Faithful to its vocation to research, Artissima 2021 will present international artists coming from different backgrounds but united by their experimental approaches
Artissima 2021 – ‘Controtempo’
The 28th edition of Artissima, the world-famous Turin-based contemporary art fair, is just around the corner. Its new visual identity will be marked by the concept of ‘Controtempo’, the theme chosen for the upcoming edition. Faithful to its vocation to research and experimental attitude, this year Artissima invites galleries and artists to reflect on art and its power to ignite positive changes in times of trouble. In a new hybrid version between live and digital, Artissima 2021 will host 154 national and international galleries in the traditional sections – Main Section, Dialogue/Monologue, New Entries, Art Spaces & Editions – and thirty artists who will present monographic projects in the three curated sections – Present Future, Back to the Future and Disegni – both in the physical venue, Oval Lingotto, and on the online fair’s cross-media platform, Artissima XYZ.
Besides the main event, taking place in Turin’s exhibition center and on Artisstima XYZ, the Italian fair will present several special projects and award ten prizes in collaboration with sponsors and institutions, such as FPT Industrial, illycaffè, Xiaomi and Fondazione Sarti per l’Arte. The awards will be assigned in accordance with a variety of criteria, from the commitment to environmental sustainability to digital innovation. Among the special projects of the 2021 edition, there are Hub India, a section entirely dedicated to the Asian country, Surfing NFT, devoted to the discovery of the relationship between NFT, contemporary art, its value chain and the market, and 6 Chairs.
Lampoon presents Augustas Serapinas, Apalazzo gallery
6 Chairs is a site-specific art installation by the Lithuanian artist Augustas Serapinas, who already exhibited at Artissima with Apalazzo gallery, in Brescia. 6 Chairs is a tribute to the Nitto ATP Finals, one of the world’s major professional tennis tournaments, which will be held in Torino for five years, starting from mid-November 2021, immediately after Artissima. This project is the prosecution of a previous series of chairs presented at the Venice Biennale 2019, Chair for the invigilator. The project stemmed from Serapinas’ fascination with the art world’s professionals who usually work behind the scenes, technicians, assistants and, indeed, the invigilators. «At the Venice Biennale the invigilators were called mediators. They were not allowed to sit and used to spend long work shifts in the corner of the room looking after the artworks and providing information to the public, always standing» Serapinas explains. He made an agreement with the Biennale which allowed the mediators to sit on the chairs whenever they wanted to. On the one hand, Serapinas wanted to provide the invigilators with a place to rest, on the other hand he managed to elevate them above the public, being the tall chairs similar to thrones.
In 6 Chairs, the link between art and the tennis world is strong and visible as the invigilators’ seats are inspired by the tennis referees’ chairs. However, for his chairs series, Serapinas drew inspiration also from the colorful lifeguards’ seats whose structures are more complex and diverse than the ones of the tennis referees. «Artissima will give me the opportunity to show my chairs in a completely different setting and context allowing the audience to look at them from a new angle. Also, the title of the exhibition, “6 Chairs”, is very humorous, as the installation actually consists of just six chairs» the artist claims. In 6 Chairs, as well as in Chair for the Invigilator, practicality and material research are at the core of the project. Serapinas chose functional materials such as wood and metal, rarely plastic, which thanks to their flexibility, appearance and intrinsic properties allowed him to vary the chairs’ sizes and structures. «I try to create tailored chairs according to the context where they will be exhibited and the concept behind the project. Also, I find very intriguing to see how the setting and the physical context influence the artwork and its perception!» Serapinas explains.
In occasion of 6 Chairs, which will be hosted by the ballroom of the historic Hotel Principi di Piemonte | UNA Esperienze, art enthusiasts, top tennis players and simple guests of the hotel will gather around the installation and interact with it, everyone differently. Serapinas’ longing to shed light on the players of the art world often overlooked developed in unexpected ways, leading him to work synergically on more than one occasion with the neighborhood hosting the galleries and museums holding his exhibitions.
