THE SEDUCTION OF MYSTERY

Miquel Alzueta, Robert Drees, Fucking Art, Alba Cabrera and MH Art Galleries

 

The seduction of the unknown, hidden and mysterious, is one of those things that is hard to describe. Many times we do not even know how that feeling begins, why something becomes so attractive or how it becomes a permanent thought. The mystery can be ineffable, because it is not easy to express it with words and, perhaps due to this verbal difficulty, it is more possible to express it through other languages, such as the language of images, the shapes of visual arts.

Hugo Alonso

Son, 2018

Acrylic on paper

50 x 50cm

Jordi Alcaraz

Untitled, 2018

Mixed media

55 x 65cm

The appealing proposal from the gallery directed by Miquel Alzueta comes from Barcelona. In its booth, the audience can appreciate the unique poetics of Jordi Alcazar, an artist who “paints without paint”, who "makes meta-painting, or almost", as the journalist José Ángel Montañés pointed out. The overwhelming and conceptual work of Alcazar invites us to question the very nature of painting, its shapes, techniques and messages, at the same time revealing the narrow (and sometimes conflicting) relationship it may have with literature, or rather with the exercise of reading, something that overwhelms the day to day of the artist. His pieces are small books with dark and deep holes, like a kind of precipices: there is no doubt that literature can calm and even heal a restless mind, but it must not be forgotten that it can become a pernicious obsession for those who love it in excess. Living other lives, starring in the stories of "others" and holding our particular disappointments back, is a great temptation that the artist Hugo Alonso knows very well. In his paintings on paper, in which thriller film hints are revealed, it always seems that something crucial is about to happen, or something revealing has just happened; in fact the seductive feeling of curiosity that the gaze hides, very enhanced in these works by the unreality of black and white.

Andrea Torres Balaguer

Vermilion, 2018

Mixed media

142 x 112cm

The seduction produced by mystery is also very present in the photographs of the series "The Unknown" by Andrea Torres Balaguer: stylish women whose faces have been veiled by brushstrokes, drips, mineralized paint. The mystery, the fascination, the hidden tale or the pure aesthetic pleasure are traits that have characterized the works of the young photographer since her beginnings. Very different female portraits are those presented by the painter Lídia Masllorens: firsthand close-ups sometimes only enlarged details, represented through an agile, liquid brushwork, but guided in a very conscious way. The Catalan gallery closes with the work of Maria Yelletisch, essentially graphic, conceptual and compiler spirit; and with the personal mythology of the, only in appearance, playful Edgar Plans -also represented by the Marita Segovia gallery.

Pepa Salas

Desiderare con l'anima I, 2018

Mixed media on canvas

100 x 150cm

Markus Fräger

Der helle Schein 1, 2018

Oil on canvas

50 x 70cm

Undoubtedly enigmatic are the works presented by Robert Drees Gallery (Hannover). From the figurative, provided by the paintings of Pepa Salas, creator of sensual images and the intriguing stories in which the reality of black and white is usually disrupted with the introduction of discordant elements in colour; or the more expressionistic work by Markus Fräger, in which stories the chosen time is given a complex meaning and sublimated by the artist, who masterfully explores the psychology of portraits and the aura of environments.

Michael Laube

21-17, 2017

Acrylic on glass

40 x 100cm

Jürgen Jansen

Kerames III, 2018

Tinta y acuarelas sobre papel

125 x 158cm

The mystery comes many times precisely from duality, to unite opposite aspects, as does the South Korean artist Sun Rae Kim in her fantasies in rubber and paper: reflecting at the same time on the outer surface and the inner structure, in her work traditional materials of Korean culture along with others imposed by current industrial times are combined. The two most abstract proposals presented by the German gallery can also seem mysterious: the beautiful and ethereal installations in acrylic glass by Michael Laube; or the most hypnotizing and risky paintings of Jürgen Jansen, in which a final layer of the resin often makes them irresistible.

