Artists Nicolás Laiz Placeres and Alona Harpaz are on show for the first time in Art Madrid, within the Galería ATC from Tenerife, presenting a collection where the wild is created through a space configured by the incursion of the human being in it.

Harpaz merges, over flat coloured backgrounds, expressionists figures and self-portraits mixed with wildlife and flora made with vibrant colours. Therefore, in her paintings, we can see a mixture between the beautiful and the terrifying. On the other hand, Laiz Paredes sculptures, have Nature and Human Being as elements in a disappearance process, mixed with objects which configure the reason of that destruction itself, creating iconic, almost monochromatic, three-dimensional shapes.

Alona Harpaz

I'm not here for your dream, 2019

Acrilico, spray y colores industriales sobre lienzo

140 x 150cm

Nicolás Laiz

Política Natural III, 2018

Resina, fibra de vidrio, aridos y pintura doble componente

80 x 30cm

Alona Harpaz (Tel Aviv, Israel, 1971) represents in her self-portraits botanic and animal patterns, applying a very personal and imaginative colour scheme, using a strong and vibrant brushstroke over, in many cases, merely decorative surfaces. In her work, colours exist by themselves, freely, but also as abstract well-mimicked elements or recognizable symbols. According to her, “perfectly beautiful paintings can also be dreadful”, and political commitment could be added to beauty and dreadfulness, as the critic Elke Buhruna points out. A sample of this could be seen in her work “Frequency Watchers”, which is a self-portrait of the artist riding a motorcycle, alluding to the 90s feminist movement in the United States, as Riot Grrrl and the Bikini Kill band, who combined feminism and pink lipstick. Therefore, her personality includes the political activism of her father (a Labour Zionist) and the artistic taste of her mother (a dancer).

Alona Harpaz

Frequency Watchers, 2018

Acrilico, spray y colores industriales sobre lienzo

80 x 100cm

Nicolás Laiz Placeres (Lanzarote, 1975), in his three-dimensional pieces, creates a confluence using objects of nature and industrial or genuinely pollutant materials, making a dichotomy between them. From this seemingly simple fusion, the artist is able to send a deeply elaborated message, with a critic tone, to a society that has led to overproduction and extreme and dangerous consumerism and, at the same time, using miscellaneous objects from the Isle’s “topic” iconography: shells, rocks and prickly pears blends with plastic bottles, totems and cranial shapes, creating iconic figures with advertising motifs of the extreme natural disaster situation that the Earth is facing. Finally, in a display of constant irony, his sculptures function as magical shapes that heal our status quo.

In the cage, the Alona Harpaz paintings howl next to the totems and fetish which his space partner Nicolás Laiz Placeres has made, mainly from different identity elements of Canary Islands.

Nicolás Laiz

Política Natural I, 2018

Resina, fibra de vidrio, aridos y pintura doble componente

80 x 30cm

Galería ATC located in the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, participates for the first time in Art Madrid with an unreleased project, dedicated to these two artists which is forming part of the One Project program, coordinated by the art critic and independent curator Fernando Gómez de la Cuesta, under the theme “Salvajes: la cage aux fauves”.

Galería ATC was founded in 2017 by Elle Przybyla (USA) and Juan Matos Capote (Spain) as a part of the Agencia de Tránsitos Culturales - est. in 2014 -, a platform for multidisciplinar artistic investigation and the promotion of contemporary art. The gallery has an annual program featuring various exposicions of spanish and international artists, working with different media: painting, sculpture, video, photography, installations and sound art. In addition to these expositions, the Gallery arranges performances, conferences and other activities. From Canary Islands, Galería ATC grows dynamic relationships between the fringe and the cultural production centres. Their roots in Spain and USA and their imminent connection to Africa, allow them to operate as a cultural intersection space. Their program reflects the commitment to support artists with plenty of voices and in different moments of their careers.

Galería ATC will present, within the One Project project of Art Madrid, unseen art works by the artists Alona Harpaz and Nicolás Laiz Placeres.


