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The ARCOMadrid Fair was held this year in the Span­ish cap­i­tal from 22nd Fe­bru­ary- 26th Fe­bru­ary. ARCO has the priv­i­lege that de­spite not be­ing the Fair in which the high­est vol­ume of trans­ac­tions are made, or the most spec­tac­u­lar works in the con­tem­po­rary art mar­ket are pre­sented—the most ex­pen­sive paint­ing for sale in that oc­ca­sion The tri­umph of Nau­tilus by Sal­vador Dali, was val­ued in 1.4 mil­lion eu­ros which can­not be com­pared to the works for sale in Art Basel or Frieze—, has in­deed great at­trac­tion for the gen­eral public who rely on the choice that the at­tend­ing gal­leries will make to fol­low the trends of the mar­ket. And that in­ter­est is man­i­fested in the at­ten­dance of over 100,000 visi­tors at the usual ex­hi­bi­tion site of the Fair, IFEMA (Fair In­sti­tute of Madrid), which makes ARCOMadrid rank first, as the one with the high­est num­ber of peo­ple at­tend­ing, among those fairs that are held an­nu­ally, in­clud­ing even Art Mi­ami (Mi­ami, USA), Art Basel (Basel, Switzer­land), ArteBA (Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina) and Con­tem­po­rary Is­tan­bul (Is­tan­bul, Turkey).

Tak­ing into ac­count that ev­ery year the con­tem­po­rary art world wit­nesses the ap­pear­ance of count­less in­ter­na­tional fairs, bi­en­ni­als, tri­en­ni­als and other cul­tural events, it is a great ac­com­plish­ment for ARCOMadrid to have been able to main­tain the public’s pref­er­ence for 36 years de­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties it has en­dured, in­clud­ing those de­rived from the re­cent cri­sis of the Span­ish econ­omy. The city of Madrid al­ways un­der­stood the in­ter­est in main­tain­ing this Fair and in boost­ing it, due to the pos­i­tive ef­fect it has on tourism, on the im­age of the city and its great at­trac­tion to the public. Be­sides, it con­sti­tutes the best plat­form that Span­ish gal­leries have to show the most re­cent works of na­tional artists who are pre­sented ev­ery year, as well as of those who al­ready en­joy the fa­vor of both cri­tique and mar­ket.

Fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple of the great in­ter­na­tional fairs that have be­come rec­og­nized marks—Art Basel or­ga­nizes Art Basel Mi­ami Beach, Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Basel City, a project that starts this year and has cho­sen the city of Buenos Aires for this edi­tion—, ARCOMadrid opened its first satel­lite fair, ARCOLis­bon in May 2016. It is too soon to know if the suc­cess of the Madrid fair could be spread to Lis­bon or if this project will be a fail­ure like that of the fairs FIAC LA or Paris Photo Los An­ge­les, both can­celed af­ter two and four edi­tions re­spec­tively. How­ever, if the or­ga­niz­ing experience and the abil­ity to en­gage the public can be used and ap­plied, this new ARCOLis­bon is likely to be a smart way of ap­proach­ing the Por­tuguese speak­ing coun­tries which up to now do not have a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in the Madrid edi­tion.

In 2017 ARCOMadrid boasted the par­tic­i­pa­tion of 200 gal­leries from 27 coun­tries. Most of these gal­leries, 167, were in­cluded in the Gen­eral Pro­gram. The other 42 were part of the pro­grams or­ga­nized by the Fair. The participating gal­leries are selected by the Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee com­posed of ten mem­bers who rep­re­sent the Span­ish gal­leries in Madrid, Va­len­cia and Barcelona as well as in­ter­na­tional gal­leries in Paris, Lis­bon, Sao Paulo and Santa Mon­ica (Cal­i­for­nia). And like in all fairs, in ARCO fea­tures an in­ter­na­tional pro­gram for col­lec­tors which in­cludes vis­its to in­sti­tu­tions, to pri­vate col­lec­tions and other events for those ac­tive col­lec­tors who are pro­posed by the participating gal­leries and that are cho­sen by the Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee.

For Arco 2017 the guest coun­try was Ar­gentina. The open­ing of the fair co­in­cided with the of­fi­cial visit of the President of Ar­gentina, Mauri­cio Macri, to Spain, and con­se­quently the

Fair was opened by the King and Queen of Spain, which is the tra­di­tion, and in this oc­ca­sion they were joined by the Ar­gen­tinian President. As it al­ways hap­pens in ev­ery of­fi­cial visit, the del­e­ga­tion in­cluded en­trepreneurs, jour­nal­ists as well as Ar­gen­tinian celebri­ties, which also had an im­pact on the mas­sive par­tic­i­pa­tion of Ar­gen­tinian col­lec­tors and in the pro­mo­tion ARCO had in this coun­try that is so im­por­tant for the Latin Amer­i­can art mar­ket.

Among the events and ex­hibits or­ga­nized as part of the Fair, was the co­or­di­nated pro­gram Ar­gentina Plataforma / ARCO in which twelve Ar­gen­tinian gal­leries par­tic­i­pated. Be­sides, the project Open­ing was held, in which Span­ish as well as in­ter­na­tional gal­leries, that have a tra­jec­tory of less than seven years, are pre­sented—in this case eighteen were cho­sen—.