Carlos Regueira

Bosque de Ferrolterra, 2017

Mixed media, photography and painting

70 x 35cm

Alfonso Zubiaga

Binario I. It Isn´t chaos, it´s just Binary, 2018

Photography

83 x 113cm

The artists of Fucking Art present in this edition of Art Madrid an interesting selection of their most recent creations, as the hybrid landscapes by Carlos Regueira, between photography and painting: intriguing from that peculiar solitude, allure from the beauty of the inhospitable. The audience can also find out the new pieces of Alfonso Zubiaga that give continuity to the series "It is not chaos, it is only binary", where the photographer introduces us to the contradictions between the analogue and digital worlds from the depth of lyric nights of strange serenity.

Atauri

Árbol y escalera, 2018

Tinta sobre papel

100 x 100cm

Isabel Alonso Vega

Levógira, 2018

Fumes and methacrylate

30 x 30cm

Especially poetic is the work by Atauri: both in her graphic works, where the author reveals a meticulous observation and a deep passion for natural shapes, as in her object-based pieces, where the poetics of repetition are paired with more conceptual issues. The gallery selection closes with the enigmatic works in suspension by Isabel Alonso Vega: smoke, frozen and dissected scrolls inside methacrylate urns that, however, acquire extreme and unexpected beauty. Both for the alternate personality of this gallery, created and managed by the artists themselves, as well as for the nature of their proposals, can well relate to those verses by Neruda that say: "Come on, let's leave / this suffocating river / in which we swim with other fish / from dawn to shifting night / and now in this discovered space / let’s fly to a pure solitude” (translated by Alastair Reid. “The future is space. Memorial de Isla Negra", 1964).

Cristina Alabau

Nº2 Espacio sensible, 2018

Murano glass on corten iron base

55 x 40cm

The entire Valencian selection of Alba Cabrera Gallery (Valencia) includes the exotic landscapes travelled (or imagined) by Calo Carratalá: naked interpretations of the landscape from an absolute interiorization and essentiality of the shapes that seem to speak of a sense of internal exile. Also, essential lines and interiorization of nature includes the work of Cristina Alabau, artist of which the gallery exhibits a set of watercolours works and some of her sculptures made in Murano glass. Here the landscape expresses itself through poetic abstraction as an interior territory full of evoking.

José Juan Gimeno

Entre la Quinta y Broadway, selfie, 2018

Acrylic on board and serigraphy on methacrylate

100 x 100cm

Alba Cabrera completes her proposal with the work of José Juan Gimeno and his reflection on urbanism and urban anthropology. We now delve into the urban and social plots that, through the concrete readings of the works, expose a reality (or a fiction) in time as elusive as it is ours, which paradigms are in the continuous transformation.

Mónica Dixon

Nowhere Nº 8, 2018

Acrylic on canvas

50 x 50cm

Estefanía Urrutia

S. Fosforescencias 7, 2015

Oil on canvas

46 x 55cm

Finally, MH Art Gallery (Bilbao) presents the latest works by four artists. The public can enter the mysterious spaces created by Mónica Dixon: a counterpoint to the mental and visual noise of everyday life, a place of reflection marked by silence, stillness and the play of light and shadow that reveals presences that hide through the out of focus. In the same way, the characters of the oil paintings by Estefanía Urrutia appear from the silence, from the iridescence that exists in daily life, this daily normality in which so many things happen and go unnoticed but could have great aesthetic or emotional relevance.

Thilleli Rahmoun

Sin título, 2017

Mixed media on paper

150 x 175cm

The distortion of the urban web reaches great expression in the work by Thilleli Rahmoun, an Algerian artist especially sensitive to the changing concerns, experiences and ways of life of the contemporary city. Luckily, we can always take refuge in the most ancestral mysticism, as the work by the South Korean Joo Eun Bae offers through her spiritual landscapes turned into abstractions, watery and light but at the same time that compact and textural.

 

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.