LET'S MAKE ART HISTORY LIKEWISE VISUAL

The approach to art is made from the sensory experience. Art is seen, heard, touched... Based on this experience through the senses, the classification of artistic disciplines has been historically addressed: visual arts, music, dance or theatre. But these categories present problems when the work feeds on two different techniques giving rise to hybrid creations, like the ones which incorporate sound and image, intervention and video, painting and screens, and an infinite number of combinations that enrich the current panorama of contemporary production.

Pablo Picasso, “Femme dans un fauteuil”, 1929. Museu colecçião Berardo, Lisboa. © Sucession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP. Madrid 2019

The visual burden of this approach to art is undeniable. But when we pass from pure experience to academic study, we face a knowledge always expressed in writing where the object of analysis is separated from its tangible reality and is transformed into an abstract and incorporeal idea to discuss and comment on. Almost all branches of knowledge have included a particular chapter dedicated, we could almost say, to self-analysis and self-evaluation. The development of a methodology for each field is a sign that there is a recognised and autonomous area of study, as is the case with art.

Alfred. H. Barr Jr., Diagram of stylistic evolution of art from 1980 to 1935, cover of “Cubism and Abstract Art”. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1936. Archivo Lafuente

The protagonists of the sector themselves have repeatedly questioned how art history has been approached, from academicism and theoretical narrative. Therefore, many of them have proposed alternative ways of exposing that knowledge with a greater visual load, paying homage to the works that make up the evolution of artistic creation.

These days the Juan March Foundation hosts the exhibition "Genealogies of art, or the history of art as visual art", in which we can see an interpretation of the famous diagram that Alfred H. Barr, Jr., that he proposed for the cover of the catalogue "Cubism and Abstract Art ”(1936) to explain the stylistic evolution of art from 1890 to 1935. This curator, who founded in 1929 of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) and was also its first director, wanted to synthesise in a graphic the significant landmarks of the transition art towards the s. XX to make it easy to assimilate at a glance.

Vasili Kandinsky, “Landscape with Two Poplars”, 1912, © Arthur Jerome Eddy Memorial Collection (via artic.edu)

On this scheme, the exhibition is presented as a documentary sample, with 350 works and more than 100 documents that mark the diagram in each of its historical marks. Works by avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Kazimir Malévich, César Domela, Francis Picabia, Robert Delaunay and Vasili Kandinsky, among others are collected. In addition, there are some works that were present in Barr's original exhibition, such as “Landscape with Two Poplars”, 1912, by Vasili Kandinsky and “Femme dans un fauteuil”, 1929, by Pablo Picasso.

 

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.