a title such as Dismantling the silence, which quotes a poem that Charles Simić wrote fifty years ago, in 1971». Most galleries expressed the desire to participate in an in-person edition. This brought to the decision of postponing the fair to September.
Miart 2021 will take place at its historic location at Fiera Milano. Nevertheless, it will relocate from pavilion three to pavilion four, on the first floor. «Pavillion four was renovated last year, with windows overlooking the city. The space is smaller. But, it allows for designing a plan that will give visitors the chance to get lost amidst modern and contemporary art, without distinction. It will be a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree experience across one-hundred years of art history where galleries will act as protagonists».
The space will accommodate one-hundred-and-forty-five participants (in comparison to one-hundred-and-eighty-nine of the 2019 edition). One third of them will be international. They include historical galleries such as the Italian Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, L’Avana, Rome, São Paulo, Paris), Raffaella Cortese (Milan), Monica De Cardenas (Milan, Zuoz, Lugano), kaufmann repetto (Milan, New York), Francesca Minini (Milan), Massimo Minini (Brescia), P420 (Bologna), Lia Rumma (Milan, Naples), Schiavo Zoppelli (Milan), Vistamarestudio (Pescara, Milan), ZERO…(Milan), and the international Clearing (New York, Bruxelles, Beverly Hills), Corvi-Mora (London), MLF | Marie-Laure Fleisch (Bruxelles), Peter Kilchmann (Zurigo), Lange + Pult (Zurigo, Auvernier), Lelong & Co. (Paris, New York).
New participants and structure of the fair
Further, new participants include Piero Atchugarry Gallery (Miami, Garzón), Charim Galerie (Wien), Edouard Simoens Gallery (Knokke) e QG Gallery (Knokke). After about ten years of absence, Franco Noero (Turin) is making its return to Miart. It will present works by Italian artist Lara Favaretto (1973). In terms of structure, Ricciardi has decided to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. Five sections will characterize the fair. Established Masters (curated by Alberto Salvadori), Established Contemporary, Generations, Decades (curated by Alberto Salvadori) and Emergent (curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini).
The structure will also offer collectors the possibility to enjoy and choose from a range of aspects of modern and contemporary art. Galleries will present monographic and thematic booths. Dialogues between two artists from different generations, interactions between art and design, and the newest names to keep an eye on. «The major change will regard the Decades section. It will explore the history of the whole of the twentieth century starting from the 1910s – instead of the 1920s as in previous editions – to the first decade of the 2000s».
And Flowers Words editorial project
The relevance of poetry and communication in Ricciardi’s vision is suggested by And Flowers Words. An editorial project enhancing the use of written and spoken words. The aim is to find new ways of communication in an art world that is experiencing transformation. Ricciardi has invited a series of guests with whom he conversed via video about art, literature and poetry. These have included New Museum director Massimiliano Gioni, Centro Pecci director Cristiana Perrella, GAMeC director Lorenzo Giusti, and MACRO artistic director Luca Lo Pinto. «I invited guests who work in the art world and poetry experts, such as Mariangela Gualtieri and Emanuele Trevi, who received the Premio Strega not long after our talk. We have chatted about words and poetry».
In September, Ricciardi plans to continue this series of conversations that will involve Milanese art institutions. These will include Fondazione Prada, Hangar Bicocca, Pac and Museo del Novecento, which will have exhibitions at the same time as Miart. «I have asked Simon Fujiwara, who is having a solo show at Fondazione Prada, to share with me his thoughts about poetry. He sent me crossed texts between Shakespeare and Winnie-the-Pooh. While artist Alessandro Pessoli sent me his reinterpretation of Eliot’s Waste Land. He will have a show at the Chiostri di Sant’Eustorgio in September ». When asked about how he sees the future of Miart, Ricciardi stresses the need to get out of the storm of the current historical moment. «This will be an edition with galleries as the priority. The 2022 edition will be a fresh start, while the 2023 will be the edition where to make a change».
Strada Statale del Sempione 28, 20017, Rho (Milano)
Miart is a fair where contemporary art, modern art and limited edition design interact with each other. They explore the relationship between the past and the present of creativity and present the widest chronological offer to the public. From the art of the beginning of the last century up to the works of the most recent generations.