Turin rises up along a natural handle, the point where two rivers – the Po and the Stura – join together. The town seems to find its refuge there, and grows to the South multiplying its reticulum of streets and blocks. It resembles a reserved beautiful lady, adorned with yellow autumn leaves and magnificent stone facades – she softly reclines on the Piedmontese hills and looks towards the Alps, whose embrace protects her from the Northern winds.
Turin, especially in autumn, is so charming and inspiring that it instills in the traveller such poetic ardors. But this city has a peculiar, uncommon disposition. I’ll try to describe it in a few lines.
First of all, not everybody knows that Turin was chosen as the Capital City immediately after Italy’s unification in the XIX century (and it remained so for only five years) – it owes its regal, orderly appearance to this reason. Also, only a few might be informed that the town is renowned as a notable esoteric center, located at the vertex of the magic triangle which connects it to Lyons and Prague (it’s not coincidence that the painter Giorgio De Chirico once defined it as “the most intense, enigmatic and unsettling city not in Italy but in the whole world”). Think of the Mole Antonelliana: a weird former synagogue, now the symbol of the town. If Nostradamus had been able to admire it during his stay in Turin in 1556, he probably would have compared the monument’s high pinnacle to a supernatural catalyzer, equipped to capture celestial energies. Instead, I like to imagine the Mole as the beam of an overturned compass, whose needle is the building’s majestic steeple pointing towards a heavenly Masonic eye.
Adelita Husni-Bey, Room for a Void part 1, 2010-2011; Courtesy the artist and Laveronica arte contemporanea.
That’s not all. A former car factory in the city hosts on its top a huge race track next to a panoramic art gallery – the first one is the old FIAT’s testing circuit, the second is the cube of the Pinacoteca Agnelli (called “the chest” by its architect, Renzo Piano). The building in question, now used as a center for fairs, is the Lingotto: next to it is located the Oval, where Artissima takes place every year in November.
Ranked among the top five contemporary art fairs worldwide – and undoubtedly the leading art fair in Italy – Artissima, under the artistic direction of Sarah Cosulich Canarutto, features 190 galleries this year (eighteen more than the previous edition). The most powerful Italian galleries (Massimo De Carlo, Lia Rumma, Continua, Massimo Minini and Franco Noero), as usual, answer the roll; several prestigious international names are present too, like David Kordansky, Mot International, Isabella Bortolozzi and Herald St.
Patrizio Di Massimo, Curtain #9 (Lust), 2013; Courtesy the artist and T293, Napoli/Roma
Beside the “historical” unit called Back to the Future, the Present/Future section is devoted to emerging talents – it’s the most interesting area inside the fair. Here, the works by twenty-five international young artists, chosen by a team of curators, are presented by their respective galleries. The most challenging artist in the section will be awarded the Illy Present/Future Prize. In the list a few attractive names pop up, such as Patrizio di Massimo (the London-based Italian artist represented by T293 Naples), Nora Schultz (the German sculptor featured by Isabella Bortolozzi), and Adelita Husni-Bey, the Italian-Libyan artist who realized two years ago the enchanting video Postcard from the Desert.
And, in this 20th edition, there’s a news about the guided tours program: for the first time the fair hosts the Walkie-Talkies, a series of brief “itinerant” conversations between curators, focusing on particular artworks, artists or expressive languages – a way to involve the public and make their visits exciting. The project is coordinated by the London-based curator Filipa Ramos – a guarantee for its success.
In case it wasn’t, you might always go for a ride on the race track on the Lingotto’s top (or, if you prefer, go round the Mole to benefit from a divine, esoteric energy).
(Image on top: Armin Linke, Mole Antoneliana, 2005; Courtesy Vistamare and the artist.)