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The 23rd edition of miart takes place April 13–15 in Milan, bringing together 186 galleries from 19 countries and showcasing both established and emerging artists. Some galleries will present solo or thematic booths, as well as works in dialogue across time and place. Whitewaller spoke with Alessandro Rabottini, now in his second year as artistic director of the fair.
WHITEWALLER: Are there any updates to this year’s edition that you’re looking forward to?
ALESSANDRO RABOTTINI: What I wanted to do with my team was to consolidate our parameters and deepen the chances of dialogue between contemporary art and design and the art of the past century, and this is the reason why we explored our seven existing sections under a sort of common conceptual umbrella, which is “The present has many histories.” We look at a painting from the forties and at a video installation from an artist in his thirties equally from our current perspective. At miart, we try to provide an arena for this very fruitful crossing between disciplines: Ultimately, collectors are looking for beauty, depth, and value, and a sensitive gaze can find these qualities in both visual arts and design.
WW: miart 2018 has a new team of curators and selection committee members. How will these changes affect the overall feel of the fair?
AR: Thanks to the vision of London-based writer and curator Hugo Macdonald, we expended the international appeal of our limited-edition design section, Object, which for the first time will see the participation of galleries like Ammann from Cologne; Feldt from Copenhagen; Atelier Jespers from Brussels; Elisabetta Cipriani, Matter of Stuff, and Portuondo from London; together with returning galleries from the flourishing Milanese scene like Dimoregallery, Erastudio, Luisa Delle Piane, and Rossella Colombari. Hugo has brought together a very diverse selection with an exciting mix of contemporary experimentations and solid modern collectable pieces.
For the Emergent section, which every year gathers 20 young galleries with a specific focus on emerging artists, we worked with Attilia Fattori Franchini, an independent curator whose energy is contagious. She helped us to shape a selection of artists and works that are not afraid to be exuberant and challenging, ranging from experimental media to much more intimate and personal positions.
WW: What can we expect from this year’s edition of Generations, featuring a dialogue between generations curated by Lorenzo Bendetti?
AR: I must admit that I could not be more proud of this section. It will be gorgeous. Important works by masters of postwar Italian art like Alberto Burri, Claudio Parmiggiani, and Achille Perilli will create unexpected dialogues with international contemporary artists such as Sterling Ruby, Cornelia Parker, and Joseph Montgomery, while the medium of photography will be explored in many different directions through new and historical works by Jochen Lempert, Luisa Lambri, Lisetta Carmi, and Linda Fregni Nagler. Sculpture is today experimenting with many different materials, and I am glad that we will exhibit international positions with the likes of Alicja Kwade, Tomás Saraceno, Kasia Fudakowski, and Jarbas Lopes, while the current state of figurative painting will be represented by Birgit Megerle.
WW: Outside of the fair, what are you looking forward to seeing most during Milan Art Week?
AR: Some of the most poignant voices in the landscape of contemporary art will have solo exhibitions at major Milanese institutions, and I can mention Matt Mullican and Eva Kot’átková at Pirelli HangarBicocca; Torbjørn Rødland at Fondazione Prada Osservatorio; Teresa Margolles at PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea; Sol LeWitt at Fondazione Carriero; Jimmie Durham at Fondazione Adolfo Pini; and Kimsooja at the Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio. I am particularly honored that the Guggenheim decided to inaugurate its group exhibition “But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa” during our week—it will open at GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna.
Performance will definitely have a presence at the Milan Art Week, with Christian Marclay performing for two nights at Museo del Novecento within the context of the “Furla Series,” with the durational performance by Guido van der Werve at FuturDome, Will Benedict at Converso, and Marcello Maloberti at the GAM. And I can’t wait to unveil the collaborative performative piece that will see choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni and video artists Masbedo onstage at the Triennale Teatro dell’Arte on April 11 and 12, fusing dance, film, music, and photography.