Arte Fiera focus 3/3. Galleria d'Arte Maggiore: "the fair is not made by galleries, it is made by collectors."

Galleria d’Arte Maggiore g.a.m., a Bologna-based gallery founded in 1978 by Franco and Roberta Calarota, returns to Arte Fiera after an 11-year absence. Among the major Italian names for twentieth-century art, the g.a.m. presents itself at the 44th edition of the Bologna fair with an interesting selection of local artists, with continuous cross-references between one author and another, gaining considerable applause from critics and the public, not only for the choice of works, all of the highest quality, but also for the setting that enhances them: it seems to be in the hall of a museum (and besides, the g.a.m. has been collaborating for years with many international museums to organize top-notch exhibitions).

A selection, that of g.a.m., which includes a historical name and three contemporary artists who have paid homage to it. So four artists: Giorgio Morandi (Bologna, 1890 - 1964), Luigi Ontani (Vergato, 1943) Bertozzi&Casoni (Giampaolo Bertozzim Borgo Tossignano, 1957; Stefano Dal Monte Casoni, Lugo di Romagna, 1961) and Sissi (Daniela Olivieri; Bologna, 1977). And Morandi is indeed the protagonist, as explained by the owner and founder of g.a.m., Roberta Calarota, whom we met at the fair. “We proposed artists from the area who paid homage to Morandi, and expressed it with ceramics.” That is, the medium that so fascinated Morandi and became the protagonist of his celebrated still lifes. “So we have Bertozzi&Casoni, a duo that now needs no introduction and continues to collect successes, we have also seen it with the recent exhibition at MAMbo in Bologna, then we have Ontani who is from Vergato, therefore from the Bolognese Apennines, and is close to Grizzana Morandi, and Sissi, a very interesting artist instead who approached Morandi for the first time precisely with this homage.”

Luigi Ontani, Extrametaphysical Table (2015; polychrome majolica with reflex and pure gold finish, 143 x 53 x 53 cm)
Luigi Ontani, Tavolo extrametafisico (2015; polychrome majolica with reflex and pure gold finish, 143 x 53 x 53 cm)

Sissi, Living Nature (2019; gres painted in polychrome underglaze matte, 61 x 78 x 49 cm)
Sissi, Natura viva (2019; polychrome painted grés in opaque underglaze, 61 x 78 x 49 cm)

Bertozzi&Casoni, For Morandi (2019; polychrome ceramic, 36 x 20 x 18 cm)
Bertozzi&Casoni, Per Morandi (2019; polychrome ceramic, 36 x 20 x 18 cm)

All artists particularly in vogue during this period. Of Bertozzi&Casoni, it has been said: Ontani, an artist of great experience, continues his activities at a great pace, even causing discussion, as happened recently in his own Vergato, and Sissi, who just these days, until April 12, is the protagonist in the Emilia capital of Italy of an exhibition at Palazzo Bentivoglio that displays her sculpture-dresses. The languages of the three artists meet and balance each other in an excellent equilibrium, and the consequence, says Roberta Calarota, is that “the goal was hit, in the sense that our project was very much liked. We are among the top referents of Morandi, we do international fairs and take Morandi everywhere around the globe: he is a very satisfying author and we are really happy to have paid homage to him with three artists who created ceramics inspired by his works.”

The booth, therefore, was enjoyed by all. And it helps make this edition of Arte Fiera one of the best in recent years. Roberta Calarota agrees that director Simone Men egoi has done a great job: “Simone Menegoi in my opinion is very, very good,” she tells us. “He is really trying hard. If we are here and we came back after eleven years that they were not coming anymore, it is thanks to him, because he gave us the possibility to be able to do a project as we had thought: normally in fairs you do big group shows, you bring a lot of different works of many artists. We decided to do something different. And Menegoi, in my opinion, has an edge and also the perseverance to carry out his ideas: he was able to make many improvements. From the way we had met, from the way we had talked about it, it seems to me that he is improving and making great strides. And then he understood a fundamental aspect: that the fair is made by the collectors, not just the galleries. The galleries make the proposals and they all have to be decent. What a fair has to do, though, is bring in collectors, and I think he has understood that.”

Collectors who, moreover, were not lacking at the g.a.m. booth, despite the fact that the Galleria d’Arte Maggiore’s intention was to bring a kind of small exhibition to the fair, rather than to sell pieces. “We came to do this fair,” concludes Roberta Calarota, “without commercial expectations because the art market in Italy is going through a very particular moment. We work a lot with foreign countries and much less with Italy, so expectations were low also for this reason: despite everything, however, we have already sold something, despite the fact that our goal for this Arte Fiera was not so much to sell as to present our project. So far, therefore, it has been 100 percent successful for us.”

In the photos below: the booth of Galleria d’Arte Maggiore g.a.m. at Arte Fiera 2020.

Arte Fiera focus 3/3. Galleria d'Arte Maggiore:
Arte Fiera focus 3/3. Galleria d'Arte Maggiore: "the fair is not made by galleries, it is made by collectors."

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