ART AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE EXCESS OF PLASTICS

We live an explosion of movements that try to raise awareness about the need to fight against climate change and the abusive use of plastics so damaging to the environment; we often tend to identify these initiatives with the activity of NGOs and other groups with campaigns seeking for a great impact on media. However, artists are also very aware of this problem and often include this theme in their works.

Mandy Barker, 500-plastic-piece composition picked up in a beach, 2018

A way to denounce extreme capitalism and overexploitation is by creating works with reused pieces or using the plastic itself as the main raw material, as well as creating pieces in idyllic landscapes, with the aim of emphasising the ephemeral survival of those places. The proposals are diverse: a multitude of techniques, disciplines and finishes; but the purpose is the same because undoubtedly the human being has a responsibility to the planet. On many occasions, artists associate with groups of activists to develop large-scale actions that boost the message and generate a global awareness.

Marcel van Es, drawing in Novo Sancti Petri beach, Cádiz, 2018

This is the case of Marcel van Es, a Dutch artist who for years cooperates with Greenpeace and Ecologistas en acción by creating drawings on the wet sand of the Bay of Cádiz. In April 2018 he carried out his third intervention at the Novo Sancti Petri beach in Cádiz, with a work over 25 meters in diameter that depicts a sea turtle surrounded by plastics. His vulnerable, short-lived drawings represent the fragility of nature and its impossibility to fight against the excessive abuse of natural resources and its capacity for regeneration.

Isabel Muñoz, “Water”, 2016

Other authors opt for proposals less linked to denounce movements and more focused on a personal discourse that highlights the problem within their own line of work. This is what happens with the project "Water" by Isabel Muñoz, who, true to her careful and exquisite photography, presents a series of images that underline the purity of the sea and the risk into which it is permanently put. With this underwater photography, the impact of the textures and the colours on the submerged bodies represents in an allegorical and elegant way the oppression and adherence of the plastics to the living beings in their marine environment, something against which they can not fight for themselves.

Maria Cristina Finucci, installation in the Island of Mozia, Sicily, 2016

Also, some artists devote their work almost wholly to deal with the problem of climate change and pollution by plastics. The project "The garbage patch state" has become the main leitmotif of Maria Cristina Finucci’s work. With a multidisciplinary proposal, which includes both performances, photography and installations, her production process is open to external contributions and international presence. It is an interactive and shared project that has already gone through Rome, New York, Madrid or Geneva. Because Maria does not conceive art if it does not fulfil a social function, and in this case, her educational mission is more than evident.

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.