NEW HORIZONS: GALLERIES BEYOND EUROPE

Yiri Arts, Oda Gallery, Collage Habana, O-Art Project y Lola & Unicorn Galleries

  The fourteenth edition of Art Madrid stands out for its marked international character. Actually, the origin of the participating galleries cross oceans and go far beyond the European continent. Among the foreign participating galleries from the General Program, stand out the Taiwanese Yiri Arts (Taipei), the South African ODA Gallery (Franschhoek), the Cuban Collage Havana (Havana), the Peruvian artistic collective O-Art Project (Lima) and the North American Lola & Unicorn (New York). Galleries also beyond Europe are some of the ones that partake the One Project program: Flux Zone (Mexico City, Mexico), Granada Gallery (Comuna, Argentina) and RV Cultura e Arte (Salvador, Brazil).

Chen Yun, "The past is like the dust on the plants I collected before", acrylic on canvas, 2018. Yiri Arts.

From Taiwan, they come the proposals of Yiri Arts, works as intimate as vitalist. Chen Yun, the most mysterious of the three artists presented, features some of his latest paintings: compositions organised in a format of diptychs or triptychs in which the states of the inner worlds are revealed. Both human figures, most of them in meditative attitudes, as well as the symbols or the objects that accompany them, reflect veiled narratives. In these stories, it is expressed much more without telling everything because you can feel the inherent tension that underlies in titles such as “Companion. Smeared faces comforting one another, leaning upon each other” (2017) or “The past is like the dust on the plants I collected before” (2018).

Guim Tió Zarraluki, "Campament", oil on linen, 2018. Yiri Arts.

On the other hand, the most extreme tensions are completely explicit in the works by Lai Wei-Yu, as shown his furious and monstrous figures entwined in eager fights. The contrast reappears in these works through the introduction of vivid and almost playful colours, especially in works like "The Fight" (2018) or "My Family" (2018), where a kind of confetti hides the traces of violence. Yiri closes his proposal for Art Madrid with works by Guim Tió Zarraluki: paintings of large stains of spot colours that offer us a place to stop to reflect; a new space where we can be able to cleanse our corrupted vision by the visual tyranny imposed by the mass media.

Andy Llanes Bultó

Serie Cuerpo Celeste (II), 2018

Oil on canvas

150 x 150cm

Daniel R. Collazo

De la serie 'Ciudades infinitas', 2018

Charcoal on canvas

100 x 130cm

The proposals of the Collage Habana’s artists stand out for their mastery of pictorial techniques and drawing over colour. It is enough to contemplate the round-format-painting that articulates the series "Celestial Body" or "Levitaciones" (2018) of Andy Llanes Bultó, intimate exercises of anatomy; the charcoal drawings of infinite cities, always exponential, always dystopian, of Daniel R. Collazo; the female, provocative and idealised portraits of Roldán Lauzán Eiras; or the more mature, hybrid investigations of Ernesto Rancaño, games of lights and shadows, dreams and nightmares, which leave a sense of suspicion when contemplating its details.

Alessandra Rebagliati

Donut Wheel, 2018

Photography

20 x 70cm

Rocío Gómez

Extrañamiento, 2017

Óleo, collage y foto sobre cartulina

75 x 110cm

In this edition, the interesting Peruvian collective O-Art Project participates for the first time, a project lead by Alessandra Rebagliati, Jessica Schneider, Carolina Bazo and Gianna Pollarolo. The four artists have been carrying out projects for more than two decades. They aim to make visible the different practices and discourses that exist in the Peruvian art scene, managing to transcend and spreading "its roots from a globalised and contemporary perspective". Together with three other artists, they present in Art Madrid a suggestive selection of works, with very different imaginaries and concerns but under a collective vision. The works of these artists stand out for their hybrid and vindictive character, as seen in the works Carolina Bazo or Alessandra Rebagliati, focused on the reconfiguration of the stereotypes associated with women or the power exerted by the patriarchy and capitalist logic in our daily work.

Jessica Schneider

Yellow Capsule, 2017

Photography

35 x 45cm

We will also see the installations of metallic fibres and the transparencies of Cristina Colichón; the attractive works of Jessica Schneider, with her mysterious capsules adrift; or the photographic distortions of Jacques Custer. On the other hand, Gianna Pollarolo works around concepts such as energy, mysticism or the origins of the collective imagination; while Rocío Gómez is more interested in semiotic issues, as shown by the use of multi-vision in her impressive audiovisual works or the enigmatic stagings of painting, collage and photography, as we see in "Extrañamiento" (2017).

Samson Mnisi

Untitled, 2018

Oil on paper

107 x 78cm

Layziehound Coka

Bring Back The Power, 2018

Mixed media on canvas

250 x 200cm

Also for the first time, ODA Gallery participates in Art Madrid, a proposal that will allow us to enter a unique artistic scene of the African continent. We must highlight the oils on paper by Samson Mnisi (Lesotho), a creator whose language of patterns, lines, symbols and colours is as personal as inspiring; the reviews, and updates, of the local shapes and icons made by Jean-Baptiste Djeka (Ivory Coast), in which he combines painting, collage and photo-assembling; and the most critical readings of the sociopolitical state of the African citizen provided by Layziehound Coka (South Africa). ODA Gallery will also present the most traditional and magical paintings of Silas Adelanke Adeoye (Nigeria), geometric figures, flat and colourful, whose masks can lead us to the fascination that so many artists of the Avant-guards felt for the ancient African art.

Fernando Daza

Círculo naranja, 2018

Paper torn by hand and glued on fabric

80 x 80cm

Finally, from the heart of New York, comes the wide selection of Lola & the Unicorn. In his space, one can enjoy the abstract explorations of three artists: Bosco Sodi, a great connoisseur of Mexican muralism, whose paintings reflect the connections between the qualities of matter, textures and their echoes in spirituality; and the latest works by the Sevillians Isabelita Valdecasas and Fernando Daza, more material and textural in the paintings of the first one, more geometric and subtle in the fabrics of the latter.

Miguel Vallinas

Raiz 37, 2015

Photography

100 x 70cm

Juan Genovés

Analogía, 2016

Giclee on Hahnemühle paper

74 x 55.5cm

The gallery will also exhibit recent works by one of the great Spanish painters, Juan Genovés - also present in the Aurora Vigil Escalera space. From his characteristic figurative style, so close to the most gestural expressionist abstraction, and using his usual zenith perspectives, one can enjoy the endless crowd scenes which obsess the indefatigable painter that much. In addition, the selection of Lola & Unicorn will include the photographs of Miguel Vallinas, portraits with a marked surrealist character in which he reflects on contemporary identity: "what man wants to be, what he thinks he is, what others think of him and what we really are."

 

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.