From this fascination stemmed Blue Pen (2018), a big-size installation set up in the exhibition spaces of David Dale gallery, in Glasgow. On that occasion he turned to the neighbors of the gallery, Clow Group Ltd., a ladder and platform company, and collected the most remarkable memories of its employees. One story collected by the artist concerned the engineering of a system of bridges and access points commissioned forty years ago to Clow by a commercial bakery. One of the observation platforms hung above a large industrial mixing tub used in the making of dough. Having installed the platform, a Clow engineer came to perform a check on it. Interested in the process below, he leaned over the railings to examine the mixing tub, but as soon as he leaned over, a blue ball-point pen fell out of his shirt pocket straight into the dough being mixed below, coloring it blue. The working drawings sketched by the company owner were used by Serapinas to build the structure of the installation, revolving around numerous loaves of blue bread. Lately, Serapinas is exploiting his sculptural background to delve into is interest in the architectural heritage, which he started to develop a few years ago during an artist residency in Canada, where he discovered the typical Canadian sheds, small-scale peak-roofed structures used for storing firewood and fishing nets or for gutting and cleaning fish.
At the Fogo Island Gallery he presented Four Sheds (2017), a site-specific installation which reconfigured an abandoned shed slated for demolition into another form of container. Four Sheds evoked a history of materials, techniques and traditions, which can also be found in Summer in Rūdninkai, on display until 13 November at Apalazzo gallery. The exhibition is based on vienkiemis, Lithuanian small wooden buildings previously used by local communities for various purposes, now abandoned because of the continuous flow of emigration to Western European countries and towards urban centers following the acceptance of Lithuania into the EU in 2004. Before they were demolished, Serapinas photographed the reflections in the windows and, with the aid of local glass-coloring experts, he reproduced the scenes captured with his camera in the dismantled glass panes. Here too, his personal approach towards material research merges with the exploration of local cultures and traditions.
Lampoon presents Levi van Veluw, Eduardo Secci gallery
In the Dialogue/Monologue section – dedicated to emerging galleries or galleries with an experimental approach applying with either a monographic booth or with a dialogue of works by two artists -, Eduardo Secci gallery, based in Florence and Milan, will present the work of one of his leading artists, Levi van Veluw.
Born in Hoevelaken, Netherlands, in 1985, he graduated in 2007 from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. Since his graduation, van Veluw has produced multi-disciplinary works which include a variety of artistic languages, such as photography, drawing, sculpture and installation. The latter are particularly present in the recent production of van Veluw which stems from the study of the relativity of matter and results in experiential installations questioning the objectivity of space and reality. Beyond Matter (2019), one of his most famous projects, is a site-specific installation set up in the exhibition spaces of Ron Mandos gallery, in Amsterdam, drawing inspiration from his religious background – his grandfather was a pastor – and the study of the formal language and power of imagination often used to lead people to religious faith.
In Beyond Matter, van Veluw explored how religious faiths operate in the mind of the faithful and tried to provoke a similar spiritual experience through the power of art. The sacral experience was recalled by the use of symmetries, harmonious figures and light, considered by many as manifestations of the divine. The floors, the walls and the ceiling were made of glass, behind which sacred-looking artefacts were displayed like archeological finds from a mysterious cult. On the occasion of the exhibition, van Veluw used clay for the first time, a material which requires a long hand craftsmanship, and thus gave each piece an irregular, authentic character and enhanced the contrast with the minimalist glass cube in which the viewers were suspended. In the tradition of Beyond Matter, between 23 November 2020 and 31 January 2021, Eduardo Secci gallery presented in its Florence’s exhibition space Circular Persuasion, a window site-specific installation in which the yellow architecture, progressively converging towards a central vanishing point coinciding with the blue clay circular sculpture, recalled the presbytery of a church. The holy atmosphere was enhanced by the water covering the floor, a metaphor for purity. From 10 November to 15 January, van Veluw will present a new series of blue clay sculptures at Eduardo Secci gallery.
The exhibition, titled Between belief and delusions, further investigates the role of religious beliefs and, at the same time, sheds light on a specific question: when does a belief come to a delusion? Toying with the perception of the viewers, van Veluw’s sculptural works allude to those tokens long associated with the spiritual aspects of life, creating a sense of disorientation in the mind of the observer. The series of sculptures also include a dynamic element: an engine hidden from view and powered by a spring, allows the artworks to come alive and, through a spin, create a hallucinatory effect which attracts and confuses the audience at the same time. A few of these artworks will be available at Artissima for art collectors or merely curious who want to get lost in van Veluw’s play of illusions.
Born in 1990 in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he still lives and works. Serapinas studied fine arts and sculpture at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Vilnius, Lithuania (2009 – 2013) and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012-2013). His work focuses on material research and draws inspiration from the variety of human relations and interactions.
Levi van Veluw
Born in the Dutch town of Hoevelaken in 1985 and studied at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. He lives and works in Amsterdam. Van Veluw bases his practice around the idea of an alternate reality, creating a visual laboratory where both order and chaos are present