Arte Fiera 2018, Bologna

Joan Jonas
Courtesy Galleria Alessandra Bonomo


Arte Fiera, Italy’s oldest Modern and Contemporary Art Show has been the focal point of the country’s art market for 42 years. This latest edition will be held from February 2nd to 5th, with a preview on February 1st. 152 major galleries have been selected to turn BolognaFiere’s Halls 25 and 26 into a huge art platform and an opportunity to debate modern and contemporary artistic expression. In addition, some 30 operators from the publishing, graphic art and creativity sectors bring the total number of exhibitors to 182. Angela Vettese, now in her second year as Artistic Director of the trade show, continues her curatorial approach introduced in 2017, encouraging in-depth investigation of individual artists and furthering the debate on topical art themes.

With its main focus on the choices made by Italian galleries, Arte Fiera 2018 confirms its role as Italy’s premier national art show, reinforcing its role as a venue for cultural debate and an event that melds seamlessly with the urban fabric of Bologna, a city renowned as a seat of learning and a seedbed of experimentation and game-changing developments. Arte Fiera has brought together other key players on the Bologna scene such as FICO, the Film Library, the Opera House, museums and private foundations, the University and many private individuals.

Arte Fiera 2018 builds on last year’s achievements by adding important new features. On 2 and 3 February, an international meeting designed by Angela Vettese with Clarissa Ricci entitled Between Exhibition and Fair: entre chien et loup, organized with Venice’s IUAV University and under the aegis of Bologna University, will consider the increasing hybridization between exhibitions and trade shows, a hot topic but one that remains still largely unexplored, perhaps on account of the continued resistance of historians, critics, and theorists to relate art and the market. Developed by Clarissa Ricci, Cristina Baldacci and Camilla Salvaneschi, the meeting will be attended by academics, artists, critics, curators, editors and other art system operators. Speakers include names like Terry Smith, Bruce Altshuler and John Rajchman.

The main section includes the new Modernity sub-section providing an in-depth look into new areas. The term ‘Modernity’ is intended in its original etymological sense as a Latin word signifying ‘means’ rather than our current concept of ‘modernity’ as modern art, i.e. early 20th century art. 11 booths will have small personal shows of artists deserving greater attention. The underlying idea of Modernity is to lead visitors through a line-up of artists who, although from different periods, countries and artistic movements, have created particularly relevant work, which courageous gallerists were prescient enough to recognize and show.

With the exception of Nueva Vista, Arte Fiera 2018 makes no distinction in its exhibition layout between modern and contemporary art. Sections and genres are presented in an organic mix to provide visitors with a stimulating series of works from today and yesterday that dialogue in harmony, going beyond now obsolete lines of demarcation, and encouraging viewers to adopt a new critical approach.


Maria Lai, Le Formiche Rosse, 1991
Courtesy Nuova Galleria Morone


Regina Josè Galindo, Combustible, 2014
Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery di Ida Pisani


Faig Ahmed, Limits, 2016
Courtesy Galleria Montoro 12


Arte Fiera | International Exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Art
VIP and Press Preview 1 February 12 am–5 pm (press and invitations)
Opening 1 February 5–9pm (press and invitations)
2–5 February 2018

BolognaFiere | Viale della Fiera 20, Bologna
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