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Youth is king at Arte Fiera Bologna

Modern and contemporary art fair celebrates 40th edition with focus on young artists and post-war Italian masters

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Italy’s oldest contemporary art fair wears its years lightly. Arte Fiera opens its 40th edition in Bologna on 29 January and runs until 1 February. The fair, which is directed by Claudio Spadoni and Giorgio Verzotti for the fourth year running, is marking the anniversary with a celebration of young artists. All 190 exhibitors were invited to show works by artists under 40, as well as the post-war Italian masters, such as Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, Paolo Scheggi and Dadamaino, who are currently booming in the art market.

The best of the works by the under 40s will be selected by a committee of experts, including the curator Francesco Bonami and the artistic director of Rome’s Maxxi museum, Hou Hanru, to go on show at the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna.

The main section hosts a curatorial project, Protagonists, organised by five Italian galleries, Galleria Continua (San Gimignano), Galleria Lia Rumma (Milan and Naples), Studio La Città (Verona), Galleria Tega (Milan) and Galleria Milano. The Solo Show section presents single-artist Modern and contemporary displays while New Proposals offers a space for galleries that only work with young artists (under 35), such as Massimo de Luca in Mestre, Venice, and Milan’s Boccanera and Bid Project.

A dedicated photography section returns for the third time, organised by the collector Fabio Castelli in partnership with MIA, the Milan photo and moving image fair he founded in 2011.

The fair is also looking to its roots with a joint exhibition in the city’s two main art museums, Mambo (Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna) and the Pinacoteca Nazionale. Arte Fiera 40, also co-organised by Verzotti and Spadoni, traces the history of the fair, which began in collaboration with Italy’s national association of modern and contemporary galleries. The curators say the shows will shed light not only on the history of the Italian art market but on its relationship to criticism and curating.

Meanwhile, institutions, galleries and other venues are preparing the fourth edition of Art City White Night, a city-wide programme of special events that will be open until midnight on Saturday 30 January. At the top of the bill is the Italian premiere of Matthew Barney’s six-hour film River of Fundament at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the city’s opera house.