By Giorgia Ferro
Founded in 2013 by Simona Gavioli, the independent Art Fair, Setup dedicated to emerging contemporary art, returned to animate the Bologna Art Weekdays from the 31st of January to the 3rd of February.
Setup indicates the intentions of the fair: to set in motion a new process to rethink the art system. Since the beginning, the fair has been distinguished by the format that involves three key figures of the contemporary art system – artist, curator-critic and gallery owner, fostering a collaborative system of interaction between these figures. The exhibitors are asked to present a curatorial project with at least one under 35-year-old artist, presented by a critical text by an under 35-year-old curator thus promoting the involvement of under 35-year-olds in this sector.
Hosted in the sumptuous halls of Palazzo Pallavicini, this years edition of the Fair was rich with novelty and exploration into new tendencies amidst surrealist interpretations and a selection of mixed techniques and installations.
The artists were asked to explore the theme of ITACA. Itaca is the island of Ulysses, where his adventures come to an end. Setup Fair is an island in itself, one that attracts artists, gallery owners, curators, collectors and enthusiasts to its port in a cultural melting pot that is of inspiration to aspiring artists and curators alike.
The fair includes various prizes: a prize for the best curatorial text and an acquisition prize for the winning artist. The announcement of the winners of the Awards, took place on Friday, February 1st in the stands of the winning galleries.
The SetUp Award for best under 35-year-old curator, was awarded to Federica Franchini presented by the Gallery “BALBI” MODERN ART of Mantova, author of the critical text “THE JOURNEY AS EXPLORATION” for the ability to support an incisive and relevant work by Chiara Bonetti and Leonardo Balbi. One of the works on display was a white protruding canvas, with slashes running through it, reminiscent of Fontana’s early works an exploration into the transformations of the art form and its motion.
A jury of experts also chose the artist Denis Riva with the work “Nuova Sorgente” (CELLAR CONTEMPORARY Gallery) for his undisputed ability to enhance paper without distorting it, by making it stand out naturally amidst dreamlike depictions of the human form and their relationship to nature and animals through a series of striking mixed technique works of art, both intimate and intriguing.
Whereas the SetUp Award for best under 35 artists, went to Thomas Scalco presented by the gallery VILLA CONTEMPORANEA of Monza and his geometric paintings. Through his works, he gives life to apparently schematic compositions which are mysteriously symbolic in equilibrium between the corporeal and the bodiless. Thomas Scalco’s paintings appear as fleeting visions, poised between two realities, in which shapes in geometric mutation merge with nature in a game of references.
Another artist worth mentioning, is the Bolognese based Tommaso Buldini, his large canvases depicting apocalyptic sequences, with an explosion of colours and what seem to be symbolic rituals, an expression of the angst of today’s man with references to the work of Hieronymus Bosch.