ARTIVISM. THE CLAIM FROM ART

Artivism is defined as the hybridization between art and activism. Claims and resistance art. Visibility, durability and risk are the specific features of an intervention that carries a clear socio-political message. Art becomes a means of communication focused on change and transformation, a language that moves from academic or museum artistic creation to social spaces, becoming an educational tool.

Ángela Lergo

Desde el fondo de un espejo. Narciso, 2019

Piedra con resina y pigmentos naturales, cera y metacrilato

42 x 16cm

Art is an engine that can generate collectivity in individual spaces, and bring resistance to pressure places. Artivism develops a language of freedom and autonomy that moves outside of fixed cultural rules, of academic canons, of aesthetics and the majority tendency. It is an intervention without limits of action, where the conceptual lines of the spaces are blurred.

We could place the origins of artivism in the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century: dadaism, futurism and surrealism. The development of performance, video art or conceptual art throughout the last century are essential elements that cause the dematerialisation of the artistic object, as Valdevieso develops in his article "The symbolic appropriation of public space through artivism".

Carlos Tárdez

San Sebastián, 2018

Resina policromada y dardo

9 x 5cm

The conceptual art of the 50s provides a key feature in the development of artivism: confronting and questioning the idea of producing traditional works of art, where the result is not as important as the process itself. Conceptual artists generate works that cannot be classified according to artistic traditions, often reflecting their political and social disagreement.

We must add to this the social movements of the late last century adjacent to the anti-globalisation that continue to develop in the 21st century through the generation of new visual and interventionist codes in the public space . For the most part, this political-social activation has developed its artistic expression through graffiti and urban art, both environments being the foundational basis of the multiple forms that we can find today within the global concept of artivism. Art Madrid is fortunate to bring together a wide range of new generation artists who naturally are keen on new contemporary discourses, where the concerns substantiated in artivism meet various channels of expression and creative representation.

Gerard Mas

Sarcofag, 2019

Polychrome wood

168 x 45cm

Artivism takes shape through the groups, associations and artists that add their rebel and nonconformist creativity to the struggle. Walls, façades, monuments, statues, fill with colour turning the urban landscape into a true museum of works of art that respond to the needs of a society that expresses its disagreement before a wide spectrum of inequalities and injustices that cross the backbone of the social structure.

Mário Macilau

A candle man, 2019

Pigmento, tinta

80 x 120cm

Around the collective imaginary that composes the paradigm of activism, we find expressions and artistic creations that share and involve a subversive and confrontational discourse despite not strictly fitting within the concept of artivism.

This is the case with the line on which the One Project program is developed this year. Under the title of "Salvajes", in the words of its curator, Fernando Gómez de la Cuesta, the selected artists "paint and sculpt with effort as a form of resistance and do so in an epidermal, superfluous and vertiginous era, where hardly anyone It stops at nothing. A beasts that create from expressiveness, drive or iconoclast, from a passionate, visceral, desacralising or irreverent perspective”.

PichiAvo

Orphical Hymn III to Nike, 2019

Mixed media on canvas

120 x 90cm

Artists such as the duo PichiAvo delve into some ways of doing that have to do with the rupture that begins in the endless collection of pre-existing images and concepts. A task that they carry out from a classic art that they intervene, turn, merge, integrate, repel and connect with urban art and its creation codes.

We can also see the prominence of public space as an essential element of the message in the work of Julio Anaya. His work is born, in most cases, to cease to exist, since it is a work in continuous transit, the eternal return, in development, in a permanent relocation that causes new interpretations and that transforms the spaces.

Julio Anaya

Ohannes Vermeer - Muchacha con sombrero rojo, 2918

Acrílico sobre cartón

51 x 36cm

In transgression and criticism, we can inscribe the work of Andrés Planas who, without responding to any hint of political correctness, constructs a sarcastic message about the strong manipulation of factual powers in today's societies.

Art Madrid thus develops a not so usual part of the art market, giving space to speeches and creations that move away from the legitimate artistic limits and rules.

 

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.