THE EVOCATIVE LANDSCAPE

It seems that contemporary art has reflected on the individual's relationship with the environment, focusing on the modification of nature, the invasion, the occupation, the appropriation and the limitation. The construction of walls, the erection of buildings, the urbanisation of the scene... are themes today intimately connected with other major concerns of our time, such as global warming or the overexploitation of resources. This trend shows an adaptation of artistic language to the technological dictates of our time, and recurring use of materials, disciplines and techniques that incorporate a great visual load while delving into a message of denunciation, which goes beyond aesthetic impositions.

Wilbur Streech, “Hidden Lagoon”

The prioritisation of discourse has displaced the traditionally reigning composition. We are in the era that formalism has lost its validity, and attention shifts to eclecticism, reuse and narrative value. The majority of contemporary art appears as a medium that channels the criticism of our time, which condenses the concern of the new generations, the pessimist vision before an uncertain future and the questioning of the values of a conformist, well-off and consumerist society.

Hiroko Otake, “Memory of red rose”, 2008

Despite this, some authors continue to resort to more traditional elements to condense their expressive desires. The banishment of beauty as a motive and purpose in art has given way to creations that, while incorporating technologies available to everyone and employing a closer language, do not have the aesthetics among their discursive priorities. However, the commitment to more classic scenes and compositions is a rara avis that renews the inherited pictorial legacy and is a way to recover a less intervened approach to the environment. At the same time, the return to the landscape serves to value nature and generate a sense of responsibility for its care and conservation.

Wilbur Streech, “August Sun”, 1980

The work of Wilbur Streech (Fullerton, California, 1914) and Hiroko Otake (Tokyo, 1980) explores this trend. Although for the latter, the influence of traditional Japanese art is somewhat expected, we can also see Japanese reminiscences in Streech's work. In both cases, the landscape and flora become the central motif for artistic proposals that seek serenity and the balance of spirit through natural contemplation. The predominance of transparencies, the superposition of layers and soft tones create an atmosphere of meditation and mysticism. Their work invites us to enjoy direct contact with the environment, the pure experience of observation and silence.

Hiroko Otake, “The form of beginning”, 2016

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.