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.

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.