AGENDA FOR SUMMER'19: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AN AUGUST OF ART- II

We continue our summer agenda for art-contact being another way of recharging batteries. Summer is the ideal time to enjoy culture and art in a more relaxed way, outside the rush of the rest of the year.

MADRID

The Gaviria Palace hosts until September 15th an extraordinary exhibition dedicated to Liu Bolin under the title "The invisible man". This Shandong-born creator started his career in the world of sculpture but soon began to explore the power of photography, performance and installation to channel his artistic concerns. The title of the exhibition refers to the work the author has developed around the mimicry and the gimmicky works in which he seems to merge with the environment. The result is a large format photograph that deceives our senses and forces us to look twice to understand what we are really seeing. Within this line, his series "Migrants" involves other people on the scene and merges them with the beaches and boats that constitute their harsh reality, what proposes a double game between metaphorical invisibility and the real invisibility of this type of human conflicts.

Liu Bolin, "Green food"

GIJÓN

LABoral Center for Art and Industrial Creation presents “Eco-visionarios”, a contemporary creation project carried out in collaboration with other institutions: Bildmuseet of Umeå (Sweden), House of Electronic Arts (HeK) of Basel (Switzerland), MAAT- Museum of Art and Architecture of Lisbon (Portugal), to which Matadero Madrid and the Royal Academy of Arts in London have recently joined. The objective of this initiative, which has already been running for two years, is to analyse from an artistic perspective the environmental challenges that appear the society of our time, taking as a starting point the principles that underlie the activity of each of the institutions involved. Thus, after addressing the issue giving priority to approaches such as the relationship between art and ecology, the emergence of sustainable architecture, or the link between art and technology; LABoral delves into the biosphere-technosphere connection, with transversal works that interrelate art, science, technology and society. To the Gijón program, the activities of the Nave16 of Matadero Madrid add.

BILBAO

The Guggenheim Bilbao welcomes the work of Jenny Holzer under the title "Lo indescriptible." This American author began her career in painting but soon perceived that this medium was insufficient for her artistic purposes. She became then interested in public art and writing. Because language contains the enormous power to transform, to understand multiple messages, to host numerous philosophical and political positions. In the new millennium, Holzer went from the use of others’ texts to her own literary production. The visual and aesthetic game between content and container is constant in her work. The media gets diverse, and the power of speech enhances. Throughout her career, she has resorted to everyday materials with projects that interact directly with the public (messages on posters, wrappers, products ...) and also to more durable works, with headlines and lines engraved in stone, lighted signs and a long etcetera. This exhibition presents an extensive tour of her work, to understand the scope of her messages and participate in the same critical discourse.

Jenny Holzer, "For Bilbao"

MÁLAGA

After the enormous success reaped by this exhibition in Madrid, “An unauthorised exhibition” arrives at La Térmica. It is a selection of works by the controversial Banksy contributed by private collectors. Surrounded still by mystery and anonymity, this urban artist has earned the recognition of critics and the public with transgressive works of a witty message that always pose an open criticism of the established system. Every proposal is a question that challenges the viewer, to rethink the schemes inherited from our society and our capitalist market.

PALMA DE MALLORCA

Plessi's universe takes over Es Baluards this summer. Fabrizio Plessi, an artist who arrived in Palma in 1989 to stay, made the island his place of work, where he took root and built a net of interwoven relationships with his work and his fascination for new disciplines. Captivated by video art since its inception, his passage through Palma on the cusp of his career was a creative impulse of great depth. He mixed the baroque inherited from Italy with spiritualised minimalism that gave him the serenity of the place. His work continually resorts to some fundamental themes, which face life from a humanistic perspective. Essential issues such as time and space, light and object, awareness of sustainability, the vision of the Mediterranean as a cultural link... The exhibition includes a large part of his author books and videos related to their stories, to generate a multisensory visitor experience. Until September 1st.

Fabrizio Plessi, Digital Wall (Acqua 6), 2018

BURGOS

The CAB of Burgos holds two interesting samples with a clear sensory vocation. We start with "PERturbacións", by Christian Villamide (Lugo, 1966). With pieces of painting, sculpture and photography, this project is about the detachment that human beings currently live concerning their natural environment. The spaces previously occupied by natural ecosystems are buried by urban progress. The distance created with respect to a context that should be the closest and most organic gives rise to progressive mechanisation of interactions, a division of spaces, with human interventions that are often forgotten over time.

Kitazu&Gomez, "Anchovy Freak", 2007-2015

On the other hand, we highlight the exhibition ‘Haggish Flash’, of the group formed by Jesús Gómez (Burgos, 1962) and Megumi Kitazu (Tokushima, 1975). Both artists met in Berlin in 2001, and since then they have shared lines of work upon aspects of contemporary everyday life based on their personal experiences. Using a fictitious ice cream brand as a pretext, Kitazu & Gomez address issues such as sexual identity, multiculturalism, the relationship between marketing and art... The collection brings together paintings and installations where they use materials of all kinds and incorporate digital techniques.

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.