contemporary art / history of art

ARTISSIMA Unplugged 2020 – another Art Fair goes digital

3 November – 9 December 2020

Already before the final cancellation of this years’ Turin based art fair ARTISSIMA, the organisers decided to change the traditional format due to the pandemic. Early it was planned to relocate three curated sections to a digital platform named ARTISSIMA XYZ. Moreover, “Frenetic Standstill” as part of ARTISSIMA Unplugged, integrated artworks of participating galleries into three Turin collections, unfortunately closed for the moment, because of the safety regulations. Hopefully they can reopen, since it was planned that the shows would be opened until the 9th of January 2021. At any rate, “Frenetic Standstill” is online visitable as virtual tour. Eventually, also the physical fair at Turin’s Oval Lingotto had to be transferred to the internet, as announced at the beginning of October. Like the other events, the catalogue is online until the 9th of December.



The cross-media platform ARTISSIMA XYZ presents 30 artists in three sections: Back to the Future, Present Future and Disegni. Introduced by a video of the curators, there are 10 projects in every division. By clicking on the corresponding image, the visitor can read a critical text, watch videos about the project or sometimes hear a podcast. Moreover additional documents are available and pictures of the featured artists works.

Like in the former physical editions of ARTISSIMA, “Back to the Future” invites to rediscover historical works, which still are relevant for current artistic languages. “Present Future” points to young emerging artists, who see in art a possibility to express their feelings about current challenges of societies. For “Disegni”, the curators have chosen ten women, experimenting with drawings transformed to further expression.

Frenetic Standstill

Hosted in three locations throughout the city of Turin, the exhibitions of “Frenetic Standstill” have different focusses depending on the venue. At the GAM (Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea) 100 works of the Main Section and Dialogue/Monologue are presented at the ground floor and in the basement. Corresponding to the segment assignment, there are various oeuvres of mostly renowned artists represented by prominent galleries from the Main Section. Whereas the provenience from Dialogue/Monologue is more intimate, a communication between two artists or a singular expression of one creative.


The Palazzo Madama (Museo Civico d’Arte Antica) offers by its long architectural history a building marked by many contrasts. Additionally the collection of the museum offers multifarious artworks and artefacts from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. With “Frenetic Standstill” the art of the 21st century moved in. Above the remains of the Porta Romana and under the medieval arches, the curators assembled 30 artworks from three editions (2018-2020) of the section “New Entries”. This division is reserved for the youngest and most experimental galleries, which opened within the last five years.


A little bit similar is the effect in the MAO (Museo d’Arte Orientale), even though slightly attenuated. 10 contemporary artworks from artists originating from oriental countries are placed in between the pieces of the historic collection of Asian cultural heritage. Treasures to find among treasures.


ARTISSIMA – The Catalogue

The digital catalogue of the former physically scheduled 154 Italian and International galleries is divided in four sections. Besides five Art Spaces & Editions, there are 74 exhibitors in the Main Section. They are showing oeuvres of the current and the last decades of the last century. Here it is possible to meet already renowned artists as well as one on their way to be established.

This is also true in the 29 galleries of the division Dialogue/Monologue. However, here one focus is on two artists, whose oeuvres are communicating, formally, by approach, technique or contrast. Sometimes the dialogue is so intense that one might imagine a real exhibition in a physical art space. Other galleries of this section opted for a solo exhibition, where a single artist is to discover or rediscover.

As already mentioned, the New Entries presents young emerging galleries, which might move to the Main Section in the coming years. Obviously, the celebrities are difficult to find. However, among the 16 galleries of this division are interesting approaches of the curators and fresh artistic attitudes to find.