The urban space appears as an immense blank canvas that offers a multitude of options to accommodate surprising, ingenious and, above all, large proposals. The visual strength of these pieces is capable of modifying the environment and generating a great attraction, in addition to energising the activity and serving as a way to channel global messages that seek a direct change in the community. In this panorama, the urban sculpture reveals itself as the great winner. The riskiest and voluminous works claim their share of prominence by living with other disciplines that also make their way into the cities. We bring you some of the most curious works conceived for the public space.

Richard Jackson, “Bad Dog”, 2013 (via publicdelivery.org)

Richard Jackson made this temporary sculpture outside the Orange County Museum of Art, in Santa Ana, California, on the occasion of the retrospective that the centre dedicated to him in 2013. The author wanted to open the debate about the role of humour in art, and of course, he got it. "Bad Dog" achieved a significant impact. The work of this artist is very focused on the double meanings, irony and the fight against stereotypes in art. The result is eclectic and challenging to define work that breaks moulds.

Ugo Rondinone, “Seven Magic Mountains”, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016 (photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni)

Other authors prefer to place their proposals in natural spaces where asphalt and cement are far away. This is the work of Ugo Rondinone, which is committed to using elements of the environment, such as stones and giving them a layer of colour to create his compositions. As assembled pieces of large format, its columns of painted rocks rise as beings from another world and remind us of the indigenous totems that evoke the ancestor's spirits. His work swings between the landart and the popart taken to desolate and diaphanous places, as with his famous "Seven Magic Mountains", located in the Nevada desert.

Eduardo Catalano, “Floralis Genérica”, 2002 (via www.craiglotter.co.za)

Urban works are also vehicles for symbolic values. "Floralis Generica" is a huge flower-shaped sculpture made of aluminium, stainless steel and concrete. The architect Eduardo Catalano donated it to the city of Buenos Aires in 2002. Since then, it is installed in the United Nations Plaza, in the centre of an artificial lake. Thanks to an electric mechanism, the flower opens its 23-meter petals every morning and closes at dusk. With this simple gesture, this work represents the hope of each new day and the rebirth of life, and today has become a symbol of the city.

Costas Varotsos, “Dromeas”, 1994

In a review of the futuristic movement that triumphed in the first decades of the twentieth century, the work Dromeas ("The Runner") is a 12-meter high sculpture made entirely of superimposed green glass sheets. The Greek Costas Varotsos wanted to represent the strength, momentum and speed of the racers and pay homage to the start of the Olympic games, where athletics was one of the first disciplines to consolidate. In the middle of the Marathon’s Way, in Athens, this work seems to gain speed and erase its contours to the wind.

Charles Robb, “Charles La Trobe”, 2007

In this list, we cannot forget the sculpture of Charles La Trobe made by Charles Robb in 2007 that we can see in Melbourne. Charles Joseph La Trobe was a public figure in the Australian colony of Victoria driving several cultural projects between 1839 and 1854, a period in which the Royal Botanic Gardens, the State Library, the Victoria Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria and the University of Melbourne. Robb's decision to create a piece by presenting the figure face down was a way of questioning the meaning and purpose of contemporary monuments dedicated to celebrities or people of public interest. Today this work made of plastic and fibreglass can be seen at La Trobe University in Bundoora.


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.