Artissima 2022: what’s new about painting?

Emanuela Zanon, Juliet Magazine, November 6, 2022

One of the most interesting aspects of contemporary art fairs, if they are adequately representative of the international scene, is the fact that they offer the visitor the opportunity to perceive trends and aesthetic orientations of artistic research before they are received and formalized by critical studies and museum retrospectives. What is offered, therefore, is not a recognition of the creative expression tout court, but a cross-section of the lines of force of the art system, captured in their making and still subject to second thoughts, deviations and reversals also linked to the unpredictable changes in the global economic-political situation. Although the era of individualism and the telematic Babel has erased the tendency of artists to recognize themselves in movements animated by shared values, fomenting the anxiety for the elaboration of an unmistakable expressive figure for its character of uniqueness, it is undeniable that some recurrences and convergences (more or less spontaneous or driven) distinguish the cultural identity of a given period and that their detection constitutes the first step to place the current artistic production in a perspective of historicization. Now that the twenty-ninth edition of Artissima (the only fair in Italy exclusively dedicated to experimental, research and cutting-edge art) is about to end, we have used the exhibition proposal that we have been able to observe as a field of investigation to identify some directions in where the most up-to-date research branches out.


From this edition of Artissima emerges, in our opinion, a great return of painting, in particular that of the figure, perhaps in compliance with the well-known cliché according to which it is the most classic of safe-haven assets in times of crisis (such as which are darkening the destinies of the world and of the western hemisphere in particular). After years in which we have been visually congested by a reworking lightened in intent and with updated materials of the geometric abstractionism of the historical avant-gardes by younger artists and by reassuring monochrome explorations of the possible shades of texture and brushstroke that a surface can accommodate, the human being returns therefore as a ductile pictorial object to be liquefied, dismembered, hybridized or deformed.