A DADA AND SURREAL OASIS IN THE HEART OF MADRID

The Palace of Gaviria has opened this week an exhibition that brings together 180 works by some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. It is a small part of the private collection of Arturo Schwarz, who donated more than 700 pieces to the Museum of Israel.

The history of this collection is intimately connected to the life of its owner. Schwarz specialised in works of Dadaism and Surrealism, artistic movements in which he became a close friend with some of its greatest exponents, such as Duchamp, Man Ray or Breton. This obstinacy for Surrealism began in the mid-40s, after reading the "Manifesto" by André Breton, which led him also to join the movement. Later, in 1945, he met Marcel Duchamp, with whom he had a relationship since then. In his own words, he was fascinated by being in contact with artists who were "extremely free and intellectually honest".

Man Ray, “The Rayograph”, 1921-28.

He worked as a writer, curator and gallery owner, but he is best known as a collector. This passion for twentieth-century art, and particularly for these two isms, has guided his eagerness to gather representative works of those who were his friends, to the point to treasure a set of pieces that travelled several times around the world.

Man Ray, “'El observatorio del tiempo. Los amantes”, 1932-34.

Most of this collection was donated to the Museum of Israel to form the "The Vera and Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art". The process began in 1972 with the transfer of 30 replicas of Duchamp's readymades, followed by the extensive Dada and Surrealism library in 1991. Finally, in 1998, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the museum, the rest of the legacy was completed to become a permanent fund in the museum.

René Magritte, “The Castle of the Pyrenees”, 1959.

Under the claim of Duchamp, Magritte and Dalí, the Palace of Gaviria brings together a selection of the most emblematic works of these isms of the last century, which are joined by Ernst, Tanguy, Man Ray, Picabia, Calder, Schwitters, Höch, Blumenfeld, Janco, among others. These artistic movements were a response of the creators to the convulsive times lived in old Europe devastated by the warlike conflicts and the lack of social integration. The rereading of the tangible, the dream interpretation, the scape to a different reality were ideas that fed the creative impulse of these artists, true architects of the critical thinking of the 20th century.

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.