Disegni is the new section of Artissima devoted to the expressive medium of drawing. The section is intended to celebrate an artistic discipline capable of expressing the immediacy of and the thinking behind the creative gesture, existing in a space suspended between idea and finished work. We sat down with the curatorial duo João Mourão and Luís Silva to know more about it.
What is the new "Disegni" section?
The "Disegni" section is an attempt, within the context of an art fair, to think about what the Drawing Discipline means today. What is still relevant in Drawing today? What kind of forms of expression does Drawing still allow to be relevant today? In sum, it explores the most recent developments in this medium.
What is the importance of having such a specific section in an art fair?
It can be a privileged way of starting a new collection. Drawing can work on smaller scales and it is bidemensional, which allows for a more direct and simple relationship with the work, as opposed to something more complex such as a big sculpture or installation. Having said that, we believe that a specialised section that explores the most recent developments within a medium or discipline is always something of great value for an art fair.
You said it is a good way to start a new collection. It is also one of it's goals to engage with emerging collectors and "first time buyers"?
We believe that one of the missions of an art fair is to create new collectors and new collections. Giving a highlighted and curated section to Drawing is a very intelligentway to engage with new collectors that may find some challenges with more complex works, both formally and conceptually. We think that acquiring an installation or video might not be the easiest way of starting some collections for example.. and Drawing allows one to do that.
What was the process like behind this selection? Did you have an active role on selecting the galleries and which works were presented?
Yes, we did. There were two different kinds of processes for this section. On one hand, there were direct invitations to galleries and artists whose practices we believed to be relevant and that we wanted to present in this section. In addition to that, there was an application process were galleries applied, like in any other art fair or section, that were later reviewed and selected according to what we thought would make the most sense. In some cases we selected which works would be exhibited and visited the artist's studio and so on, and in other cases the galleries had a more independent role.
Besides being the curatorial commitee team for this years "Disegni" section at Artissima, you are both directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. How different is it to create and run Kunsthalle's program comparing to curate for a commercial art fair? How do you occupy these different roles?
It is completely different. At the Kunsthalle Lissabon our work is a reflexion and investigation about the production means of an institutional discourse. It is about what kind of institutions do we want to create. It works very closely with the artists and it is almost always within the context of a solo exhibition. We only have 4 exhibitions each year and we like to be very present and dedicated in each show. It is almost a collaboration with the artist.
The art fair is a completely different context. On one hand it is a commercial venture and that is something that has to be taken into consideration on each curatorial decision.
While Kunsthalle is a "money-losing machine", the art fair requires a considerable amount of investment from each gallery and they are looking to make a return and profit on it. Having said that, we never sacrifice the quality and importance of what is selected and presented.
At the end of the day it is a completely different context. As curators, as long as we have the context in mind we adjust to it and the work becomes the same.
To end this short conversation, is there anything else you want to add? Anything to be looking forward to?
It is very exciting to make this, specially because it is the first edition. Any future ones will be made with this one as a starting point or comparison benchmark. We are very proud and happy with it and we can not wait to see the materealisation of all the work and planning we have been doing in the past few months.
To learn more about Artissima or the new Disegni section please visit www.artissima.it