One of the proposals included in the calendar of the “Art Madrid-Proyector'20” program was the organisation of several meetings with artists within the fair. This gave visitors the opportunity to get to know their work better and open a personal dialogue with them after the presentation of their last lines of work. From Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th of February, we had the participation of Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Fernando Baena, Mario Santamaría and Maia Navas, a group of creators who work with the moving image, but also with the installation, technological art, performance and video art.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier's work revolves around the hybridization between the real and the sensible. This artist and researcher approaches this question in his works from a perspective in which perception, image and material production merge. Both his artistic and research practice deal with issues related to land use and plant growth without losing sight of these three points of interest. This results in works that incorporate the presence of nature from various perspectives, sometimes as a space of experimentation in which to reflect on the connection between art and politics, the relationship of the human being with the environment or the criteria for landscape intervention.

During his presentation on Wednesday 26th, Abelardo told us about some of his latest projects, in which the presence of technology is key to offering an artistic interpretation of the individual's impact into the territory. All this affects issues such as agricultural techniques, the progressive deforestation or the exploitation of land resources. The result is colour-coded pattern drawings that break down the analyzed landscape and offer a more visual and technology-based reinterpretation of these human behaviours. In addition, in this meeting, the artist explained his work “The Quivering of the Reed”, an installation that mixes video image, sound and material elements, and that plays the role of mixing the sensory with the real.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier

Fernando Baena shared a talk with us on the afternoon of Thursday 27th. This artist has focused a large part of his work on performance, happening and video pieces, many of them designed to capture the result of the action and give the work a second life in a new format. The main subjects that monopolize his work range from the treatment of sexuality and gender issues, to migratory movements and the drama of refugees, the exercise of political freedom and thought ... all of them are far-reaching issues that Fernando addresses from a familiar approach, with the use of common materials and recognizable environments. Another of the characteristics of his work is the presence of Marianela León in many of his pieces, a performer who has been collaborating with Fernando for many years until becoming almost an alter ego of himself and starring in most actions that take place in public spaces.

In this meeting, Fernando was able to explain part of his creative processes and to highlight a key aspect to the performance artist: to understand the reaction of the public. In this way, the impact of a work conceived from the theoretical plane is also analyzed, the meaning of which can completely change depending on the viewer's perception. As he himself explained in the talk regarding his piece "Balsa":

"What started out as a performance with an established script ended up being a happening in which the public participated with sometimes unusual reactions".

For his part, Mario Santamaría, who was with us on February 28th, shared with us a completely different work from Fernando's. This artist is focused on the analysis of the use of data, the feeling of manipulation and lack of control over our information that is produced in the digital medium and the desire to transform into something real some ideas as ethereal and commonplace today as the use of virtual storage clouds, the location of web pages or the data flow over the Internet. Much of his work, documented on video or transformed into technological facilities, is a form of research on the impact of the digital medium on our daily lives. His desire to bring these terms to the material plane, which we handle in our language today without really understanding their meaning, has led him to visit server bunkers, storage warehouses, in addition to tracking the exact location of the servers that host his own website to find isolated places far away from humanity.

Mario proposed a material trip to this reality to demonstrate that we are facing a very fragile system, whose durability is sensitive to natural phenomena, as evidenced by some of the documentation work carried out, where he rescued images of wild animals entering these data centres and endangering the livelihood of the digital world.

Mario Santamaría

Finally, Maia Navas, recently arrived from Argentina, shared with us the afternoon of Saturday 29th in a chat in which she told us about her creative work as well as her experience at the head of Play-Videoarte, a festival entirely dedicated to this discipline that she co-founded in 2012, and that in these six editions has combined an annual exhibition with a program of activities that take place in the City of Corrientes (Argentina), at the Cultural Centre of the University Extension that depends on the National University of the Northeast (UNNE).

Maia has a degree in psychology, as well as a degree in arts and technology, and combine her artistic career with teaching. The impact of psychology among her work topics is evident, and some of her video works try to delve into disturbing and perplexing aspects of human behaviour, such as the series "Procedures" that we could watch during the presentation. In it, the artist portrays the daily lives of people affected by OCD syndrome with an excellent visual narrative that puts the accent, almost with a cinematographic vision, on the personal experience of this phenomenon.

Maia Navas, foto de Marc Cisneros

From Art Madrid, we want to thank all these artists for sharing their creative experience with us and giving us the opportunity to dialogue with them about their present and future projects.