With a royal ordinance, in the XIX century the king Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia commanded that Turin's roofs be covered with the vast porches that still run along the beautiful Via Po. The reason for the decree was to offer shelter from the rain to the monarch and his entourage during their route from the Royal Palace to the Church of Grande Madre di Dio. Turin is the city with the largest porticoed area in Europe – here, the porches join together the most representative buildings in town, like a sort of connective tissue linking the vital organs of the urban body to each other. Turin’s porticoes, I would say, are the proof of the attempt to reconfigure metropolitan geography – they represent the vectors of an original monarchist cartography. In a way, Artissima collateral project ONE TORINO seems to arise from a similar cartographic impulse – but there’s no king now, or urban upheaval scheduled.
The name itself sounds like a new city plan, developed just through the imagination, with no help from cranes or wreckers. But what does ONE mean? Is it possible to magnetize the little constellations of metropolitan reality in one single patch? Yes, I think it is. The initiative aims at gathering together in a strong network all contemporary art institutions in town through a big, challenging show. Five public galleries are involved (Rivoli Castle, GAM, Merz Foundation, Sandretto Foundation and Cavour Palace), seven recognized curators invited from all over the world (among the others, our very own Andrew Berardini, New Museum’s Gary Carrion-Murayari and Kunsthalle Zürich’s Beatrix Ruf), with more than fifty artists exposing their works. Every institution hosts its own group exhibition, each independent but at the same time connected with the others in the circuitry. Here, just a brief description of those five shows, running till January 2014.
Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Breve Historia de la Arquitectura en Guatemala, 2011-13, Video: Byron Marmol; Courtesy Castello di Rivoli.
Illy Present/Future Award Exhibition @ Castello di Rivoli: The show features the works by the three ex aequo winners of the Illy Present/Future Award 2012, assigned during last year's edition of Artissima. The artists in question are Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (Guatemala), Vanessa Safavi (Switzerland), and Santo Tolone (Italy), presenting works especially created for the occasion across the third floor of the castle. The curators, members of the jury that awarded the Prize, are Andrew Berardini, Gregor Muir and Beatrix Ruf – the prestigious curatorship and the artists involved are a true guarantee of interest and high-quality (that’s worth a short trip to Rivoli, immediately outside Turin’s urban grid).
Repertory @ Palazzo Cavour: This is a large group show bringing together fifteen international artists, curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari. The title refers to Ian Breakwell’s video-work Repertory (1973) – the exhibition is conceived like a “list” of objects telling personal and social stories, in dialog with the baroque architecture and decor of the palace. Among the artists: Ericka Beckmann (renowned for her videos structured like video-games); Isabelle Cornaro (author of some cast works series, shaped starting from domestic and decorative objects); Elad Lassry (no need for introductions); and Andra Ursuta (the artist who exposed unsettling scale models of her childhood home during this year's Venice Biennale).
Ideal Standard Forms @ GAM: Curated by the French Anna Colin, the exhibition gathers together works by Edward Allington, Pablo Bronstein and Matthew Darbyshire, three London-based artists who met up for the first time at the Slade School of Fine Art in the late ’90s. The show irreverently reflects on cultural reproducibility and artistic conventions – just one heads up: you might run into Bronstein’s neoclassical public urinal. (Must see: Driant Zeneli’s new work on the museum’s ground floor).
Christian Mayer, Silene (seeds), 2013, Dye Transfer (Cyan/Yellow); Courtesy Galerie Mezzanin, Vienna / Photo: Georg Petermichl; At Palazzo Cavour.
Ways of Working: The Incidental Object @ Fondazione Merz: Conceived as the first chapter of a wider project, the show curated by Julieta González focuses on the themes of labor, work and production, as well as the motif of the artistic object. The exhibition juxtaposes a group of seminal creations from the ’60s and ’70s (like Enzo Mari’s democratic chair, or Stuart Brisley’s monumental Poly Wheel) with works by younger artists (among others, Gabriel Sierra and Andrea Zittel).
Veerle @ Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: this is ONE TORINO’s most conceptual exhibition. The curator Chris Fitzpatrick – Objectif Exhibition’s Director in Antwerp – envisions the show as a series of simultaneous and ever-evolving group shows, including not only works of art but also “oral reports, gossip, newspapers, web subjects, postal projects, guided visits,” etc. It sounds like a game about the meaning of exhibiting, curating and exposing, where artworks selected from the Foundation’s collection are matched with some works conceived by the artists invited (such as Trisha Donnelly, Fischli&Weiss, Rosemarie Trockel).
ONE TORINO’s mental map redefines the relations, the structure and the layout of Turin’s geography. The porches wanted by Victor Emmanuel I are no longer necessary – our imagination can be enough. It connects, rethinks and twists the city map. It gives birth to a new art cartography, where diverse galleries turn into one, imaginary museum. You just have to close your eyes, concentrate a bit and begin your own metropolitan dérive.
(Image on top: Stuart Brisley, Hille Fellowship, 1970 , Poly Wheel, Robin Day stacking chairs. 212 chairs circle; Courtesy the artist, domobaal, London and Mummery+Schnelle, London / Photo: Alex Agor.)