El espíritu de la pintura, by Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo ©Javier Molina

 

 

 

The Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is an internationally recognised character, among other things because of his admiration for the classic Spanish masters. He has inspired himself several times by Goya’s work for his proposals, and his devotion to El Greco led him to reproduce a part of his vital path, passing through Crete, Venice, Madrid and Toledo, with the wish of soaking up of an experience that allowed him to know the artist better and capture these life lessons on his work.

 

 

 

Cai Guo-Qiang, Last Carnival, 2017. Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio.

 

 

 

Guo-Qiang is known as the artist of the gunpowder. His artworks enclose all the strength of the free impulse, the gesture into the air and the intention of feelings. Not for nothing, this artist is also a pyrotechnic worker, and he has known how to incorporate the ignition powder in his creations. The result remembers many times the fireworks exploding up in the air but represented on a canvas.

 

 

 

Cai Guo-Qiang, Mountain in Heat, 2016. Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio.

 

 

For this exhibition, Guo-Qiang enclosed himself for the months of September and October inside the Salón de Reinos of the museum to turn it into a temporary studio. The result of this intense work will open to the public on the 25th. The key piece of the showing is a monumental artwork that the artist will complete live, entitled “El espíritu de la pintura”. This exhibition suggests a dialogue with some of the masters now kept on the Prado, like Tiziano, Velázquez, Rubens, Goya or El Greco, with which the artist attempts to strengthen links between the East and the West regarding their ways of understanding art.

 

 

 

Making-of of the documentary “El espíritu de la pintura”, directed by Isabel Coixet.

 

 

Along with the showing, we count on a full-length film-documentary directed by Isabel Coixet regarding the artist and his work. The film, produced by the museum, was shot during the months when Guo-Qiang was working in the Sala de los Reinos. A reduced version of the documentary will be projected while the exhibition is ongoing. To Coixet, it has been the right opportunity to know more in detail the creative processes of this spiritual artist and to gather these impressions on a film that makes accessible to the public the fascination that Guo-Qiang awakes.

 

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.