Long-necked blue cranes lurch over ancient churches filled with forged relics. Stiffly clothed bourgeois stroll under weeping Chinese maples, leaves burned and creamed, and past high-booted prostitutes shivering in the autumn chill. A woman in a distant window waves to an unseen lover. The symphony of umbrellas opening as travelers step out from the underground. Click, whoosh, click, whoosh, click-click, whoosh.
Torino is my favorite autumn city. The wide regal streets ringing with trolleys, the reflection of neon off wet pavement, the cool Po snaking past the grand piazza of Vittorio Emanuele and the nippled dome of the Grande Madre, the Big Mama. In the crisp fall, you believe this is the town that Nietzsche composed Thus Spake Zarathustra and where De Chirico went chasing after his ghost and discovered his own metaphysical spaces.
Rania Bellou, Looking For An Accidental Beauty III, 2012; Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Atene - Salonicco. At Artissima, Main Section.
With support from the city and province, Artissima, Torino’s addition to the art fair circuit, has always been as much a festival as a fair with a high emphasis on exchange, talks, and exhibitions, even more so this year with the launch of One Torino (which yours truly is lucky enough to contribute to), a series of exhibitions opening at all the city's museums during Artissima. And though the high, clear roof of the Grand Palais in Paris during their autumnal fairs is hard to beat, the undulating glass wall of the Lingotto lets in enough cool fall light to make you feel like you’re not trapped in the industrial carpet and staticky suits of a convention center.
Art fairs tend to be summery affairs, but I can’t imagine Artissima in any other time than the fall, in the middle of truffle season and when the heat of northern Italy settles into cool dew as the air from the Alps slips down onto the plains. I happily pull my long coat closer as the cool fall air kisses my cheeks, stepping into the crowd on their way into the fair.
(Image on top: Gea Casolaro, Still here_AngelA_Pont Alexandre III, 2009/2013; Courtesy The Gallery Apart, Roma. At Artissima, New Entries Section.)