TRANSOCEANIC ART MADRID: FROM CUBA TO TAIPEI GOING BY PUERTO RICO

 

Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal. FOOTPRINTS. Set 31 drawings. Mixed media on card stock. Variable dimensions. 2016

 

 

The Collage Habana Gallery, located on San Rafael, the central boulevard of the Cuban city, has more than 10 years experience in the promotion and commercialization of local arts with a catalog of artists from different generations, young creators and established masters In the Cuban arts scene, many of them awarded with the National Prize for Plastic Arts, such as masters Manuel Mendive and Roberto Fabelo. Since 2004, it is the gallery that leads the Center of Visual Arts of the Cuban Fund for Cultural Property, where they reflect the aesthetic plurality of the art of the Island, from its projects and exhibitions.

 

The proposal they bring to Art Madrid includes the work of José Bedia, Roberto Fabelo, Santiago Rodríguez de Olazábal and Guibert Rosales. It will be a pleasure to see again the art works of the master Fabelo, painter, draftsman, engraver, illustrator and sculptor who has won numerous prizes and mentions, among them the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of Fine Arts in Paris (1996) National Prize of Cuban Plastic Arts (2004) or Distinction for National Culture, both granted by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Cuba.

 

 

 

Roldan Lauzan. Hierofante - Hierophant - Oil on canvas - 150 x 140 cm - 2016

 

 

Another Cuban, Galería Moleiros, was founded in 1999 with the aim of internationalizing contemporary Cuban art. Directed by René Moleiros, he represents both masters of the late twentieth century, such as Roberto Fabelo, Zaida del Rio and Manuel Mendive, as well as emerging artists, leading to numerous international fairs.

 

In Art Madrid'17 he bets by these artists: Rubén Alpízar, Roldan Lauzan, Yamir Izquierdo, Daniel Collazo. We highlight here the work of the young Roldan Laúzan (Havana, 1987) who has participated in collective exhibitions such as "Sabor Metálico", in Villa Manuela Gallery in Havana, "Intersections", Izabelle Lesmeister Gallery (Regenburg, Germany) Artis 7 and 18 ", at Galería Post it (Havana, Cuba). He has attended international fairs such as "ART KARLSRUHE" Contemporany Art Fair or "ART BODENSEE", Contemporary Art Fair Liebe FreundInnen der Kunst in Dornbirn, Austria. He has also collaborated with more than 35 publications for Cuban and foreign publishers. His work, oil or acrylics, shows an excellent mastery of the art of portraiture and a palette of his own with which he represents familiar characters in strange characterizations. Roldán wonders about our identity, dual identities or even the loss of identity.

 

 

Aimée Joaristi. Higgs boson 2 - Mixed technique on paper - 80 cm x 80 cm - 2016

 

 

The Klaus Steinmetz Art Contemporary gallery was founded in December 2000. Since then they have performed dozens of exhibitions with many Latin American artists such as Luis González Palma, Javier Marín, José Bedia, Botero, Adriana Varejao, but it is in the international scene where they have been more active, participating in fairs such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Lima, Bogotá, Caracas, Miami, Monaco, Madrid and Basel. They have also participated in exhibitions in collaboration with museums and galleries from more than twenty countries. In May of 2013, the gallery triumphed with the most important exhibition of its history: a monograph of Peter Halley (New York, 1953) and his abstraction and expressionism in dialogue with the geometric painting.

 

To participate in Art Madrid, they present the work of Aimée Joaristi, Gabriel Rigo and Nanda Botella. Joaristi's painting has won great recognition at festivals and fairs such as the 5th Riga International Triennial in Latvia, the V Biennial of Guayaquil in Ecuador or the award obtained at the TAG Gallery, Brussels at the International Art Dubai Project. The work of Joaristi is expression and abstraction in pure state, taking the dripping and the stain to almost sculptural states.

 

 

Mónica Subidé. Everydayness at risk of extinction -Oil, pencil and collage on wood - 75 x 120 cm - 2016

 

 

Yiri Arts was founded in 2014 with the spirit of being a "Every Days Art Museum" and the goal of makes art to penetrate and enrich people's lives. Through the curatorship, exhibitions, publications and international fairs, they present inspiring works full of vitality. They have galleries in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung's Pier-2 Space, but also run multidisciplinary venues in Taipei, combining art and literature, and in 2014 they co-founded the Taipei Free Art fair, because they think art can be discovered anywhere.


Its freshness arrives to Art Madrid through the work of Chen Yun, Wang Guan-Jhen, Monica Subidé and Núria Farré. Catalan artist Mónica Subidé (Barcelona, ??1974), represented by Yiri Arts, has exhibited individually in the Eternal Espai, in Bj Art Gallery and in the Fidel Balaguer Gallery, all of them in Barcelona. He has also participated in collective exhibitions such as "Big and Feliceful 2.0" in Yiri Arts, Taiwan, Ramfjord Gallery, Oslo, Norway, Bj Art Gallery, Paris, France and in Catalan galleries like Esther Montoriol Gallery in Barcelona. His work, with certain influence of art brut, regains the taste for the draft and the origins of the drawing, and she mixes the pencil lines with energetic colored brushstrokes in apparently unstructured scenes and compositions.

 

 

 

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.