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The exhibition seeks to investigate the historical and social implications of the plant world in light of the ever-increasing resurgence of “green” as an agent of change in relation to current economic processes. To place a plant within a historical context means to consider not only its biological constitution, but also the social and political factors which see it already positioned at the centre of the earliest forms of economic globalisation

There were a few works i didn’t care about (mostly the ones by Jeff Koons), a couple that surprised me (and that includes one by Jeff Koons) and many more i found rather uplifting. The Murderme collection is pure entertainment. Death is made dramatic and sometimes even cheerful. The artists have names most people have heard about. I found the exhibition curious and fascinating, it’s that contemporary art world I find charming but also utterly alien to me

An art fair is not the best place to discover works related to science, technology or politics. And when there are indeed such works on offer, they are not easy to spot. Galleries exhibiting at art fairs don’t usually accompany the artwork with a text explaining what the piece is about. In fact, several galleries don’t even write down the name of the artists they exhibit. You have to go and ask them. Which i do when i’m desperate but most of the time, i just want to keep on walking from gallery to gallery (there were 172 of them this year at Artissima) and see the rest of the show before my head explodes.

I did however, spot a few gems at Artissima this year

On Thursday i was in Turin and visited For President at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. The timely, informative and a tad star-struck exhibition examines the American election campaigns, its calculated emotional moments, theatrical strategies and incestuous relationship with media. Part of the show is also looking at the interest Italy (and with it, the rest of Europe) is having for the American event, from a very brief article on page 3 of a daily newspaper in 1868 to the current front pages

Another edition of the Artissima art fair just ended in Turin, another Artissima report on wmmna. I’ve always found Artissima brainier, edgier and less art supermarket than other art fairs. I thought my first visit to Frieze in London last month would dethrone the Turin fair from its pedestal but that didn’t happen. Frieze is noy as avant-garde as its reputation wants it. At least not anymore

The drama is set in a fictional future that looks very much like today’s London. Here, however, all exchange transactions and social interactions are overseen by a system called ‘the Spirit’. The film explores a world in which the self is reduced to physical biology, directly subject to the needs of capital. Hotels offer bed-warming servants with every room, people are fined for not preventing foreseeable illness, weight watching foods eat the digester from the inside and the unemployed repay their debt to society in physical energy

In 2009, Jens Haaning went to Albania, caught dozens of pigeons, put them in cardboard boxes, loaded the boxes in the truck of his car and drove to Greece. He released the birds in a square of Thessaloniki where pigeons usually gather. Simple. Yet he had performed an illegal act: bringing live animals inside the European Union borders is forbidden to avoid “the transmission of diseases to either the public or other animals” unless you carry the relevant health certificates. Yet, pigeons, migratory birds, even seeds cross borders every day

The last edition of Artissima was good. But then i’d usually say such thing because i love art fairs. The booth ladies always wear fancy, sexy attires, none of them has ever heard about the existence of art blogs, i see free booze in my fancy press bag, the concept of a fair makes it possible to ask questions you’d never dare to ask in a gallery or museum, and there are more artworks than even i can absorb

The walls of this experimental museum are built with compressed stacks of plastic, paper, metal, fabric and wood. All the material is recycled. The books of the library are kept inside disused fridges, tables are installed on top of upside-down washing machines. A huge fan regularly blows wind that moves the fabric walls of the corridor. A rudimentary skywalk allows visitors to get a better idea of the architecture of the museum

The show is indeed disturbing. Not so much for the images but for the issues they uncover: domestic violence, decaying corpses, mass graves for livestock, post-war trauma, pollution, nonconformist sexual practices, etc. Curators Germano Celant and Melissa Harris have hung on the white walls of the Triennale 260 pictures from 24 contemporary photographers. Each of these images follow the footsteps of the photos which emerged from Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s and were so shocking that they played a crucial role in changing public opinion about the conflict

I spent the afternoon at the press preview of Artissima, Turin’s contemporary art fair. Since i’m still uploading the hundreds of pictures i took, going through the catalogue, trying to identify the performances and screenings worth attending over the coming days and wondering whether i shouldn’t get away from this screen and head to the Share festival, i’m going to do the lazy thing and give you an easy preview of Artissima using a selection of the press images i received a few hours ago

After the moving and now iconic series The Hyena and Other Men and the stunning
Nollywood, Hugo’s latest work, Permanent Error, portrays the people, animals and landscape of a dumping ground for computers and electronic waste from Europe and the US. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, in Ghana, is a shocking contrast to the better faster shinier life promised by the advances of technology

“Not for Nothing” is a typical expression in Philadelphia. It is not by chance that the three artists exhibiting represent the various facets of the human mind: Ben Woodward expresses an existentialism diluted with irony, Kris Chau expresses a pungent and cutting femininity, AJ Fosik represents an atavistic and purely masculine force; eccentric visions of individual contemporary intimacy

Emily Jacir’s public intervention for the Venice Biennale was canceled by the municipal authorities without explanation. Stazione would have seen the 24 piers for the Route 1 water bus (the vaporetto that starts at the Lido stop and ends at Piazzale Roma) display the names of the stops in both Arabic and Italian, creating a bilingual transportation route up and down the Grand Canal. The Alberto Peola gallery in Turin is showing what the work would have looked like

Since 1955, the World Press Photo Foundation is awarding the most striking and representative images that have documented and illustrated the events of our times in the press. The winners of the photography contest are exhibited this year in 100 cities in 45 countries and is still expanding. The plethora of exhibition venues hardly justify why World Press Photo is so wantonly careless about the way the images are exhibited

Letizia Battaglia’s pictures, because of the corruption, silence, violence and suffering they laid bare, played a crucial role in the anti-mafia campaign. They show anti-mafia Judge Cesare Terranova shot in his car, corpses of mafiosi found by the road, tears of the wives and mothers when they discover the scene of the crime, arrests of the mafia boss, teenagers pretending to be though guys with attitude and guns