ART MADRID-PROYECTOR’19: CELEBRATING VIDEO ART

As every year, Art Madrid organizes activities focused on contemporary art that take place throughout the month of February and with which the fair invites the public to participate in a much more active way. In this edition, the program is focused on contemporary video art, especially concerning the most recent Spanish media creation.

The wide range of activities, organized by Art Madrid and curated by the PROYECTOR Festival, includes ranging from professional workshops, conversations with artists, lectures, master classes to curated screening programs; as well as is maintained with the collaboration of Obra Social "La Caixa" and the Community of Madrid, through its spaces CaixaForum Madrid and Sala Alcalá 31 respectively. In addition, the program has the support of Cervezas La Virgen, One Shot Hotels and the Culture and Sports Area of Madrid City Council. With this program, Art Madrid becomes a platform for new trends in video and media art, inviting everyone to participate in the most recent contemporary art movements.

Although it is more than 60 years old, video art is understood as an artistic expression, presently it is still a discipline, not too very well-known and important in the most frequent cultural circuits. However, we are facing an expanding, growing moment of these forms of creation, in fact, video creation is one of the increasingly recurrent languages among contemporary authors. The program welcomes new projects that belong to this discipline as well as its knowledge and value, qualities that over time are reflected in the ephemeral character of this type of works and the circumstances surrounding its collection.

"Sweet dreams are made of this" (2016) frame by Carlos Aires.

The activities are presented under the curatorship of Mario Gutiérrez Cru, director of the ground-breaking PROYECTOR festival, a must-see event that takes place in Madrid consisting of audio-visual creation and its multiple elements that have worked hand to hand with hundreds of artists, gallerists, collectors and cultural institutions for more than ten years. The Program is planned into two large segments, each one organized in one of the two locations: CaixaForum Madrid and the Sala Alcalá 31 Auditorium.

On the one hand, the "58 formas de mirar el cuerpo" workshop will take place at CaixaForum throughout Monday 11 and Thursday 14 of February, a unique opportunity of understanding not only new media arts but also their relationship with performing arts by the hand of the renowned creators Elena Córdoba and David Benito. Reflecting specifically on the different ways of understanding and performing dance practices, is a workshop aimed at investigating the experimental, expressive and semiotic possibilities of body language and its relationship with space.

"EverdayMasks" (2017) frame by Paula Lafuente.

On the other hand, the Sala Alcalá 31 Auditorium will host, from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, February 23, conversations surrounding video art and media art screening sessions. The first conversation will bring together specialists such as Teresa Sapey, Eva Ruiz, Marta Pérez Ibáñez, Idoia Hormaza de Prada and Enrich Abogados in a talk aimed at creating discussion and a thinking forum. Open to all, in this activity the participation of the architect and designer Teresa Sapey is worth reminding, who will not only explain what factors may motivate buying video art but will also accompany us in an exclusive screening session about her media collection; an avant-garde collection that will provide the following artworks:

Candice Breitz with Becoming Cameron (2003), edición 2/3

Hussein Chalayan with Afterwords (2000), edición 3/5

Julian Opie with Sara Undressing (2004), edición 2/4

Marina Abramovic with Nude with Skeleton (2002-2005), edición 4/5

Eugenio Ampudia with Fuego Frío 2 (2004), edición 5/6

"Heteronímia" (2017) frame by Márcia Beatriz Granero.

The other appointments, on Friday the 22nd and Saturday the 23rd, include a conversation with the artists Eugenio Ampudia, Mateo Maté, Carlos Aires, Democracia, Cristina Garrido and Rubén Martín de Lucas who will present their media artworks in a dialogue with the public moderated by the artist and researcher Daniel Villegas, offering a unique opportunity to get to know directly their creative processes. Other highlight is the master class by Rogelio López Cuenca, one of the most outstanding national creators in the media art field. Also, the program includes two screening sessions curated by PROYECTOR: under the titles "Del cuerpo presente al cuerpo performativo" and "Ciudades" will present suggestive media works by about thirty international artists.

With this broad Parallel Program, Arte Madrid is fully committed to the most recent video art forms and narratives, which are as varied as they are complex and enriching. Thus, the fair contributes to the promotion and knowledge of the growth video art creation that, without doubt, connected especially with our current form of communication.

