FROM GEOMETRY TO THE CONCEPT

Kreisler, Schmalfuss, Sâo Mamede, Shiras and Kur Art Galleries

 

Since the beginning of the last century, especially after the important Russian Constructivism movement and the mythical Bauhaus School, there have been many creators who have continued working on geometric patterns either by their infinite combinations and artistic, although sometimes purely aesthetic, social or conceptual potential. In this new edition of Art Madrid you can enjoy a very particular scene of the most modern geometric abstract art.

Carmen Otero, "Reconstrucción 7", cedar wood and polychrome, 2018. Galería Kreisler.

In this sense, the works of five artists stand out within the selection presented by the Kreisler Gallery (Madrid). The work of Ramón Urbán is marked by a pure and resounding formal synthesis, essentiality always impregnated by a strong emotional character that pieces like “Sigo en la sombra lleno de luz” (2018) shows, presented in an accurate dialogue with the sculptures of the series "Reconstructión" (2018) by Carmen Otero. Sculpted in some of the most beautiful woods, they are works in which the designs of the Bauhaus School resonate -now more than ever in consonance with Alma Siedhoff-Buscher's famous designs- here embodied in modular portraits that the artist composes and decomposes delicately.

Juan Gerstl, "La alcachofa", aluminium with direct UV printing, 2018. Galería Kreisler.

Very different are the formal investigations of Miki (Guillermo Gutiérrez), oriented towards the dominance of the spatial properties of the void: his monochromatic bronzes are rhythmic, whimsical and present twisting forms. Also geometrical and apparently volumetric are the works of Juan Gerstl, while the paintings by Gerard Fernández Rico capture fluid evoking. Kreisler also includes in its proposal personal works, very characterized by a narrative component, of two artists: on the one hand, the daily dreamed stories of Liliana Golubinsky, and on the other, the more colourful and amusing, made by the versatile Sawe.

Willi Siber, "Wall object", lacquered multiple pieces, 2016. Galería Schmalfuss.

More geometric creations are presented with Schmalfuss (Berlin), a gallery that presents some of the celebrated “objects” and more recent works by Willi Siber, always lacquered and bright. Equally radiant are the steel sculptures by Carlo Borer, with rounded, sensual, even sometimes voluptuous shapes, in which the spectator will be able to find his distorted reflection, similar to those presented by Jörg Bach, works composed from energy centres to which their volumetric termination always return.

Thomas Röthel, "Drehung", steel, 2015. Galería Schmalfuss.

A very different way of working industrial materials is that of sculptor Thomas Röthel, more interested in the rectilinear profiles, most of the times interrupted by distorted and curved elements that question the rational logic. In addition, in the Schmalfuss space you can see the expressionist paintings of the painter Cristina Canale; and the latest sculptures by Oliver Czarnetta, mysterious stories encapsulated in resin in which he reflects once more on the passing of time and our ways of perception.

Georg Scheele

Rose, 2018

Marble

153 x 70cm

Susana Chasse

No Land. No Thing #04, 2018

Acrylic and graphite on MDF

140 x 140cm

The São Mamede Gallery (Lisbon / Oporto) arrives at Art Madrid with a wide abstract and geometric languages proposal. Some of these are sculptures in marble by Georg Scheele and Matthias Contzen, minimalist abstractions of nature by Scheele and more organic and meticulous works by Contzen. Thousands of either steel rods or piano strings make up the structural pieces of David Moreno that, although volumetric as the artist himself affirms, are pieces made “in the purpose of drawing sculptures”. The pictorial commitment of the Portuguese gallery is also led by abstraction: recent works such as Susana Chasse or Rui Tavares, centered in the line, the layout and the possibilities of a small color palette, together with the paintings of Gil Maia, where the palette is extended and the textures become leading roles. São Mamede Gallery proposal is closed with two more symbolic and very different authors: the gestural González Bravo and the more dreamlike Ana Maria.

Nanda Botella, "Grietas, franjas y color", mix media, 2018. Shiras Galería.

Shiras Galería (Valencia) also offers quite a broad exhibit that consists of the works of six artists from Valencia. In its space, you will see the iron pieces of one of the pioneers of the so-called New Spanish Sculpture, Miquel Navarro. An artist undoubtedly connected with the creators of the Avant-garde. Through their work, we can delve into their personal and distinctive vertical geometrical precision. The latest works by Nanda Botella are also determined by vertical compositions; while the expressive brushstroke of Juan Olivares appears to disrupt all this order. The pictorial gesture, the brushing or scraping, passionate “emotional traces” dominate his colourful paintings, more recently also decomposed and framed in methacrylate.

Juan Olivares, "Sin Título", vinyl paint on heavyweight paper, 2018. Shiras Galería.

The diverse proposal of Shiras is completed with three very different painters. On the one hand, the essentiality of the round shapes, dominated by flat colours, which continue to distinguish the oils made by the great painter Rosa Torres.On the other hand, we have the oil paintings of José Saborit, landscapes of essential horizons where the painter demonstrates his excellent ability to capture atmospheres. And finally, the gallery presents Horacio Silva’s paintings on sheet metal, a symbolic approach in which the author highlights the sensitive qualities of this cold material.

Íñigo Arregi, "Sin Título", weathering steel, 2018. Kur Art Gallery.

Perhaps the most absolute geometric proposal is that of Kur Art Gallery (Guipúzcoa), featuring only local artists, great followers of the unique Basque creation of the twentieth century. We will see the volumetric collages, works in weathering steel, of Íñigo Arregi, canvases in which he continues to investigate the ways in which geometric forms are interconnected and interwoven. Likewise, the zinc pieces of Iñaki Olazaba are presented, absolute in their presence as in their contours; also part of the sculptural work of the landscape painter Aitor Etxeberría. Kur closes its exhibit for Art Madrid with two painters: J. Ramón Elorza, of which they present some of the more expressive works, featuring floating geometric objects; and Bingen de Pedro, who will surprise us again with his architectural trompe l'oeil. As the artist explained, when working on several canvases at the same time, contaminations arise between them, revealing relationships born from the way in which he orders and places the canvases, a random method that provides the final paintings with an impressive volume.

In short, an extensive group of artists that work from geometry and that we can enjoy in this unique occasion in the new Art Madrid edition.

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.