WE SAY GOODBYE TO ART MADRID’20: OUR MOST DYNAMIC AND FESTIVE EDITION TO DATE

With some nostalgia, as it happens with all good things that reach to an end, last Sunday, March 1st, we closed the doors of our 15th edition; but we also have a deep feeling of satisfaction and gratitude towards all those who have participated in this party and have made Art Madrid the best celebration of contemporary art to date.

Photo by Mario Domingo, Art Madrid'20

We close our 15th edition reinforcing its position as a must-see fair within the Art Week of the capital, thanks to our commitment to innovation and the expansion of disciplines, that has resulted in a huge reception by the public and the professional art sector. For five days, Art Madrid has transformed the Crystal Gallery of the Palacio de Cibeles into a real dynamic and festive event around contemporary art, attended by about 20,000 people.

Our audience grows and diversifies every year, and both visitors as exhibitors remark that Art Madrid is one of the most attractive, accessible and welcoming fairs to visit. The gallery owner Luisa Catucci, who participated in the Art Madrid for the first time, says that “it was surprising to see the fair full of people at all times, it has been a fantastic first experience; in addition, there were many collectors and directors of foundations and institutions, so the public was excellent.”

Photo by Henar Herguera, detail of "Orejuda V", by Iván Prieto, in Art Madrid'20

Other galleries that chose Art Madrid as the first option to enter the Spanish market share this same opinion, such as Panoptikum or Urban Spree, who underlines the high interest of visitors, the extraordinary opportunity to expand contacts and the satisfaction of concluding operations with new collectors. As Adeline Jeudy, director of the Parisian Galerie LJ who premiered at Art Madrid, comments “it is a very positive experience and the location of the fair is perfect; and I have been able to meet new collectors, art lovers and visitors of more professional as well as varied profiles.”

In addition to having grown in terms of the interest and specialisation of the visiting public, the galleries also underline the potential growth of Art Madrid year after year and its emblematic situation in the heart of the capital, besides the constant effort to offer the best contemporary art of the moment. Some senior exhibitors at the fair, such as the Kreisler Gallery, highlights the influx of public and the increase in sales with new national customers. Likewise, Aurora Vigil-Escalera points out that Art Madrid is “one of the most important contemporary art fairs and it is essential to take care of it and pamper it. I think that the space is unbeatable and that the quality of the galleries has been increasing every year.”

Photo by Lourdes Diaz

This evolution of Art Madrid is also much appreciated by the professional sector. Carlos Delgado, a critic, curator and member of the Art Madrid Committee, explains that the fair has established itself as “an absolute expression of the most contemporary scene that seeks direct contact with present art and strengthens its commitment to support young artists and emerging creators maintaining the balance with more consolidated artists.” In the same way, Art Madrid also stands out as the optimal space to enter into collecting, something that confirms Nuria Blanco, director of the Moret Art gallery (A Coruña), who corroborates an increase in young buyers around the age of 40 that start their collections with small or medium-sized pieces. “We have had many couples who bought their first piece together. This makes it a more special sale for us”. Nuria also states: "We are very happy with the presence of institutional collectors, such as the Museum of La Palma that acquired a piece of Lino Lago, something that has a positive impact for both the gallery and the artist.”

Photo by Lourdes Diaz, Art Madrid'20

Indeed, this edition has seen an increase in the support provided by public institutions, with a greater presence of authorities and political representatives. It should be highlighted the visits from the Ministry for Culture and Sports with, among others, Elisa de Cabo de la Vega, Deputy Director for the Protection of Historical Heritage (Fine Arts G. D.); as well as the Government of the Community of Madrid, among which we mention Antonio Sánchez Luengo, Deputy Director of Fine Arts of the General Management of Cultural Promotion. Likewise, the support provided by regional and local governments is remarkable. All this gives an account of the interest shown by the public sector to support art and culture, with its active participation in large events such as Art Madrid.

It should be noticed the numerous visits of directors and curators of outstanding museums and cultural institutions such as the MNCARS, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Würth La Rioja Museum, Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, Circle of Fine Arts of Madrid, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vigo, CaixaForum Madrid, CEART, Cab de Burgos, Atlantic Centre of Modern Art-CAAM, TEA Tenerife Space of the Arts, Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art or MUSARCO, to name a few. We also had the visit of collections and private entities such as the INELCOM Collection, SOLO Collection, Thyssen Bornemisza Foundation, Repsol Foundation, Casa de Alba Foundation, Manuel Benedito Foundation, Enrique Ochoa Foundation, Support Art Foundation, BBVA Foundation or Cepsa Foundation.

Photo by Lourdes Diaz, Art Madrid'20

In addition, this 15th anniversary has achieved a very positive impact on the public, critics and the media, thanks to its determined commitment to turn the event into a dynamic and up-to-date celebration that everyone loved. Both the new video art, action art and performance program carried out together with the video art platform PROYECTOR, curated by its director Mario Gutiérrez Cru; as well as the redefinition and expansion of the One Project program, directed by art critic and curator Fernando Gómez de the Cuesta under the title of “Salvajes. La cage aux fauves”, have kept alive the spirit of celebration and full relevance that has served as a leit motiv to this 15th edition.

Finally, we cannot forget our sponsors Royal Bliss, Yelmo Cines Luxury, One Shot Hotels, and all our collaborators, volunteers and media partners, who have contributed to turning this anniversary into a memorable event.

Art Madrid celebrates this way 15 years of experience, consolidating its evolution and recognition as a unique space for present international creation, supporting both emerging artists and the most consolidated professionals, becoming an essential event for collectors, experts and other cultural agents necessary to the revitalization of contemporary art.

 

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.