ARTISTS IN THE ANTIPODES

From Taiwan to Brazil and from Ecuador to Thailand

More than 200 artists represented by 41 galleries make up the general program of this edition of Art Madrid. During the fifteen years of the fair, the international presence of both artists and galleries has increased to 40% of the total.

Artists have come from Cuba, Venezuela, the United States, South Africa, Algeria, Iran, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina... and dozens of countries that have participated in Art Madrid over the years.

In this edition we have such a variety of artists from faraway countries that we have found the line of the antipodes among several of them.

Mu Pan, Taiwan. Represented by Galerie LJ

Mu Pan describes his work as "simply about telling stories " In his intricate battle scenes, human figures, beasts and strange mixtures of the two come together in epic life-and-death struggles. In his "origaMU" paper sculptures, colorful creatures take on a 3D form. The artist is "a creator of worlds" as he puts it. He portrays critical stories full of details taken to the extreme, entering into an art where references to literary, political and cultural stories are intermingled.

Mu Pan

Locusts, 2015

Acrílico sobre panel de madera

121 x 91cm

Mu Pan of Taiwanese origin studied Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he now teaches illustration. During the past 2019 the collection SOLO welcomed part of this peculiar world in which one can get lost for hours discovering in every detail and in every corner of the painting something new.

With a critical and incisive look, but without losing his sense of humour and irony, the author captures in his paintings everything that displeases him, such as racism, violence or lies, and puts both the present time and nature in focus.

His artworks reflect the many cultural influences to which he has been exposed, from Chinese literature to superheroes, from ukiyoe to cinema and comics. To contemplate a work of Mu Pan is to soak up action, dynamism and energy through his meticulously constructed battles. His paintings have an extreme degree of detail that is reminiscent of the paintings of El Bosco, with connotations of the end of the world, hybrid characters, half man, half animal, on the verge of caricature, as well as epic scenes in which he mixes references to current events and manga culture. Mu Pan's work is a pretext to highlight everything that displeases him: violence, conflict or lies, which he captures in his paintings in the key of anger and humour. In the artist's words: "Drawing and painting are for me the most obvious ways to claim justice". Global warming, racism, classism or the trade wars between superpowers serve as inspiration for this artist who puts current events and human nature in the spotlight.

Mu Pan

Jesura The Holy Kaiju, 2019

Acrílico sobre panel de madera

92 x 243cm

Mu Pan

Tiger, 2017

Acrílico sobre panel de madera

92 x 243cm

Chen Yun, Taiwan. Yiri Arts Gallery

Chen Yu's drawings have evolved from horizontal to vertical constructions, a compositional style that grows upwards, visually exploring the dimensional and psychological impact. Behind this methodically planned composition, and as in poetry, there are clues that allude to time and reality. With scenes in fixed camera, a detailed shot on one side, the silhouette of a woman on the opposite side, an image full of symbolism... Chen acts as a guide, carrying a weak light that accompanies the viewer into the depths of memory.

Chen Sheng-Wen studied Visual Communication Design at National Yunlin University in Taiwan. He has had several solo and group exhibitions in Taiwan and Japan. He has been awarded with Taipei Free Art Fair, Huashan 1914 Taipei.

Chen Yun

Indigo. The light from the forest shine on the blue ocean, 2018

Ácrilico sobre lienzo (2 piezas)

130 x 194cm

Lai Wei-Yu, Taiwan. Yiri Arts Gallery

The artist Lai Wei-Yu takes seemingly absurd situations and explores them with childlike amazement. However, in the dark corners we can also glimpse the frustration and desolation of life. Lai Wei-Yu studied at the MFA Institute of Arts in Taiwan. His artwork has been shown in several individual and collective exhibitions and is also present in public collections such as that of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan.

Lai Wei-Yu

My Family, 2018

Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

160 x 160cm

Paul Rosero Contreras (Quito, 1982). Más arte Galería

Paul is a conceptual artist who works with scientific information, speculative realism and different fictional narratives. His work explores issues related to geopolitics, environmental problems and the relationship of humans in extreme ecosystems. Rosero received an MFA from the California Institute of Arts - CalArts and an Interdisciplinary Master's Degree in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Her work has received national and international awards and has been widely exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale, Antarctic Pavilion, Italy, at the 5th Moscow Biennale of Young Art, at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, France, at the Cervantes Institute in Rome, Italy, at the Museum of History in Zaragoza, Spain, the H2 Art Center in Augsburg, Germany, at the 11th Moscow Biennale of Young Art. Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador, in Import Projects, Berlin, Germany, in the 1st Antarctic Biennial, in the 1st Southern Biennial in Argentina, in the SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, among others. Rosero teaches and researches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

Chamnan Chongpaiboon

Girl, 2019

Acrylic on canvas

120 x 100cm

Chamnan Chongpaiboon, Thailand. Soraya Cartategui

Chamnan Chongpaiboon is part of the new generation of young Thai artists. He attended the Faculty of Fine Arts in Shupanburi and obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Printmaking from the King Mougkut Institute of Technology in Ladkrabang.

Chamnan artworks with an innovative graphic style, under the modern bases of multimedia art and Japanese printing forms. His inspiration is closely linked to artists such as the Japanese Yayoi Kusama (1929, Matsumoto, Japan) whose work revolves around psychedelia, repetition and patterns. Her artistic production is limited due to the artist's meticulous work in making each piece. He is an artist with a great international career. Among the countries and cities where he has exhibited his pieces we find Australia, London, New York, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Miami, Singapore, etc.

Eduardo Marco, Porto Alegre (Brazil). Zielinsky Gallery

The artistic envoy that moves this photographer is the concern to clear up what is hidden from the common gaze; to reveal in its most literal sense what is apparently insignificant, but which the artist's gaze makes us perceive as a harmonic, igniting in us the spark of enthusiasm. In this process, Marco's honesty does not carry the heavy burden of theoretical assumptions; it is given without learned dogmas. Marco's gaze rescues the pristine beauty of the lotus lit in the mud puddle. He has participated in many projects in different parts of the world, such as China and Brazil.

Nina Franco. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paulo Nunes Arte Contemporânea

The work of the visual artist Nina Franco leads us into the depths of contemporary socio-political conflicts. She has had two solo exhibitions presenting her main series: "Soul Black" in Brazil and "Let Me Scream" in Ireland, as well as several group exhibitions in Brazil, Ireland, Greece and the United Kingdom.

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.