PORTUGAL, BROTHERS IN ARTS

It is impossible to be nearer, physically and symbolically. Portuguese artists and professionals can consider Art Madrid "their fair". On this occasion, the Art Lounge and Arte Periférica galleries, both from Lisbon, and Paulo Nunes Arte Contemporânea, from Vila Franca de Xira, participate in the General Program of the fair. The Nuno Sacramento gallery is part of ONE PROJECT program.

João Santos

Sin título, 2017

Plexiphoto

100 x 70cm

Art Lounge, under the direction of Sofía Tenreiro Da Cruz, intends to disseminate the work of international artists recognized for the quality of their work. Convinced of the importance of cultural exchange, the gallery tries to show in Portugal foreign artists still little known in the country and, in a second phase, aims to promote the internationalization of contemporary national plastic arts. The Art Lounge proposal for Art Madrid'18 is multiple: Uiso Alemany, Carmen Calvo, Fabio Camarotta, Fernando Coelho, Vinita Dasgupta, Daniel Merlin, Brice Munier, João Noutel and Florian Raiss.

Carmen Calvo, “Alegría es uno de sus adornos más vulgares”, técnica mixta, collage y fotografía.

The work of Carmen Calvo always deserves a break. National Prize of Plastic Arts 2013, Calvo is a reference in the contemporary conceptualization of the fragment. Her work has an essence of finding and reminiscence and materials such as cement, marble, glass, clay, plaster and a long etcetera are part of her compositions that have been renewed over the decades in an evolution that led her to represent Spain in the Pavilion of the Venice Biennial of 1997 with Joan Brossa. Next to her, the colorful and almost childlike forms of Brice Mounier, the materic portraits of Daniel Merlin or the social art of Vinita Dasgupta that wants the viewer feels and participates in her images, in the process of discovery, the synthesis of personal feelings, the color that inspires her and the technique used.

Isabelle Faria

Purity-Finally time had come IV, 2017

Oil on canvas

80 x 80cm

Isabelle Faria

Purity-Finally time had come VI, 2017

Oil on canvas

40 x 40cm

Also in Lisbon, Arte Periférica has been promoting international contemporary art in the city for 25 years. Directed by Anabela Antunes and Pedro Reigadas also bet on an ambitious collective formed by the artists Isabel Sabino, Isabelle Faria, Jessica Burrinha, Moses Duarte and Sylvie Lei.

We highlight here the contrast between the work of the French Isabelle Faria, graduated in Fine Arts, Painting, Drawing and Video at the Central School Saint Martins in London in 2003 and focused in a style of drawing and painting very expressive, fast, almost gestural and full of acid humor to represent the tormented part of the human being: his vices, his fears, his sins... In contrast with the work of the Asian abstract painter Sylvie Lei who, with an almost ethereal palette and inspired by the effects of neon light and the screens produce paintings that deal with the problematic nature of virtual reality in the contemporary social context and its way of changing our space-time.

Mário Macilau

Sem Título, 2017

Mixed media on canvas

80 x 120cm

The Galería Paulo Nunes Arte Contemporânea, located in the historic center of Vila Franca de Xira, returns to Art Madrid. Founded in December 2010, its main objective is the dissemination of consolidated and emerging artists, national and international, in all disciplines. Not only do they organize their own exhibitions and take their artists to fairs all over the world, but they also give advice to collectors. One of its bets is to close alliances with other international galleries to promote their artists looking for an exchange between the creators and their works. Rui Dias Monteiro, Mário Macilau, Gilvan Nunes, Ana Pais Oliveira and Manuel Patinha are the creators chosen by them to premiere at the Madrid Art Week.

The work of the African Mário Macilau, documentary photographer who also experiments with painting, aims to make visible the social conditions in his country and the African continent. He began in the world of photography in 2003, but it was not until 2007 when he devoted himself professionally and has already participated in international exhibitions such as the Biennial of African Photography of Bamako 2011, the BESTphoto 2011 of Portugal, the VI Edition of the Chobi Mela Photo Festival of Bangladesh 2011, the Photospring of Beijing 2011 or the Lakes Photo I and II edition. In addition, he is a member of the committee of artists and curators of the photography festival organized by the Goethe Institute in Africa. We also highlight the work of Rui Dias Monteiro, photographer and poet who mixes these disciplines creating images with great conceptual content, graphic ideas that he intervenes with pure painting on photographic paper to create unique pieces.

The Nuno Sacramento Gallery, based in Aveiro (Portugal), participates in the ONE PROJECT program with a solo-show by Bernardo Media, but we will talk about this in detail later.

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.