Contemporary art is making way for the younger generations. Despite the economic crisis and uncertainties of our times, there is room in Italy for experimentation with new art languages. “We can say that even organizations not usually involved in this subject—such as businesses, luxury hotels, even ancient art museums—are drawing closer to contemporary art in order to attract younger users. There is great excitement in this sector. 2023 is going to be interesting,” says Valentina Ciarallo, art historian and independent curator, talking to Mag about contemporary art scenarios, mainly in Rome, the capital of antiquity
"For example, the “Roma Arte e Nuvola” Art Fair had its second edition this year, obtaining great success with the public. Rome’s major Art District is the historic San Lorenzo, a stone's throw from La Sapienza University, which is always teeming with young people. It is no surprise that the first Italian Soho House opened here. The private Soho Club (which you can join with a fee) gathers creativity from all directions; since its start in November 2021, it has already organized many fashion, design, and art events."
Plus, "there are more than 50 artists' studios in San Lorenzo, a series of very interesting and lively galleries, independent spaces that are into research and promotion. One of them is Ombrelloni, named after an abandoned factory of beach umbrellas whose sign was left behind, owned by Alessandro Calizza, a self-taught artist and creator of Sa.L.A.D (San Lorenzo Art District). Sa.L.A.D is an association that organizes meetings, art show previews, and artist studio tours to learn about new creative trends.”
As Valentina Ciarallo affirms, “Photography was all the rage fifteen years ago. Now, painting is back, including the figurative and all the languages that make use of manual skills. As everything else, the art world is moving very fast. Even NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are on the decline. The high prices that were reached two years ago have now decreased, and so have the value of works that you own only virtually. Gallery owners are on the lookout for what will happen next.”
There is a long list of emerging talents in painting, which the public appreciates the most. They are young artists devoted to their profession who attended Academies of Fine Arts and studied abroad.
Valentina Ciarallo smiles and says, “Of course, we can only name a few. Let's start with 26-year-old Pietro Moretti from Rome. He is the son of acclaimed director Nanni Moretti. He studied art in England and is recently back living in Italy. He is a painter and watercolorist. A few months ago, one of his paintings became part of the prestigious Rivoli Castle Museum collection in Turin. Another very interesting artis is Edoardo Piermattei, 31, hailing from Marche region. He lives in Turin, where he reinvents the ancient fresco technique by using pigmented cement. One of his works was to decorate an apartment inside the seventeenth-century Palazzo Pannitteri in Sambuca di Sicilia, which you can now rent on Airbnb.”
Still in Sicily, the artist Diego Miguel Mirabella, born in Enna 35 years ago, is the winner of various awards. His agent is Norberto Ruggeri's Sales studio in Rome. His passion is the ancient ornamental technique of Moroccan mosaics. “He creates poetic works by adding words and having Moroccan artisans realize them, thus adding new value to that country's tradition.”
Many are the women artists worthy of notice, the likes of Pamela Diamante, born in 1985, who recently exhibited at the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation and created a site-specific work for the new Building D of the Symbiosis business district in Milan, owned by Covivio. There is also Irene Fenara, born in 1990, who uses technology to change the perception of reality.
"The Italian-Bosnian Adelisa Selinbasic, born in 1996, is another talented young woman who doesn’t see herself as a feminist but works on the female body without hiding but rather enhancing its flaws,” Ciarallo says. “Her models, mostly her friends, resemble Auguste Renoir's bathers. They display strong thighs that she paints with beautiful pastel hues. Successful artist Romina Bassu, 40, from Rome, works with female stereotypes from magazines of the Fifties, such as perfect housewives and ever smiling pin-up girls. Her works are found in large collections. There are also artists who like to cross over into music and fashion, like Pietro Ruffo, 45, from Rome, who did the artwork for Italian singer-songwriter Lorenzo Jovanotti’s fifteenth studio album, named Il disco del Sole.
Together with Romina Bassu and Diego Miguel Mirabella, Pietro Ruffo is among the 49 artists who participated in the project Carta Bianca. Una nuova storia (Carte blanche. A new story), edited by Valentina Ciarallo for the famous magazine Vogue Italia. It was back in April 2020, when the nightmare of the pandemic had just begun. The magazine came out with an all-white cover, no images. “I thought the world had stopped. I asked the artists to reinterpret the cover, each in their own way. An immense wealth of creativity. I'm working on a catalog, so it won’t be lost.”
Valentina Ciarallo, like Roberto Casamonti, sees the future of contemporary art with rose tinted glasses. “Big international art fairs are doing well in terms of sales. Major Roman museums such as the Macro, the Maxxi, and the National Gallery of Modern Art, have excellent programs for 2023. Even the scientific museums of Rome’s EUR district, known as Museum of Civilizations, whose heritage is little-known but invaluable, are getting updated, thanks to the installations and performative languages of new director Andrea Viliani, whose contemporary background includes having been general and artistic director of the Donnaregina Foundation for contemporary arts/Madre Napoli Museum.”
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