Art Madrid'24 – BERENICE ABBOTT: THE VISUAL STORY OF A TIME OF CHANGE

In the 20s of the last century, Paris continued to have an undeniable power of attraction for the cultural movements of the time. And this was true although the United States, and especially New York, was beginning to emerge as a reference country in full artistic effervescence. The ravages of the successive wars tipped the balance of art in favour of North America, an extensive land, far from direct conflict, not yet worn down by the weight of history and with a promising future of multitudinous shows and film industry ahead.

Berenice Abbott, Aerial view of New York at Night, March 20th, 1936, International Center of Photography, Gift of Daniel, Richard, and Jonathan Logan, 1984 (786.1984) © Getty Images/Berenice Abbott

But let’s get back to the 20s. Back then, the Art Nouveau was last shining in Europe while in New York, the Art Decó appeared, by urban design and stylish skyscrapers, to make this city an emblem. The connection between both metropolis based on an exchange of free thought shown in the arts and architecture. Perhaps few were aware at the time that the builders of the Rockefeller Center or the Chrysler Building were making history. The Gilger Age echoed still, a time between the end of s. XIX and early S. XX where the great family monopolies of the North American industry were born around important innovations such as the railroad, the exploitation of steel, the vast corn harvests, the livestock production and other significant advances in the hands of a few. The empowered families became great art collectors and unconscionable builders who wanted to demonstrate their power by raising taller and more iconic buildings. They succeeded.

Berenice Abbott, West Street, 1932, International Center of Photography, Purchase, with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lois and Bruce Zenkel Purchase Fund, 1983 (388.1983) © Getty Images/Berenice Abbott

The beginning of the century was a breeding ground suitable for artists. The stimuli multiplied, and the options seemed endless. Despite this, old Europe still represented the bohemian refuge, the place where the environment of creation was appropriated to restless minds because there were tradition, history and shared story, away from the sudden boiling of New York built overnight and based on galloping capitalism, the prelude to the Crack of 29. That's why many American creators laid vital bridges between Paris and the American city. This was the case of Berenice Abbott, a photographer born in Ohio in 1898 who let her talent flow to both sides of the Ocean.

Berenice Abbott, Canyon: Broadway and Exchange Place, 1936, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Photography Collection. The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations © Getty Images/Berenice Abbott

Abbott worked on the portrait of celebrities, but for the documentary, not for dedication to entertainment and social reporting. She was interested in the representation of reality, without artifice, and was part of the movement of "direct photography" that claimed the artistic nature of this discipline without needing to intervene or compose the images. Her shots of New York and Paris are today invaluable documents that testify the vertiginous changes that both cities experienced. As thematic reports, her work allows us to know today a historical context full of misery, hope and ambition, in which the foundations of modern society were built. Although Abbott's artistic beginnings focused on sculpture, her connection with other artists of the moment and her interest in the representation of reality led her to try out photography, a discipline that she never left ever again.

Berenice Abbott, Rockefeller Center, ca. 1932, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery © Getty Images/Berenice Abbott

The Mapfre Foundation dedicates to this artist its next exhibition "Berenice Abbott. Portraits of modernity ", which will open on June 1. The show brings together about 200 pieces of this indefatigable creator who made Paris and New York her spiritual homeland.

 

“I paint in a completely free way, I don't have a plan, it's chaotic, but everything has a reason. I don't prepare anything before I start painting, what I paint is what I feel or try to communicate at that moment, so it changes a lot (from one work to another)”.

Chão limpo e o resto. Mixed media on canvas. 2023. Ana Malta. Courtesy of the artist.

Cultura Inquieta once again joins the experience of discovering and celebrating creative talent within the broad spectrum of artistic expressions present at Art Madrid'24. As a supporter of culture and contemporary art, its commitment to promoting and supporting emerging artists is reflected in a special initiative in this edition: highlighting and supporting the work of the REVELATION ARTIST of the 19th edition.

Só durmo na minha almofada. Mixed media on canvas. 2023. Ana Malta. Courtesy of the artist.

In this context, Ana Malta emerges into the contemporary art scene with a fresh voice and her own visual aesthetic. Born in Lisbon in 1996, Malta is a talented visual artist and freelance designer who has captivated the public with her distinctive approach and bold exploration of the beauty of everyday spaces through her investigations of color.

Her studies in Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, as well as her Master's Degree in Creative Industries Management at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto, have provided a solid foundation for her artistic practice. Currently, she also collaborates in the Communication and Production Office of Carpintarias de São Lázaro - Centro Cultural e Galeria Belo-Galsterer, showing her commitment to the cultural fabric of her community. She is also part of the artistic collective VÊS.TRÊS.

Ana Malta has been recognized in several platforms and media, including the 14th Edition of QUADRANTE, Melancia Mag and the SCROLL program of the RTP2 channel. Her participation in the book (AS)ARTISTAS - Ensaio Gráfico sobre Histórias e Práticas Artísticas no Feminino and in the April 21st Edition of Nova Awareness Club underlines her impact and relevance in the contemporary art scene.

Só um é que ganha. Mixed media on canvas. 2023. Ana Malta. Courtesy of the artist.

Ana Malta's work is characterized by her exploration of color, patterns, composition, and texture. These elements are not only vehicles of her plastic and visual expression, but also embody an intimate dialogue between aesthetic restlessness and the transformation of error into opportunity.

It is exciting to see Ana Malta make her debut at Art Madrid'24, represented by Galeria São Mamede (STAND B3). Her presence promises to further enrich the artistic experience of the event, inviting the public to approach the visually captivating and conceptually stimulating universe that the artist creates to narrate the chaos she rearranges in shapes and colors.

Não fico pendurada. Mixed media on canvas. 2023. Ana Malta. Courtesy of the artist.

In a world in constant movement, Ana Malta reminds us of the importance of experimentation and continuous exploration in the search for authentic and sincere artistic expression.

Her work has been REVEALED to us in the 19th edition of ART MADRID, thanks to the precise point of view of CULTURA INQUIETA as a testimony of the transforming power of art. In her hands, the entropy of forms brings us the possible memory of an endless summer; the luminosity of the sun becomes the caress of everyday life; we may even be surprised by the formula of happiness turned into a companion animal.

Ana Malta's pieces combines the restlessness of a space that appears to be in a state of chaos with the delicate synesthesia of vibrating at the velocity of light, nuances, lines and colors in her paintings.