Madrid Art Week is an opportunity to show professionals, enthusiasts and collectors, the variety and quality of contemporary national creation. Art Madrid, in particular, is a meeting point for galleries throughout Spain that are especially committed to local talent.

In the Art Madrid'18 General Program you can find galleries of practically all the regions, from north to south of the Iberian Peninsula, galleries that fulfill two essential functions: to take to their respective cities the influences and the work of artists from other points of Spain and international, and to promote local artists outside their region, taking them to fairs around the world and showing their work to collectors and international public.

Jorge Barbi, “Nat 3”, fotografía.

The Montenegro Gallery (Vigo, Galicia), founded in 1987 and directed by Victor Rodeiro Montenegro, is specialized in Historical Vanguard and Modern International Art, and represents Spanish and foreign artists but it dedicates part of its program to Galician art. In Art Madrid'18 they participate with two Galician artists, Jorge Barbi and Manolo Paz.

Jorge Barbi studies Philosophy in Santiago de Compostela. His artistic activity can not be easily integrated into any of the trends that have characterized Spanish art in recent decades and he works in a conceptual line, adapting form and content to materials and ideas. His works can be displayed in different kinds of shapes, as an object, a digital photograph, an ink drawing, an installation or an intervention in public space. In spite of the technical diversity with which he elaborates his work, there are, however, elements that are constantly repeated in his works and that unify his long career, such as the passage of time, chance, humor or word games. His work, as plastic as poetic, can be considered a projection of his ideas about the relationship between nature, the cosmos and the human being.

Manolo Paz was slowly entering the world of sculpture, carving wood with his knife. His beginnings were developed by creating collages and various pieces of wood but today his work with stone stands out. The intimate dialogue he establishes with "the lifeless" surprises us in his fully emotional pieces. As says Paz himself, "you must have have faith in the stone", to let "speak for itself". "Give it a stroke, open it in channel, and that the mysteries arise, the energy that takes inside". Between stone and man an agonized relationship is established, a struggle, which is in itself an act of love.

Arturo Álvarez

Agora, 2016

Steel, binder and LED

150 x 40cm

From A Coruña it comes the gallery Luisa Pita, about whom we have already talked before in our piece about Women in Art Madrid, and it is also one of those meeting and promotion spaces committed to the artists of their region. Luisa Pita participates in the fair with the work of 2 Galicians: Arturo Álvarez and Christian Villamide, and the South African Pierre Louis Geldenhuys.

Arturo Álvarez is an artist and designer with great international projection thanks to his conceptual contributions to design lighting. Its pieces, installations and sculptures are designed to provoke emotions and have the human being as protagonist and the light as the guiding thread. Arturo Álvarez explores human relationships and communication between people through the play of light and shadow and the expressiveness of the pieces alone and together. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Spain, London, New York and Tokyo. He has received the "Good Desing Award" or the "Best of Year 2014" from the Interior Design magazine in New York.

Christian Villamide, conceptual and minimalist painter, communicates through various plastic languages, including expanded painting with materials such as wood, aluminum and the use of "light" as a provocative element of suggestive shadows highlighting the beauty of the contour and the poetics of our landscape. In his "paintings", almost uniform surfaces, in gray eroded and neutral tones in which, suddenly, there is a light gap, a nascent element, a new meaning, a dialogue between nature and the industrial landscape, reflecting the fracture that occurs between mankind and Earth.

Pierre Louis is a haute couture designer and textile artist trained academically in clothing, textiles, makeup, decoration, lighting, sound and production disciplines. The artist presents at the fair his light boxes intervened with wild silk, pieces that are part of his cocotological study (meaning coined by the artist) of geometric resolutions through different techniques of textile origami.

Iván Prieto

100 Roskilde roses, 2017

Enameled and acrylic ceramic

51 x 27cm

Moret Art, also from A Coruña, and also featured in our article on Women of Art in Art Madrid'18, participates with 4 Galicians: Xurxo Gómez-Chao, Lino Lago, Miguel Piñeiro and Iván Prieto, sculptor and illustrator whose work focuses on the imperfections and rarities of the human being in today's society, transforming them into surrealist characters. Prieto has exhibited individually since 1997 in institutions such as MAC, George Adams Gallery in New York, Bredgade-kunsthandel gallery in Copenhagen. He has also exhibited collectively at ARCO, Pulse Art Fair in Miami or Project Art Fair in Miami. His work is also found in public collections such as the Harvard Business School in Boston or the Flint Institute of Arts, United States.

On the other hand, the painter Miguel Piñeiro works from realism and creates a new concept of still life where objects are "materialized" by layers of pictorial work on surfaces as diverse as methacrylate or wood. Current cult objects replace the classic elements of the still lifes to create compositions in which originality and irony are the keys that bring us closer to this classic genre.

