Q&A with Caterina Avataneo, Curator of the New Entries Section at Artissima 2022 | Limna

Q&A with Caterina Avataneo, Curator of the New Entries Section at Artissima 2022

As we get ready for Artissima, which returns this week for its highly anticipated 29th edition, we spoke to curator Caterina Avataneo about her journey through the art world, her preparations for this year’s event and what you shouldn’t miss if you are in town for the Fair.

How did you get started doing what you do?

Chasing my dream with commitment! It can sound cheesy but it’s true. I came to the art-world independently and from unconventional paths, not through my parents for example, although they definitely supported my education. I applied myself very seriously to every role I ever had, which always led to something else…

Artissima21-Marval-GP-007 (1)-min.jpeg Caterina Avataneo. Photo credit: Artissima.

What’s something you wish you knew when you first started in the art world?

The importance of developing meaningful relationships not only with artists and curators. It is fundamental for a curator to be able to gather the many figures and professionals that contribute to the ecology of the art world.

What’s the first artwork you ever bought?

When I turned 30 my dad wanted to gift me something special: that’s when I bought my first artwork, a painting by Italian artist Sofia Silva. On the same occasion, I also received a wall sculpture by British artist Miriam Austin, a present from both my partner and herself. All this was relatively recently, shall we say. I am building my small collection little by little and I like to make this personal and intimate. My latest works are by Giuliana Rosso and Zoe Williams, artists and friends that I admire and with whom I have worked on multiple occasions. Both will be presented at Artissima 2022 respectively by The Address and Ciaccia Levi.

SF0005_AeronauticalLaudry-min.jpg Sofia Silva, Aeronautical Laundry, 2017, oil and charcoal on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Arcade, London & Brussels.

What’s the most misunderstood aspect of the art market in your opinion?

Perhaps the reasons for buying.

Which artists are you currently really excited about?

With Artissima approaching in Turin, I am of course thrilled about the New Entries: section for emerging galleries, for which since 2020 I am the Curatorial Consultant. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the works of Caterina De Nicola - young and talented multidisciplinary Italian artist who was one of the two 2020 fellows for Cripta747 Residency Programme the year that I started working with them as part of their Curatorial Board - presented by Baleno International (Rome); OMARA-Mara Olàh - a self-taught Hungarian Roma artist and amazing woman that passed away in 2020, recently part of documenta fifteen - presented as part of a group booth by Longtermhandstand (Budapest); and A Constructed World - a collaborative project by Geoff Lowe and Jacqueline Riva exploring how reality is perceived through cultural models - presented by Bivy (Anchorage, Alaska). I think that what they all share, within their many differences, relates to strategies of making which do not follow traditional paths and remain difficult to frame or pin down, while also avoiding polished outcomes.

5I2A1160-min.jpg Caterina De Nicola, installation view, Swiss Art Awards 2022, Basel. Courtesy of the Artist and Baleno International, Rome.

What’s the last art-related Instagram post you liked or an account you followed?

Hard to remember! But last summer I started following lots of exciting project spaces in Italy (@mareartproject, @viaraffineria, @gelateriasognidighiaccio and many more) after having participated in the fourth edition of Supercondominio at Castello di Rivoli, curated by Giulia Colletti, Laura Lecce and Nationhood. On the occasion I was presenting the activities of DEMO, a curatorial platform exploring the aesthetic and political potentialities of the moving image with whom I have been collaborating since 2019 and which I would recommend following on @demomovingimage.

What upcoming exhibitions are you looking forward to?

In Turin: Arthur Jafa at OGR, curated by dear Claude Adjil together with Judith Waldmann and Hans Ulrich Obrist; Chiara Camoni and Atelier Dell’Errore at GAM; Cleo Fariselli at Almanac Inn; and of course the open studio of Adele di Pasquale at Cripta747! Next time in London I absolutely want to visit Barbara Chase-Riboud at Serpentine and Agnė Jokšė & Anastasia Sosunova at Cell Project Space. I worked with most of these artists or I have recently encountered with great curiosity their work; it is a joy to follow their projects. While for Arthur Jafa I still remember the first time I saw his work while in Chicago and it gives me goosebumps… Finally I really look forward to the upcoming Digital Fellowships programme which I am co-curating with Stella Bottai, and with the Project Management of Laura Mariano, for Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters – the first long-term, contemporary art programme for the Archaeological Park of Pompeii conceived in 2020 by Massimo Osanna and Andrea Viliani. The next Digital Fellowship is by Rose Salane, keep an eye on @pompeiicommiment and pompeiicommitment.org.

5b92c5de-379a-44d4-b4d8-3ba9311ee4ab.jpeg Adele Dipasquale, Lose voice toolkit (video still), 2022. Courtesy of the the Artist and Cripta747, Turin

Tell us about an artist who should be getting more attention.

I would say Cuban print-maker Belkis Ayon (1967–1999), whom I had the luck of seeing exhibited at Reina Sofia last year. That was her first show in Europe and I was blown away by her collographs investigating the Afro-Cuban men-only secret society Abakuá with a critical gaze but also an hermetic and mysterious take. This year she was part of Cecilia Alemanni’s “The Milk of Dreams” for the Venice Biennale so hopefully her work will soon be recognised as it should. I would also add Cuoghi Corsello, a duo from Bologna active since the 90s whose work was recently in a group show at Associazione Barriera (Turin). It’s impressive how fresh and radical their practice still is. They are very well respected in Italy, but I think they would deserve more attention internationally.

sala04_0.jpg View of the exhibition Belkis Ayón. Collographs, 2021. Reina Sofia, Madrid.

What’s the best piece of art-world advice you’ve ever been given?

I will always be very grateful to Stefano Collicelli Cagol who in 2011 gave me a lot of advice when I was so inexperienced. I was still doing my BA in Architecture at Politecnico di Torino and I somehow managed to convince the university that it was “architectonically” relevant to allow me an internship at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo where I ended up helping Stefano Collicelli Cagol for the exhibition “Un’ Espressione Geografica.” He recommended many books to read, magazines to keep an eye on and then he told me I should never become the Assistant of a curator… it is very different from being the Assistant Curator of a project.

How do you gain confidence when buying art?

I would say by following your gut and heart.

Artissima.jpg Artssima 2018. © Perottino-Piva-Bottallo

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