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Artissima 2019: highlights from the 26th edition

7 November 2019 Journal News

Artissima, International Fair of Contemporary Art and the only one in Italy dedicated exclusively to contemporary art, closed on Sunday. The fair was directed for the third consecutive year by Ilaria Bonacossa – reconfirmed for the next two years –  and has been made possible with the support of its main partner UniCredit for 17 years. As always, Artissima has involved the entire territory of Torino in a major international event on the art of our time.

During the four days of the fair, from 31 October to 3 November (the first for sector professionals, the following open to the public), Artissima welcomed 55,000 visitors. Artissima confirms its leading role amongst influential contemporary art events with international visibility, providing a platform for emerging talents and innovative galleries. In the months to come Artissima will continue its digital initiatives with #ArtissimaRewind, highlighting the most important moments of the 2019 edition, and looking back at the experience of the fair in dialogue with a wider audience of art enthusiasts.

he theme of Artissima’s 26th edition, the duality of desire/censorship, has stimulated timely and varied reflections on contemporary ambitions and utopias, on the impulses that shape our times, and the perspectives and narratives that cross them, on the relationship between images and their control.

At the conclusion of the event, director Ilaria Bonacossa commented:

“Artissima, at its 26th iteration, reasserts its role as an event of high quality and research, the only fair in Italy that concentrates exclusively on contemporary art. I am particularly pleased with the outstanding level of the work on view, and because we have brought to Torino a number of galleries –  which have been missing for many years – I hold in high esteem. The positive comments of collectors and sector professionals confirm this: the fair has generated unprecedented creative energy, with a particular focus on experimental practices. Many say it has been the best edition of recent years! We have worked in two directions, combining market offerings on a high level with cultural initiatives capable of investigating new and different ways of approaching art, with the desire to exchange ideas and experiences in an open, receptive context. Without ever overlooking the solidity of the research and the quality of the exhibitors in the fair pavilion, in tune with our partners we have presented cross-disciplinary projects to inform, amaze and amuse, all at the same time. More than ever before, this year Artissima is truly ‘issima’, superlative in every sense of the term!”


43 Countries represented by 208 galleries (79 Italian galleries, 129 foreign galleries), 49 first time exhibitors, 7 sections (3 of which curated by committees of international curators),  2,500 exhibited works.

More than 400 international curators and museum directors (68% foreign, 32% Italian), and more than 171 professionals involved in the fair (committees, juries, talks, Walkie Talkies, etc.) besides over 5,500 collectors from 36 Countries (6 more than last year) of which 19 non-European, mainly from the Middle-Eastern area and South America. Remarkable attendance on the part of collectors, mostly from abroad, visiting Artissima for the first time, demonstrating the success of the fair’s program of expansion.


Artissima welcomed 20 groups of patrons of prestigious museums, including New Museum (USA), AMAMCO (Switzerland), Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art (England), Les Amis du Palais de Tokyo – Tokyo Art Club (France), Camden Arts Center (England), Stichting CoCa Collectors of Contemporary Art (The Netherlands) and Amici della Triennale (Italy).


Six awards were presented during the fair, reflecting Artissima’s commitment to the support of creative research.

illy Present Future Prize: awarded to aaajiao, presented by House of Egorn (Berlin). In its 19th edition, the prize is awarded in collaboration with illycaffè to the most interesting artist in the Present Future section with its focus on emerging talents. The prize also offers its winner the exceptional opportunity to have a show in a museum of the territory, on the occasion of Artissima 2020.

Sardi per l’Arte Back to the Future Prize: awarded to Kimiyo Mishima, presented by Sokyo (Kyoto). The sixth edition of Premio Sardi per l’Arte Back to the Future, organised in partnership with Fondazione Sardi per l’Arte, provides a financial prize to the gallery with the most outstanding project in terms of historical relevance and presentation.

Ettore e Ines Fico Prize: awarded to Guglielmo Castelli, presented by Francesca Antonini gallery, (Rome) and Rolando Anselmi gallery (Berlin and Rome). Established in 2009, this year the prize has selected one young Italian artist who thanks to his creative research will be offered the possibility of presenting a solo exhibition in the spaces of MEF during the course of 2020.

OGR Award: awarded to Yuri Ancarani with the work Lapidi (2018) presented by Isabella Bortolozzi gallery (Berlin). Now in its third edition, the award enables the acquisition of a work by Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea and that will be presented at the OGR Torino, one of the most dynamic cultural centres for production and experimentation in Europe.

Refresh Irinox Prize: awarded to Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, presented by ABRA gallery (Caracas). The award, in its third edition, is dedicated to the Disegni section. Besides the award, Irinox acquired a work by the artist Christiane Löhr, presented by Tucci Russo Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea (Torre Pellice, Turin).

Campari Art Prize: awarded to Julian Irlinger, presented by Thomas Schulte gallery (Berlin). The award created in 2017 goes to an artist under 35 featured in one of the sections of the fair. Besides a cash prize, the winner has the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the Galleria Campari corporate museum.

Artissima continues to be an important occasion for the significant museum acquisitions by Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT. This year 4 works have been acquired for Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Torino, within an overall budget of more than 250,000 euros.

The vitality of Artissima and its innovative force is spread across the region, thanks to active collaboration with many public and private institutions, museums, foundations and galleries.

Abstract Sex: We don’t have any clothes, only equipment, the innovative project focused on the theme of desire, conceived by Ilaria Bonacossa and curated by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti and Guido Costa, has attracted 3.700 visitors in 4 days.

Artissima Telephone, conceived by Ilaria Bonacossa and curated by Vittoria Martini with and for the spaces of the OGR – Officine Grandi Riparazioni, has attracted 5.056 visitors in 4 days proposing an investigation on the telephone as an artistic medium.


See you next year at Artissima from Friday 6 November to Sunday 8 November, 2020 (preview on Thursday 5 November, 2020).

Thank you for making the 26th edition of the fair so special!

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