Kiko Miyares

S/T, 2017

Polychrome pine wood

200 x 40cm

Kiko Miyares

S/T, 2017

Polychrome pine wood

195 x 40cm

From the gallery Arancha Osoro, from Oviedo, participating in Art Madrid'18 with Nuria Formenti, Jezebel, Kiko Miyares, Luis Parades and Roberto Rodríguez, we highlight the work of the Asturian painter and sculptor (Llanes) Kiko Miyares. Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Public University of the Basque Country, he has accompanied his work with wood sculpture, playing between the automatic and the planned. The characters he represents at first become material to construct new elements using anamorphism, forcing us to focus our attention on the details and expression of the figures that he transmute.

Luis Parades (Parades, Asturias) show us his glass sculptures, "submerged dreams", enigmatic scenes in which the medium necessarily becomes part of the message. Roberto Rodríguez Redondo, from Aviles, is a young artist whose graphic, pictorial and sculptural work, is closely linked to pop and urban art, ull of elements related to design, illustration, fashion or music.

Gloria Torner

Bahía con limón y concha, 2014

Oil on canvas

73 x 50cm

From Noja, Cantabria, comes the Espiral Gallery, directed by Manuel Sáenz-Messía and Ana Laguna. Inaugurated in the western area of the Community of Cantabria in December 2006, Espiral was re-founded in 2013 in its new headquarters, Noja. Dedicated to national and international contemporary art, with innovative artistic proposals and languages, it covers all contemporary art trends, with the presence of artists from Cantabria and from diverse nationalities. Its artists for the fair are Nacho Angulo, Ana Sanchez, Eduardo Vega de Seoane and, one of our outstanding today, Gloria Torner, born in Burgos but grown in Santander, a city whose bay - its haze, its seagulls, its apparent stillness ... - she has dedicated a great part of her work, conected with avant garde figuration, between the expressionism and the naive, with a very personal plastic language. The poet José Hierro would say of her in 1975: "In the end, what happens is that Gloria Torner is a Fauve painter whose paintings have fallen mist, the colors have lost their savage condition to immerse themselves in the silver atmosphere, as anise and water, all their task is to turn reality into memory, into melancholy. "

The MH Art Gallery, in Bilbao, has the double objective of presenting a selection of internationally recognized artists in Bilbao and presenting emerging Basque artists in art spaces (galleries and fairs) from outside the Basque Country. For Art Madrid'18 they have chosen, however, an international and multidisciplinary proposal with the images and collages of Martín Carral, the ink drawings on Korean paper by Joo Eun Bae, the naturalist reflections on paper and writing by Khalid El Bekay and the fragility of the paintings and sculptures by Juanma Reyes.

Eloy Morales

Paint in my head 2, 2017

Oil on canvas

150 x 150cm

The Jorge Alcolea Gallery, in Madrid, was founded in 1989 as a continuation of the project that its director, Jorge Alcolea, had in Barcelona. Initially he specialized in the discovery and support of young artists, many of whom already have a consolidated career and are the center of the exhibition program of the gallery. The gallery continues today its commitment to emerging art. In Art Madrid'18 they participate with Tatiana Blanqué, Alejandra Caballero, Ceesepe, Mario Pávez, Isabel Ramoneda and Eloy Morales, whose talent, evident in his hyperrealistic self-portraits on a large scale in oil, is unquestionable. A challenge for the eyes. He is often the protagonist of his work, becoming the object and subject of painting, being paint himself: "I am interested in working with reality to express it in terms of painting. My engine is to fix a personal line, where reality and painting coexist in a natural way, always coming to the image through plastic resources, pictorial and non-photographic codes, above all, I think the important thing is to show through the work, your way of seeing things and in what way you show them viewer. On the other hand, also stimulates me the tremendous power of the image and its inexhaustible possibilities".

Eva Mauricio

Espejismo, 2017

Oil on canvas

120 x 80cm

Eva Mauricio

A flote I, 2017

Oil on board

20 x 20cm

About talent, from Murcia on this occasion, we can speak with Sofía Martínez Hernández, director of the Leucade gallery, a reference space in the heart of the city of Murcia where she promotes the work of, among others, Lucas Brox, Eva Mauricio and Raúl Romero, all Murcian and linked with the new pictorial figuration.

While Eva Mauricio reinterprets the symbology of water, its perpetual change, its mirror facet, its mass, as heavy as invisible, equating the liquid element with ephemeral emotions, memories ... Lucas Brox delves into portraits as if he did In a dark cave, groping, palpating the canvas, leaving traces, marking the canvas with electric colors as illuminating the scene. His language, each day more intense, breaks little by little the barriers between figuration and abstraction.

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.