This year’s art fair ARTE FIERA in Bologna took place in an unfamiliar time schedule. Instead of January, it was once more postponed due to the pandemic. However, finally in May 2022, the oldest Italian art fair opened its doors and re-found its habitual context. The supporting program ART CITY with special projects, exhibitions in customary or often even unusual places, accompanied by many shows in the city’s galleries was rich as always. Also the actual show, with 142 galleries under the artistic direction of Simone Menegoi returned to its former quantity. After a break of almost two and a half years, gallerists and visitors were glad to meet people in person again.
103 galleries were united in the Main Section and presented modern and contemporary art with a focus on Italy. The curators of the three special sections invited further 39 galleries. Davide Ferri combined paintings of young emerging talents and mid-career artists of the 21st century (Pittura XXI). Marco Meneguzzo glanced with “Focus” to the art production from the end of the 1950s to the 1970s and the curator platform Fantom searched the dialogue between photography and other media (Fotografia e immagini in movimento). Naturally, the editors and art magazines could not be missing. Besides the joy to appreciate so much art in a great context, there were enough interesting positions to discover or re-discover.
Even though, the art fair was located in the same halls as in 2020, the access changed positively. Visitors arrived in a central lounge with information desks, the Talk area and a bookshop. Here, the guests had the possibility to choose, which area to visit first: the pavilion 15, with exhibitors orientated to contemporary art, the sections Pittura XXI and Fotografia e immagini in movimento; or the pavilion 18, which was more concentrated on modern art and the period after the Second World War, interspersed with “Focus”. This was an advantage, because in the former edition one had to pass first the entire modern art first to arrive at the hall with the contemporary.
Due to other fairs in the spaces of Bologna Fiere, there were some difficulties in the exhibition layout, since the habitual booth builders were occupied. Though, the result left nothing else to desired. Alas, the visitor numbers could not reach the former editions. Perhaps people are still cautious in travelling due to the pandemic? Representatives and galleries deplored the time schedule with close concurrent events in other cities and sold out accommodation due to other local fairs. However, the pleasant temperatures and longer daytimes in May were enjoyable on the way to and from the ARTE FIERA and in particular for visiting the events throughout the city. Let’s see, if the ARTE FIERA will return to January or not.