From knickers stretched out to fags on shelves, here's the worst of Arte Fiera 2020 in Bologna

After publishing our top ten of the best of Arte Fiera 2020, which reaches this year’s edition number 44 and takes place in the new pavilions 15 and 18 of the Bologna Fair, today we propose the review of the worst: yesterday we had pointed out that the quality in some places was discontinuous and that some proposals were repetitive. Therefore, we felt it was interesting to go deeper. Fortunately, the choice was difficult, because this year the level was quite sustained, and Simone Menegoi, together with his staff, did an excellent job. However, not everything seems to us to have reached the threshold of sufficiency: here are the stands that we hope to see with better proposals at future fairs.

1. Flora Bigai (Hall 15, B/48)
The Pietrasanta gallery proposed a booth this year with artists too far apart: Damien Hirst, Sergio Fermariello, Julian Opie, Mario Ceroli, Yves Dana, Hongbo Li. Total absence of a curatorial perspective, and an exhibition that seemed too confusing. A more researched approach would be desirable for a fair as important as Bologna.

Works by Fermariello, Li and Hirst that Flora Bigai brings to Arte Fiera this year
Works by Fermariello, Li and Hirst that Flora Bigai brings to Arte Fiera this year.

2. Lara and Rino Costa (Pav. 15, B/33)
In our opinion the most kitschy booth: Umberto Cavenago’s marble motorcycle and Amanda Chiarucci’s paper sculptures (inspired, for reasons that escape us, by Leonardo da Vinci), are in our opinion sufficient reasons for the title.

Cavenago's motorcycle on display at Lara and Rino Costa's booth
Cavenago’s motorcycle displayed at Lara and Rino Costa’s booth.

3. Fifty-six (Hall 15, B/37).
We took the Bolognese gallery Cinquantasei as an example of all the exhibitors who propose, every year, stands that are too repetitive (due to the fact that Cinquantasei’s set-up was practically identical to last year’s, and the selection similar but less interesting). Paraphrased: too many galleries always bring the usual De Chirico, the usual Guttuso, the usual Spatialists, and so on. Cinquantasei, this year, did a good job with Balla’s works: in our opinion there could have been a focus on fewer names (at Cinquantasei’s booth, Balla, Carrà, De Chirico, Guttuso, and Sironi alternated) but with a more curatorial slant.

De Chirico's works at the Cinquantasei booth.
De Chirico’s works at the Cinquantasei booth.

4. Contini (Hall 15, B/37)
The Venetian gallery has been offering the same selection for a long time (this year Mario Arlati, Enzo Fiore, Julio Larraz, Manolo Valdés, Pablo Atchugarry, Igor Mitoraj are on display), in a booth that is always crowded, not very organic, with too many works. It is the largest booth in the entire Arte Fiera (so at least it seems to us from the floor plan), but also the one that seemed less orderly and less up to the task.

Contini's booth
Contini’s booth

5. Primo Marella (Hall 15, A/2)
One is greeted by a work with geometries by He Wei but then veers toward the textiles of Andrianomearisoa, the hyperrealism of Besta Betrizal, the street art of Farhan Siki. A scenic booth but whose underlying idea was not apparent.

Primo Marella's booth
Primo Marella’s booth.

6. Eos Factory (Hall 15, B/34).
The Milanese gallery brings to Bologna a single show by Corrado Levi, Frustate al rosso. But the underpants spread out a bit all over the booth, which we still struggle to understand, catch the eye (and not in a good way).

The Eos Factory booth
The Eos Factory booth

7. P420 (Hall 15, B/7)
Adelaide Cioni’s uniformly fielded fabric icicles had already made an appearance at Artissima and did not excite. P420 now brings completely similar works to Arte Fiera, but this time the booth is all about her. In the Pittura XXI section there is better.

Two works by Adelaide Cioni at the P420 booth.
Two works by Adelaide Cioni at P420’s booth.

8. Antonella Cattani (Hall 15, C/42)
The South Tyrolean gallery’s choice comes down to two artists, Claude Viallat and Antonella Zazzera. Two unconvincing names that, moreover, do not even seem to dialogue well with each other. And again, feeling of déjà-vu.

One of Viallat's works at Antonella Cattani's booth
One of Viallat’s works at Antonella Cattani’s booth.

9. Poggiali (Hall 15, D/21)
Poggiali’s “trade show” selection is, for years, pretty much always the same, yet the Florentine gallery seems to us to have more material to work with. The quality is there but the booth is always too repetitive.

Zorio's work at Poggiali's booth
Zorio’s work at Poggiali’s booth

10. Matèria (Hall 15, D/25)
Yes, it’s true that Giuseppe De Mattia (the protagonist of the only show offered by Matèria) has been working for years on greengrocer’s wares, but only a month after Cattelan’s exploit at Art Basel, the display of two fags on shelves could have been avoided. Even if one of them is fake.

De Mattia's fennels at the Matèria booth.
De Mattia’s fags at the Matèria booth.

From knickers stretched out to fags on shelves, here's the worst of Arte Fiera 2020 in Bologna
From knickers stretched out to fags on shelves, here's the worst of Arte Fiera 2020 in Bologna

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