INTIMATE SPACES. PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Within the online exhibition “Intimate spaces. Personal reflections” eight artists whose works are connected by the search of the intimate space live together. The images by Xurxo Gómez-Chao, Alfonso Zubiaga, Carlos Regueira, Soledad Córdoba, Rocío Verdejo, Andy Sotiriou, Ely Sánchez and José Quintanilla capture serene and solitary settings, empty spaces, open-plan rooms with which they invite personal reflection. The selection of images in this exhibition assembles around two areas: that of interior spaces and that of natural landscapes.

The individual is immersed in an everyday whirl leading him to a vital dilemma. A large part of our decisions is the fruit of the evolution of things, the imposition of standardised guidelines that surround us with routines of modernity, in the stream of the society of our time. However, the need to recover the essence of the human being is often imposed on this inertia. The return to spirituality, to inner balance, demands its place.

With the series "La Salita" the photographer Xurxo Gómez-Chao manages to give soul to walls and spaces in which the only outstanding element is an armchair. This way, he creates dreamlike environments within those interior landscapes where the absence of any other element confers a more intangible meaning.

Xurxo Gómez-Chao

Hotel Earle. Red room, 2016

Photography on paper Ilford

100 x 80cm

Xurxo Gómez-Chao

Hotel Earle. Golden room, 2016

Photography on paper Ilford

75 x 60cm

For her part, the lyrical scenarios of the series "Limbo" by Soledad Córdoba start from experienced and dreamy realities. Her images create visual poems, where silence, beauty, pain, fear or lack of communication are present and united by a fragile thread. Rocío Verdejo, likewise Soledad, introduces human figures in her compositions to unravel that tangle of feelings and emotions that gender violence implies. Her work "Crashroom" is a visual metaphor that manages to express the "not to exist inside".

Rocío Verdejo

Crashroom, 2014

Printing with pigmented inks on Hahnemühle paper on dibond

70 x 50cm

Natural environments also offer a multitude of possibilities to show those sensations even if there are no walls, no borders, no limitations. We find naked landscapes that manage to convey a deep balance like those by Andy Sotiriou, whose series "Snowscapes" captures snow-covered fields crossed by random lines of vegetation, or Alfonso Zubiaga, who interprets the relationship between the land and the sea with images of high-contrast and great serenity in his work "Binario". In this same way, José Quintanilla also uses cultivated fields in which, suddenly, an anonymous and washed-out construction emerges. His project "My house, my tree" conveys a deep nostalgia with retro aesthetic photographs and ochre-pastel tones.

Andy Sotiriou

Snowscape 29, 2014

Photography, mineral pigments on paper

60 x 60cm

Alfonso Zubiaga

Binario 1, 2017

Photography

55 x 74cm

José Quintanilla

Mi casa, mi árbol 15, 2015

Pigmented inks on Hahnemühle cotton paper mounted on cardboard museum

21 x 31cm

From a more dreamlike perspective, Carlos Regueira offers a dramatic vision of wooded landscapes. His "Paisajes pervertidos" reflect a morbid beauty, perhaps threatening, but at the same time reveals formal serenity and balance. These images emerge from the mist of memory and interpellate the viewer. In a similar line evolves the work of Ely Sánchez. In his series "Heridos" seeks to reveal that everything we see is an artifice, a translated image, credible but not real. On the other hand, in "Sueños geométricos" the artist focuses on the beauty of the lucid dream to experience what in real life is not feasible, thus releasing his most intimate identity.

Carlos Regueira

Malaysia, 2014

Photography

52 x 70cm

Ely Sánchez

Serie Heridos 1, 2014

Digital print

53 x 80cm

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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.