I’ve been invited to curate the “Evolution” section of Art Verona, a small yet brave art fair in Italy, that will take place from October 14 to 16, 2022. Evolution’s focus is on artists working with technologies, but in October 2022, a few days after the passing of Bruno Latour, 6 years and 283 days left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, evolution means, I believe, giving up with the dichotomy culture vs nature, human vs non-human, and with any idea of science-driven progress, technology-driven innovation. Evolution means hybridation, adaptation, learning from nature, questioning the present and exploring alternative timelines.
Although curating an art fair section is not just like making a show, I’m proud and heartened to see this view shared by the galleries and the artists on show. Evolution consists of six Italian galleries, presenting solo shows or small group exhibits. The Gallery Apart (Rome) offers a solo show with recent works by Marco Strappato, including a series of prints in which stock landscape photography is postproduced to a level that makes the subject unrecognizable, and turns these rather conventional images into mysterious fragments of a lunar landscape. Virginia Bianchi Gallery (Bologna) combines in a single environment the work of French artist Léa Porré and the duo Xenoangel (Marija Avramović e Sam Twidale), both concerned with alternative future pasts, speculative fiction and hybridization between the technological and the organic. Hosted by Gallleriapiù (Bologna), Emilio Vavarella presents a selection of works, most notably a number of abstract tapestries produced with a 19th century Jacquard loom, and translating sections of his DNA into a pattern that can potentially be (re)converted into genetic code (thus working both as a self portrait and a DNA bank). The machine gaze is explored by Galleria Michela Rizzo and Marignana Arte (Venice) in a joint booth displaying recent works by Quayola, who portrays the natural environment as seen by high-precision laser scanners and ultra-high-definition cameras, and Matthew Attard, who employs eye-tracking technology to explore embodiment and contemporary drawing. MLZ Art Dep (Trieste) presents works by Camilla Alberti, Vincenzo Marsiglia and The Cool Couple: three very different propositions sharing a common interest into the deep time of natural history and the archeology of the present. Finally, Cortesi Gallery (Milan) introduces its brainchild C-Verso, a Web3 platform for generative art, by displaying prints by US based artist ippsketch, who makes abstract drawings with a palette inspired by Werner’s Nomenclature of Colors (1814), a book that served as a classification guide before photography became commonplace and was used by Charles Darwin during his exploratory voyages. Live minting will be available at the booth, to allow visitors to familiarize with the processes of on chain generative codes. See you in Verona!