ART ALSO JOINS THE FOURTH WAVE OF THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT

Several uprisings, protests and public initiatives demanding real equality between women and men in our society have given way to the so-called "Fourth Wave" of the feminist movement. We are starring in a historical period that defends that women's rights must be once again on the social and political agenda to settle a debt still pending on the much-needed parity. And in this context, the proposals that want to redeem the historical void that many women have suffered are of vital importance.

Varvara Fedorovna Stepanova, “Jugadores de billar”, 1920, © VEGAP, Madrid (photo via museothyssen.org)

To some extent, this effort to highlight the different professional roles that many women have developed throughout history constitutes a titanic effort. We must keep in mind that this forgetting is not only due to a tendency to relegate them following the dictates of the dominant patriarchal thought, but also to a factual reality, such as the lack of women who could make their way into each historical stage and stand out in their field in adverse circumstances for this. Without a doubt, there would have been many more examples with a propitious context. Let us think that the world population is divided equally between both genders. Seen this way, throughout these centuries, our collective knowledge, our progress and the evolution of our own history has been deprived of the contributions that come from half of society.

As we said, we live in a stage in which projects rediscovering relevant female characters in their respective specialities are in full swing. The objective of these initiatives is not, of course, to change the past, but to open new paths towards the future. The questioning of our location on this path through equality is a reflection of a global society that has matured and that dares to take giant steps in this direction. Self-criticism and the will to amend imply a prior exercise of reflection and analysis. Thus, extolling the work of women who were pioneers in their field shows that history has not always been as they have told us, but, above all, it provides models and examples that can inspire the women (and society) of the future to face their personal and professional development with the certainty that they will not have obstacles because they are women.

Viera Sparza (Mª Dolores Esparza Pérez de Petinto), Virginia, 1956, (photo vía museo.abc.es)

Large institutions also add to this trend. The Prado Museum will open next October 22nd one of the most anticipated exhibitions of the year dedicated to two great women of painting who practically went unnoticed for the history of art. Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1535-1625) and Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) were two outstanding artists who were able to devote themselves completely to their passion despite living in an adverse environment that prioritised male work. This exhibition brings together for the first time 60 works by these two authors and will be a unique opportunity to get to know their legacy. Although the relevance they reached in their time, even in life, was blurred over the years, in recent times a huge interest in their work has aroused, both for researchers, scholars and experts and for the general public. And this is because these creators broke moulds, dismantled stereotypes and questioned some of the maxims long defended by the society of that time about the lower quality of female work in artistic disciplines.

For its part, the ABC Museum of Illustration closed last month its exhibition "Dibujantas", which brought to light the work of 40 women illustrators who collaborated in publications since the end of the s. XIX that, however, remained anonymous on numerous occasions. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum also contributed to this line with an exhibition dedicated to women of the Russian avant-garde, under the title "Pioneers", which took place from March to June of this year.

Sofonisba Anguissola, “Isabel de Valois sosteniendo un retrato de Felipe II”, 1561 - 1565 (foto vía museodelprado.es)

These proposals fulfil an exemplary and pedagogical mission, with a discourse for equality developed from the position of influence that many of these institutions have, serving as a model for many others. Without a doubt, we are on the right path, walking towards a balance in all areas of society, and this not only applies to art but to any other sector of activity.

 

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.