All the activities in detail in the Activities section

 

One of the proposals included in the calendar of the “Art Madrid-Proyector'20” program was the organisation of several meetings with artists within the fair. This gave visitors the opportunity to get to know their work better and open a personal dialogue with them after the presentation of their last lines of work. From Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th of February, we had the participation of Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Fernando Baena, Mario Santamaría and Maia Navas, a group of creators who work with the moving image, but also with the installation, technological art, performance and video art.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier's work revolves around the hybridization between the real and the sensible. This artist and researcher approaches this question in his works from a perspective in which perception, image and material production merge. Both his artistic and research practice deal with issues related to land use and plant growth without losing sight of these three points of interest. This results in works that incorporate the presence of nature from various perspectives, sometimes as a space of experimentation in which to reflect on the connection between art and politics, the relationship of the human being with the environment or the criteria for landscape intervention.

During his presentation on Wednesday 26th, Abelardo told us about some of his latest projects, in which the presence of technology is key to offering an artistic interpretation of the individual's impact into the territory. All this affects issues such as agricultural techniques, the progressive deforestation or the exploitation of land resources. The result is colour-coded pattern drawings that break down the analyzed landscape and offer a more visual and technology-based reinterpretation of these human behaviours. In addition, in this meeting, the artist explained his work “The Quivering of the Reed”, an installation that mixes video image, sound and material elements, and that plays the role of mixing the sensory with the real.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier

Fernando Baena shared a talk with us on the afternoon of Thursday 27th. This artist has focused a large part of his work on performance, happening and video pieces, many of them designed to capture the result of the action and give the work a second life in a new format. The main subjects that monopolize his work range from the treatment of sexuality and gender issues, to migratory movements and the drama of refugees, the exercise of political freedom and thought ... all of them are far-reaching issues that Fernando addresses from a familiar approach, with the use of common materials and recognizable environments. Another of the characteristics of his work is the presence of Marianela León in many of his pieces, a performer who has been collaborating with Fernando for many years until becoming almost an alter ego of himself and starring in most actions that take place in public spaces.

In this meeting, Fernando was able to explain part of his creative processes and to highlight a key aspect to the performance artist: to understand the reaction of the public. In this way, the impact of a work conceived from the theoretical plane is also analyzed, the meaning of which can completely change depending on the viewer's perception. As he himself explained in the talk regarding his piece "Balsa":

"What started out as a performance with an established script ended up being a happening in which the public participated with sometimes unusual reactions".

For his part, Mario Santamaría, who was with us on February 28th, shared with us a completely different work from Fernando's. This artist is focused on the analysis of the use of data, the feeling of manipulation and lack of control over our information that is produced in the digital medium and the desire to transform into something real some ideas as ethereal and commonplace today as the use of virtual storage clouds, the location of web pages or the data flow over the Internet. Much of his work, documented on video or transformed into technological facilities, is a form of research on the impact of the digital medium on our daily lives. His desire to bring these terms to the material plane, which we handle in our language today without really understanding their meaning, has led him to visit server bunkers, storage warehouses, in addition to tracking the exact location of the servers that host his own website to find isolated places far away from humanity.

Mario proposed a material trip to this reality to demonstrate that we are facing a very fragile system, whose durability is sensitive to natural phenomena, as evidenced by some of the documentation work carried out, where he rescued images of wild animals entering these data centres and endangering the livelihood of the digital world.

Mario Santamaría

Finally, Maia Navas, recently arrived from Argentina, shared with us the afternoon of Saturday 29th in a chat in which she told us about her creative work as well as her experience at the head of Play-Videoarte, a festival entirely dedicated to this discipline that she co-founded in 2012, and that in these six editions has combined an annual exhibition with a program of activities that take place in the City of Corrientes (Argentina), at the Cultural Centre of the University Extension that depends on the National University of the Northeast (UNNE).

Maia has a degree in psychology, as well as a degree in arts and technology, and combine her artistic career with teaching. The impact of psychology among her work topics is evident, and some of her video works try to delve into disturbing and perplexing aspects of human behaviour, such as the series "Procedures" that we could watch during the presentation. In it, the artist portrays the daily lives of people affected by OCD syndrome with an excellent visual narrative that puts the accent, almost with a cinematographic vision, on the personal experience of this phenomenon.

Maia Navas, foto de Marc Cisneros

From Art Madrid, we want to thank all these artists for sharing their creative experience with us and giving us the opportunity to dialogue with them about their present and future projects.