YOUR FIRST ARTWORK: VENTURE YOURSELF IN THE WORLD OF ART COLLECTING

Perhaps, at first glance, getting started in the collection of contemporary art may seem complicated and even more if the potential buyers are not part of the specialized sector. However, from Art Madrid we want to encourage young collecting and accompany all those interested in entering the wonderful world of private collecting.

Perhaps we can highlight some keys that will help the audience to decide on a work: on the one hand, choosing artists whose careers are in an initial or intermediate state; on the other, start with those small format works made on paper. In addition, if possible, seek advice from gallery owners or even being able to meet the creator, will greatly help in making decisions. Of course, we must erase the possible barriers that still would condition the contemplation and acquisition of contemporary art and simply dare to know it from respect, imagination and personal background.

Virginia Rivas

El amor está en la tierra, 2017

Acrylic, graphite and bodybuilder tape on canvas

20 x 20cm

Contemporary creation is much closer than we think; we have to remember that these artists live in our time and therefore may have very similar aspirations or concerns to ours. Although it seems otherwise, especially because of the variety of languages used by the contemporary artist, we can delve much better into his world view, since we have more tools to understand and it is closer to us than the one Titian, Goya or Picasso had. Anyone who has a real interest in entering the world of current art will discover that it is not as complex or encrypted as he may have thought, and if not understood, it must not be rejected either. Many times it is not about understanding or justifying each of the forms, it is more about enjoying, knowing the creative proposals and letting yourself be surprised. Of course, the viewer does not have to like everything that exposed, for the simple legitimizing act granted by the gallery or the museum, but neither has to deny all creation because of certain prejudices. Painting, sculpture, photography, audiovisuals, graphic work, technological art, living arts, action art... Art was never more open than in our days.

Manuela Eichner

Monstrenga, 2018

Objeto en PS

57 x 29cm

Rūta Vadlugaitė

A Cone, 2017

Oil on canvas

51 x 44cm

In a fair like Art Madrid, which has always stood out for being cosy and close, you can find very interesting and affordable works to get introduced into collecting such as the special edition of Guest Artist, Rubén Martín de Lucas. It is a limited series of photographs part of the series "Repúblicas Mínimas" and corresponds to the "Republic No. 12". Likewise, the work on paper by the young Rūta Vadlugaitė (Contour Art Gallery) could interest the starting collector. Her work, characterized by the roundness of the shapes and the large spots of colour, can be found in one of the stands of the One Project of this edition since this artist has been one of those selected by the critic Nerea Ubieto. Other participants of this curating program are Virginia Rivas (DDR Art Gallery) and Manuela Eichner (RV Art and Culture), from which you can also buy some of the pieces from their series at a very good price. It is the same with the work on paper by Cristina Alabau, poetic abstractions of nature.

Cristina Alabau

Espacio interior, 2018

Watercolor

15 x 30cm

In this edition, furthermore, the potential collector can also acquire works of different techniques or supports at fairly affordable prices. In this sense, it is possible that many would be interested in the work by Silvio Alino (3 punts), a young artist who creates a fun, fresh and colourful work within pop culture, through mixed techniques on canvas. Equally, surely the small format painting by Pepa Salas (Robert Drees) will captivate more than one: from a beautiful game of black and white and colour touches, her work usually hides mysterious stories. They are other worlds in which to introduce ourselves, such as the most naturalist by María Ortega Estepa (Galería Luisa Pita); the urban ones by José Juan Gimeno (Alba Cabrera Gallery); or the most imaginative and enigmatic by Carolina Bazo, Jacques Custer o Jessica Schneider (O-Art Project).

Silvio Alino

Pop Icon, nº 392, 2018

Mixed media on canvas

40 x 40cm

María Ortega Estepa

Soñe contigo la noche que comenzaba la primavera, 2018

Oil on canvas

60 x 40cm

Another work that could seduce the young collector is that by Carlos Tárdez (Bea Villamarín): wonderful sculptural pieces that stand out both for their aesthetics and for their critical messages. Between sculpture and silkscreen lies the work by Iván Baizán (Arancha Osoro), an artist that investigates the technical possibilities of printing to the point of arriving at a three-dimensionality very coherent with its maximum preoccupation: the architectonic and urbanistic tracings and our ways of inhabiting them. And if what interests you is sculptural abstraction you can get to know, in the same stand, the fine work in glass by Luis Parades (Arancha Osoro).

Carolina Bazo

Patrones, 2017

Photography

20 x 70cm

Carlos Tárdez

Atlas, 2018

Polychrome resin

14 x 7cm

Finally, we highlight the special editions of interesting artists that can be found in many of the galleries participating in Art Madrid, such as BAT Alberto Cornejo, Moret Art, Fucking Art or Rodrigo Juarranz, among many others. You just have to dare to get acquainted with contemporary art and chat to gallerists and artists.

It is true that there can be many reasons that explain the purchase of art, a wide range that goes from the pure passionate impulse that can be felt before a piece to the coldest, but also very necessary, purchase as an investment. In the first event, there are such famous cases in Spain such as Pilar Citoler, a great collector who always remembers with affection her first acquisition: the work "El Andaluz Perdido" by José Caballero in the Juana Mordó gallery in 1970. From that date, Citoler has continued to expand a rich and very heterogeneous collection, the result of the passion of a "pure", pioneering and avant-garde collector, concluding with the transmission of more than 1,200 works to the Government of Aragon. Almost a disease that continues to feed today: "there cannot be art without obsession" read one of the great exhibitions on her collection curated by the critic, and specialist in the collection, Alfonso de la Torre. In the second case, there are numerous outstanding national corporate collections, especially those that seek the art of new technologies such as the BEEP Collection, Inelcom or BBVA. It only remains to us to decide how and why we want to collect, with all options being as interesting as they are legitimate.

 

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.