Artefiera 2018 – The guaranteed second-hand goods
Text Rocco Moliterni
Arte Fiera is to art as the Sanremo Festival is to light music.
A rite that, edition after edition, repeats more or less equal to itself. In Bologna you do not come to experience the thrill of novelty or trend research, but to find confirmation. The kermesse directed by Angela Vettese does not focus on young people, even if there are revelations, such as the Maltese Matthew Attard, winner of the Euromobil Under 30 award, with his aluminum wires that draw silhouettes suspended on the walls. Here the approximately 150 galleries, almost all Italian ones, compete to propose almost all Italian artists, who are an investment for collectors with a swollen wallet and a lack of willingness to take risks. In other words, they go on ‘safe second-hand goods’. It is a great sprinkling of Fontana, Burri, Campigli, Vedova, Balla, but also Boetti, Capogrossi, Zorio, Schifano or the Great Beauty – and in some cases ugliness – of the Italian 20th century.
The announced novelty was the shuffling of cards: no longer the modern divided by the contemporary and photography in a ‘ghetto’ in its own right, but all with or against everything. In fact, the big names of the modern, or rather galleries like Tornabuoni, Mazzoleni, Lo Scudo remained in Hall 26 and the most contemporary galleries, from Continua to Primo Marella in Hall 25, with the photograph not received: the section Photo is scattered here and there and it is almost lost. There is no shortage of passing fashions: this year there is, it will be because he is a former ‘sessantottino’ (activist in the 1968 protest events), the return of Piero Gilardi and his Natura Carpets and there are lots of classic sculptures converted to contemporary (although after Jeff Koons is not a great idea). More than in the past, the program of events in the city is rich, which means that you cannot eat at the Fair where the quality of the food is not comparable to that of the works on sale. On the other hand, the kidney with onion and Pioppini mushrooms in capon broth at Osteria Bottega is a masterpiece. And it can help to bring down the yearning of not bringing home that charcoal portrait that Balla did in 1905 to his friend Duilio Cambellotti: it costs, if no one has yet bought it, just 220,000 Euro.