Home Magazine (un)fair, the fair-non-fair format of contemporary art

The third edition of the unconventional fair in reaction to the pause lived during the pandemic is taking place in the city of Milan.

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(un)fair is a young and courageous contemporary art fair. It was born in the middle of the pandemic, at a time when the whole world and Italy was on pause, waiting for the end of a long lockdown that has forced the art world to wait and reschedule. (un)fair was born as a reaction to this long pause. It works for a new restart, inaugurating this new format with a beautiful first edition in 2022, in Milan, at the Superstudio Maxi venue. (un)fair wants to create a space for new relationships, works outside the box to bring a new and wide audience closer to contemporary art, while supporting galleries and artists and the artistic production of our days. The fair introduced a new format called the “fair-not-fair”, being a 360 degree experience with contemporary art. As the manifest states:  “It wants to create a new relationship between the public and art, galleries and new collecting, market and culture. It is the ideal place for the development of collecting. It supports the contemporary system. It arises from the need to find a space for relationships and sociality. It is a space for contemporary content.” (un)fair was born as an ironic negation of the very concept of a fair. It proposes itself as a contemporary art fair that breaks out of the box to propose new ways of interacting with the art world, involving and creating new generations of collectors and supporting the art system, galleries and artists who are making history in our time. (un)fair is fair: attentive to sustainability, equal opportunity, inclusive and supportive of cultural diversity.

This year (un)fair is coming back to Milan for its third edition dedicated to the theme of Desire. The fair will take place at the Superstudio Maxi in Milan from the 1st to the 3rd of March. The preview will take place on the 29th of February. The theme of Desire is intended as aspiration and research of passionate research. It brings a sense of a lack to fill, the feeling that something is missing. (un)fair represents the answer to the art world's need to find alternative solutions to the traditional exhibiting format. In a moment in which we are living in a proliferating times of innovative events at an international level, (un)fair presents an original model in Italy, letting visitors discover the latest trends in contemporary art in a more experiential way and inviting them to be awakened, amazed and excited not only by quality works, but also through engaging activities. The thread that unfolds throughout the fair represents a push that animates collectors and that gives them the feeling of necessity to possess an artwork, the necessity to relate to people, but also the necessity of autodetermination and evasion. 

Evgenya Manko, Botanical Garden. Courtesy of Da Opera Gallery.

(un)fair is willing to fulfill many desires. They are represented in the campaign signed by the artist Rooy Charlie Lama. An artwork that talks about identity, body as a performative act, hidden desires, that was shot in the toilets of the Superstudio Maxi. The artist stated: “My artistic research explores the hiding places of desire”. For the communication campaign of (un)fair 2024, Rooy Charlie Lama, worked on a billboard format that could portrait cruising scenes of public bathrooms where hidden desires hide. They are exciting and accidental encounters that mimic the production of pleasure with inflatable objects. These shots portray Transghost, a figure different from the traditional definitions of men and women. Transghost is wearing a green jumpsuit hiding the body's distinctive physiognomic traits, such as the body and the skin color. 

Conceived by Manuela Porcu and Laura Gabellotto, co-produced by Superstudio Events and realized with the support of a Scientific Committee composed of experts from the world of art and communication, (un)fair brings 60 galleries, domestic and foreign, to Milan. To name some of the represented countries: Japan, Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Hungary, and Spain. Among the artistic proposals to be discovered at the fair are those of Candy Snake gallery with the works of Naomi Gilon and her anti-desires, the works of Ilaria Fasoli, in which something remains mysterious to be delivered to the viewer's imagination, recalling the mechanisms of desire, and finally the fluid pop images of Mattia Sarti. New entry 2024, Bologna-based Big Eyes Art Gallery will allow visitors to get in touch with post digital art declined in different artistic currents such as pop surrealism, pop art and contemporary figurative art. Elena Simoni, Marie Sugimoto, Margareta Senkova are the artists exhibited at (un)fair together with Alberto Gagliardi. The Milanse based gallery Maroncelli 12 returns with works by the highly regarded Portuguese artist Daniel Goncalve, whose work lies between optical art and the mediumistic expressions of Art Brut. 

Daniel Gonçalves, Untitled, 2021. Courtesy of Maroncelli 12.

The contemporary fair-non-fair has the desire to convey strong emotions to its audience, stimulating everyone's curiosity, intellect and reflection through experimental and innovative sections and projects, as well as a series of talks, workshops for young and old audiences and side events. Moreover, the fair is going to host special projects. To name some of them: new media and new generation artists curated by Luisa Ausenda, that is, a selection of galleries and initiatives on new technologies and new languages of the contemporary. Very original Humanverse the virtual reality (VR) performance by Italian-Argentinian visual artist Martin Romeo; Contemporary craft and collectible design curated by Riccardo Sorani of Esh Gallery. From the immateriality commonly associated with the digital world, we move on to the materiality of the works of objects increasingly appreciated by the new generations; Illustration curated by Chiara Pozzi and Illustrazioni Seriali, with 4 galleries presenting works by artists who, starting precisely from the world of illustration, have managed to carve out a relevance in the contemporary art scene; “In movimento”, curated by Alessio Vigni, a section under the banner of the non-traditional that presents different ways of thinking about the contemporary image through the performing arts.

(un)fair, the fair-non-fair is a place that questions and challenges the art world. With more than 60 galleries from around the world, the fair aims to attract collectors and art lovers in an immersive and dynamic experience.

Cover image: (un)fair Manifesto. Courtesy of (un)fair

Written by Asia Artom

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