A Quick Guide to Turin’s Contemporary Art Week

Turin lights up with new exhibitions at major cultural venues as the contemporary art fair Artissima kicks off.

Portuguese artist Diana Policarpo’s practice traverses the various disciplines of history, cultural anthropology, and biogenetics, combining the genre of documentary together with speculative fiction. “Liquid Transfers” is a multichannel audio video installation now on view at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin.

This week is all about art in Turin. Until 6 November, Italy’s fourth-largest city hosts its Art Week and during Artissima, one of the leading contemporary art fairs in Italy, a plethora of events and exhibitions is taking place throughout the week. Here’s a selection of what you shouldn’t miss if you are planning a weekend in the Italian city just 55 minutes from Milan.

Castello di Rivoli: Olafur Eliasson “Trembling horizons”

Simultaneously with an exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Olafur Eliasson presents “Trembling horizons” in Turin. Inside a new series of six immersive wedge-shaped optical device-like artworks, visitors can watch complex patterns unfold in fluid motion within a 360-degree panoramic space that seems more expansive than physically possible through optical illusions created by mirrors and light projections. About the artworks, the artist said: “They open up new horizons within their reflective surfaces, unfolding spaces in which you encounter waves, horizon lines, reflections, bands of light diffracted into the colours of the visible spectrum, and your own shadows and those of other visitors multiplied.” Eliasson was inspired by scientific instruments, taking into consideration the ambivalent role they have played throughout history. Produced over the last year, the new works on display propose a closer relationship between body and mind, recognizing the value of subjective and sensorial experience.

Galleria d’Arte Moderna: Chiara Camoni and Atelier dell’Errore “Hic Sunt Dracones”

“Hic sunt Dracones” consists of two intertwined paths by Chiara Camoni and by the collective Atelier dell’Errore. It is a story in which two very different artistic practices confront and respond to each other. The exhibition acknowledges the presence of metamorphic thought in contemporary art or, in its most fertile territories, those straddling its extreme border, where cartographers would once have written their caveats and drawn dragons of every species and shape. Under the direction of Luca Santiago Mora, Atelier dell’Errore brings together the talent of young artists with unusual neurological characteristics and a natural propensity for the rambling thoughts of what the ancients called madness: the primary form of metamorphic thought. Chiara Camoni, on the other hand, has a natural connection to ideas that differ from the cultural orthodoxies because she is connected to earlier matrices. She can transform the universe toward the feminine and, in doing so, she reveals our foundations’ long-forgotten roots. She replaces Apollo with the serpent nymphs who prophesied at Delphi before him, leaving out the god. She sets aside the custom of the great masters to rediscover even older creative movements, preserved in both nature and our ancestors.

Pinacoteca Agnelli: “Beyond the Collection”

Last year, Pinacoteca Agnelli started the project “Beyond the Collection”: a work from its collection creates a dialogue with other masterpieces on loan from prestigious national and international institutions. This year, for the second edition of the project, Giambattista Tiepolo’s famous “Halberdier in a Landscape” becomes the starting point for Simon Starling’s latest exhibition project. With photography, sculpture and installations, the British conceptual artist imagines reuniting the canvas with its missing part and rereads the narrative of Tiepolo’s painting identifying in the cutting of the canvas a metaphor with the history of the context and the collection.

The first Italian solo show of the US-American artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa is curated by Claude Adjil and Judith Waldmann with Hans Ulrich.

OGR Torino: ARTHUR JAFA “Rhamesjafacoseyjafadrayton”

The first Italian solo show of the US-American artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa is curated by Claude Adjil and Judith Waldmann with Hans Ulrich and brings together recent works that have never been shown in Italy before. Through his immersive and experimental cinematic experiences, Arthur Jafa’s multidisciplinary works challenge and question prevalent cultural presumptions regarding race and identity. A recurring question underscores his multifaceted practice: how can visual media and objects transmit the equivalent “power, beauty, and alienation” that is embedded within Black music in the United States? “Rhamesjafacoseyjafadrayton” focuses on Arthur Jafa’s latest video work “Aghdra,” which was previously exhibited at the LUMA Foundation in Arles and wraps the visitor in computer-generated imagery of opulent and mesmerizing black waves. A magmatic sea enhances the culture of Blackness with a series of experiential situations of musical vibrations that induces audiences to a state of trans and to get lost in this continuously evolving sea under an eternal sunset.

Fondazione Merz: Michal Rovner “Alert”

With “Alert,” Michal Rovner creates an immersive experience both indoors and outdoors with site-specific installations. The works reverberate an unfamiliar dimension, a sense of fear, alertness, and primal powers. In response to the refugees and displacement crisis, Rovner spent nights in dark fields, looking for an encounter with jackals, the others, the hidden. Rovner constructs a non-palpable space, enhanced by the powerful iconographic legacy, for the jackal is also Anubis, the canis aureus, the mythological god who accompanies the souls to the afterlife, the gatekeeper between life and death. The artist reflects on the possibility of a profound relationship with what we are led to fear and push away.

Parco Arte Vivente: Regina José Galindo “Tierra”

The exhibition traces the 20-year career of the Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo by focusing on the ways in which each of her contacts with natural elements should be read from an intersectional and militant perspective. Among all the natural elements, the earth that gives the exhibition its title has its own particular status: Galindo’s approach eschews any essentialist declination of the relationship between the earth and the female body, anticipating and nonetheless influencing the most recent trends in ecofeminist artistic research. The exhibition displays the results of an approach that has evolved over the years, from the initial focus on Guatemalan socio-political issues to the site-specific attention to the contexts and communities with which the artist interacts.

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: “Backwards Ahead,” Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s “Air Pressure (A diary of the sky),” and Diana Policarpo’s “Liquid Transfers”

The “Backwards Ahead” exhibition, which features a selection of works that are related to the concepts of time, history, and evidence, is one of three new exhibitions on display at the Fondazione Sandretto for the art week. The artists in the show challenge the idea of linear time that underlies the Western sense of history through the languages of sculpture, installation, and photography. The second exhibition, “Air Pressure (A diary of the sky),” by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, was organized by Irene Calderoni and Amanda Sroka. It examines the Lebanese airspace, particularly the pervasive and severe noise pollution that affects Lebanese people’s quality of life and is referred to by the artist as “atmospheric violence.” The sky over Lebanon is invaded daily by a foreign power as unauthorized planes and drones of the Israeli defence forces carry out an ephemeral occupation of the sky, constant oppression from above producing acoustic frequencies that are physically and psychologically aggressive. Portuguese artist Diana Policarpo presents the “Liquid Transfers.” Her practice traverses the various disciplines of history, cultural anthropology, and biogenetics, combining the genre of documentary together with speculative fiction. “Liquid Transfers” is a multichannel audio video installation that follows the video essay format. The work constitutes a new episode of long-term research of the artist devoted to the universe of mushrooms and the economic, social, and political implications of their use throughout modern and contemporary history.

Jessica Capretti is a frequent contributor to Milano Art Guide since 2021. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and has worked on several projects including “L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in Paris. She lives and works in Milan.