Donostiartean, new Contemporary Art Fair at the Kursaal in San Sebastián

A new art fair in San Sebastián comes with two clear objectives: to boost the national and international contemporary art and establish itself as a model of fair benchmark. The first edition of San Sebastian Artean take place from 7 to 11 August in the representative of the Kursaal Congress Palace, architectural work of Rafael Moneo. 

 

The DonostiArtean organizing team is led by Scarpellini family, Marta and Ignacio, directors of Gaudi Madrid Gallery. They point out that the fair has been created under four pillars: rigor, professionalism, quality and closeness, and to be established as a fresh, dynamic and high-quality fair. To reinforce this idea, it has an Advisory Committee consisting of professionals in the cultural and artistic world: Iñigo Arístegui (designer and sculptor), Cristina Beloqui (Director of Art and Heritage Kutxa Fundazioa), Javier Diaz Guardiola (Cultural Journalist ABC) Juan Martinez Barefoot (gallery), Aitor Mendizabal (sculptor) and Ane Rodríguez (Cultural Director Tabakalera). 

 
The fair has two distinct sections: one for art galleries and one for artist books. Thirty-four exhibitors make up the program of art galleries, two of which are foreigners; Deux Gallery (South Korea) and Leizorovici Galerie (Paris). Seven basque galleries participate in the fair: Adn Project, Argucho Iruretagoyena, Arkupe, Arteztu, Gure Gazteluak Cultural Association, Conde Rodezno, The Study and Ispilu Art. Eight galleries travels from Madrid to San Sebastian: Eka Art Gallery, Lorenart, Montsequi, Draft Inn, Quorum, Ruizanglada, Arrow and Gaudí. Catalonia also have a presence at the show with six galleries from Barcelona: Crisolart, Conde Rodezno, Limited Editions Gallery, Legaxart, Espai Lluis Ribas and Sky Art Gallery. Other regions will also be represented: Javier Román (Málaga), Lorenzo Colomo (Valladolid ) 6 and C6 Cervantes Gallery (Oviedo), Pillars (Cuenca), Rodrigo Juarranz (Aranda del Duero), Fortuarte.es (Cuenca), Valentin Kovatchev (Málaga), Van Dyck (Gijón), Spiral (Cantabria), Marmurán (Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real). 
 
In the Artist Books section there will be seven exhibitors: Books Bosch (Madrid) Art Baubles (Mérida), Fotolito Books (Madrid), Red Fox Books (Barcelona), Liya Huang (Madrid), Point Paper (Murcia) and terraz (Madrid). 
 

The performer Abel Azcona will perform in the opening ceremony of DonostiArtean with the show "Reminiscence, The art of memory", in which Abel proposes a performance based on their life experiences, given that arises, with the words of the artist "from memory and exploration of their own and the others ghosts". To receive the public, the sculptor Iñigo Aristegui has placed a large format work at the entrance of the complex, and the dancer and choreographer Mikel Aristegui will be starring in a show of contemporary dance around this. In addition, the actor and filmmaker Jordi Molla is the guest artist of the first edition of DonostiArtean. To complement the exhibition, visitors can enjoy Bideak (Roads), an exhibition at the Kursaal Kutxa comprising 130 works by Eduardo Chillida. 

DonostiArtean it bets for the reinforce of contemporary art and the revitalization of the Spanish and foreign art market. Some of the exhibitors interviewed by the organizers have the belief that will be very positive to promote new values between artists, a meeting place for professionals, and why not, a space to encourage new collectors. 
 
San Sebastian is filled with art and culture for five days with a fresh and dynamic event, in which you can enjoy various artistic actions that will not leave you indifferent.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.