This is the next edition of the oldest trade fair in Italy, which opens in Bologna on May 12, 2022. Words to the director Simone Menegoi
The oldest trade fair in Italy takes place from 13 to 15 May 2022 (with preview and opening on Thursday the 12th) in the city of Bologna. With a format that physiologically changes due to the thousands of shifts that the pandemic imposes, and which places it in a different window than what is normally occupied. It will therefore be an unusual art fair for the veterans of the appointment, who will lose the scepter for the first appointment of the year (usually taking place between January and February) to become a spring event. But will it be like that forever? We asked the manager Simone Menegoi, which at the start line tells us how the first edition will be present after the stop imposed by Covid-19.
Arte Fiera reboots, finally present after two years and a digital edition. What have you learned in these two “virtual” years?
I have learned to appreciate even more, if possible, the direct experience of the works and the context in which they are placed (the space, the atmosphere, the other spectators …). And I understood that this experience can not be replaced by a computer screen. Not surprisingly, when it became clear that Arte Fiera 2021 could not take place in presence, we decided to present Playlist, an online format with a cultural and free style instead. The very idea of an online trade show did not convince us.
In fact, Arte Fiera was the last deal in the presence of 2020. What will separate the 2022 edition from that event before Covid?
Apart from the precautions that the health situation has hopefully made necessary (hopefully for a while), Arte Fiera 2022 wants to deliberately resume the thread of the discourse that was suspended in 2020. The content is new, the formats – sections curated, the special commission for an Italian mid-career artist, performances, etc. – remain the same. And the basic ambition remains unchanged: to be the reference fair for 20th-century and 21st-century Italian art and galleries.
What are the highlights of your program?
First of all, I’m happy with the list of galleries that see some good confirmations of 2020 and several new entries. Among the earliest I remember the Galleria d’Arte Maggiore, Richard Saltoun, Giorgio Persano; among the latter Bottegantica, Frittelli, Artemisia, Allegra Ravizza for the modern, Francesca Minini and Enrico Astuni for the contemporary. I’m proud to name a new, amazing soundtrack by Liliana Moro, White noise; I myself am curious to discover the actions devised for the pavilions of then Jacopo Benassi, Invernomuto, Muna Mussie, Luca Trevisani. And I think it was a good idea to dedicate the speech section exclusively to art book presentations. The result was a great program, filled with interesting titles and worthy guests.
In your opinion, how has the format of the fair changed after the pandemic, and how can you ensure its relevance?
I have the impression that not much has changed so far, am I wrong? After all, as long as the direct experience of art is still essential, and as long as it is useful for collectors, operators and the public to be able to meet many galleries in one place, I think we will still need trade fairs.
It will be a slightly different Arte Fiera for the insiders who have always remembered it as a deal in the snow …
For the first time in my life I will be going to Arte Fiera with short sleeves instead of a wool sweater! In fact, it is a kind of return to the origins: the fair was born in 1974 within the Bologna Trade Fair, which was even held in June.
With this new agenda, Arte Fiera loses its status as the first appointment of the year. What are the pros and cons of this new calendar?
The benefits are certainly the mild climate, the annual cycle of influenza and viruses in the waning phase, and people’s greater desire to move and travel, also the result of the two preceding factors. The disadvantages are that you compete with the many events that intrude on the spring calendar, both fairs and major international exhibitions.
Did the slip hurt you in any way?
No. Fortunately, with a few exceptions, we have not lost exhibitors due to changing dates.
What happens in the next issues? Will the position on the agenda in May remain like this?
After this edition, we will make the relevant evaluations. Not without asking the opinion of the most directly interested: the galleries.
There are no exhibitions or events at R Torna Arte Fiera Bologna. Interview with director Simone Menegoi during this period