In parallel to the famous contemporary art fair in Turin, is another, quieter and more subtle contender: Flashback. With a slogan that “all art is contemporary” this fair works to remind the visitors to Artissima that there is a lot more to experience than just contemporary art. In a similar way as Frieze Masters, Flashback at the Olympic Stadium hopes to draw some of the contemporary collectors to older and more established art.

Now in its second year, the fair is much smaller than Frieze Masters but similarly employs sparse designs and wide hallways. The acid green of Flashback’s branding is an accent used in the fair’s wayfinding, as if designed to remind us that these works are meant to be seen in a contemporary context.

Is it true that Old Masters, Classical and Antique works gain a contemporary twist when seen through contemporary eyes?

It seems so when one looks at stands like the one put together by Japanese gallery Gilistra from Turin that have been so carefully curated to bring masterworks to life. The screens exhibited are shown hung on the wall like a painting so that it seems like a work of fine rather than decorative art. Does putting the works in a different context make us appreciate them as art? Further in the fair, Benappi exhibits a memento mori piece from the late 16th century next to a Hirst-like skull by Nicola Bolla, a contemporary Italian artist, thus juxtaposing old and new. These types of risks and reinterpretations are inspiring and will undoubtedly inspire buyers who visit the fair.

But one can also find the well-established dealers of Old Masters at this fair, from Moretti and Lampronti to Roebilant + Voena. Other Old a master dealers include Galleria Luigi Caretto with great Dutch Masters including Jan Steen and Breughel the younger, and Romigioli Antichità is showing a fantastic marble Virgin with traces of strong gilding and polychrome that has worn through the years. The effect is a unique patina that is bewitching to the eye. 

Vastari has curated a talk on Saturday 8 November at 5:30pm for the Flashback fair that asks “Is a Collection Ever Complete? Looking at Old Master collections in a contemporary context.” Two collectors will come to Turin, Sabina Corsini and Marijke Stubbé-Butôt, to discuss how the collections they have inherited have or have not been influenced by a contemporary context and their own tastes. Moderated by Francesca Polo it promises to be an interesting discussion. 

I look forward to hearing how people react to Flashback in comparison to Artissima, and whether the tactic of making old and new collide is commercially as stimulating as it is academically.

Flashback is open from 6 - 9 November, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Address: Pala Alpitour | Isozaki | Via Filadelfia 82 | Torino