The main in­ter­est of this project is to pro­mote new artists and orig­i­nal projects. An­other event was the Fo­rum ARCOMadrid, partly fo­cused on the very stud­ied, de­bated and an­a­lyzed is­sue con­cern­ing the art mar­ket and the cur­rent cre­ativ­ity; and it was within this frame of ac­tiv­i­ties that the re­port un­der­taken by Arte­in­for­mado was pre­sented to the au­di­ence: “100 ac­tive col­lec­tors of Latin Amer­i­can art. Col­lected artists, How to col­lect”. Ac­cord­ing to this re­port the main ac­tive col­lec­tors of Latin-Amer­i­can art, more than half of the to­tal, are con­cen­trated in 4 coun­tries: Brazil, Ar­gentina, Mex­ico and Colom­bia. It is in­ter­est­ing to point out that in this re­port some Cuban col­lec­tors are pre­sented among the most ac­tive and out­stand­ing in the con­ti­nent: Jorge Pérez; Rosa y Car­los de la Cruz and Ella Fon­tanals Cis­neros. The Fo­rum also com­prised two sem­i­nars de­voted to the sit­u­a­tion of art in Ar­gentina and of course there were the tra­di­tional pro­fes­sional meet­ings only open to spe­cial­ists of the art world.

Most of the gal­leries that are pre­sented in ARCO are Span­ish. In this oc­ca­sion the Latin Amer­i­can gal­leries that were present in the Gen­eral Pro­gram were two from Peru, and the same num­ber from Mex­ico and Colom­bia, one gallery from Chile and the rest were Brazil­ian and Ar­gen­tinian. For the space Open­ing, the Cuban gallery El Apar­ta­mento was cho­sen and it pre­sented works by Reynier Leyva Novo, who was very suc­cess­ful with his ma­nip­u­lated his­tor­i­cal pho­tos; it also ex­hib­ited works by

Yor­nel Martínez.

Even though no Cuban gallery par­tic­i­pated in the Gen­eral Pro­gram, Cuban artists were rep­re­sented at length. The Swiss gallery Peter Kilch­mann selected Los Carpinteros for the sec­tion Proyec­tos Espe­ciales (Spe­cial Projects) and their sculp­ture Domo Hexag­o­nal and large for­mat draw­ings were set in a priv­i­leged spot at the en­trance to the Fair. Works by Los Carpinteros were also pre­sented in the gallery KOW from Ger­many. An­other Cuban artist that had a prom­i­nent place in the Fair was Diango Hernández. To­gether with the late Ar­gen­tinian artist Vic­tor Grippo, he was part of the se­lec­tion made by Alexan­der and Bonin, a New York gallery, for the Diál­ogo (Di­a­logue) pro­gram. For this pro­gram, three cu­ra­tors had cho­sen ten gal­leries from all the world. When they chose the artists, the selected gal­leries dis­played their works in depth. In the case of Hernández, the works dis­played were part of a re­cent se­ries en­ti­tled Ley (Law).

In ad­di­tion, Marl­bor­ough Madrid-Barcelona pre­sented a work by Tomás Sánchez within an ex­hibit that fa­vored Span­ish artists. Among other artists there were works by Alexan­der Ar­rechea at the Span­ish gal­leries Casado San­ta­pau and La Caja Ne­gra; at Mai 36 Ga­lerie (from Zurich) there were Flavio Gar­ciandía’s works; at Nathalie Oba­dia there were the works by Ri­cardo Ro­dríguez Brey and Wil­fredo Pri­eto was at Nogueras Blan­chard.

Le­long Gallery, fol­low­ing the cur­rent trend to­wards the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of con­crete art as well as ki­netic art and geo­met­ric ab­strac­tion, chose for its space Zilia Sánchez’s works; and the Lis­son Gallery pre­sented works by Car­men Her­rera. And what is even more amaz­ing, the Brazil­ian gallery Dan Ga­le­ria brought to Madrid a great num­ber of works by Wil­fredo Ar­cay, Sandú Darié and Sal­vador Cor­ratgé al­ready ex­hib­ited in La isla conc­reta (The con­crete is­land), an ex­hi­bi­tion made the year be­fore in its Sao Paulo seat.

And as it hap­pens in ev­ery coun­try where big fairs are or­ga­nized, us­ing the main one as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, count­less events and par­al­lel fairs take place. In Madrid, the most in­ter­est­ing one in this oc­ca­sion, at least for ap­pre­ci­at­ing Cuban art was Art’Madrid Ci­beles, which was hold­ing its 12th edi­tion. Thirty six gal­leries were participating in this Fair, and once again most of them were Span­ish. The Fair stood out from the rest be­cause due to its rel­a­tively re­duced size, the qual­ity of the se­lec­tion and the way the works were ar­ranged, the public had more time to en­joy the works. And it was in this Fair where the al­ready tra­di­tional Cuban gallery Col­lage Ha­bana and the most re­cently cre­ated Galería Moleiros/ Es­tu­dio Arte Con­tem­porá­neo were pre­sented. The se­lec­tion of the lat­ter was fo­cused mainly on paint­ings, al­though an in­stal­la­tion was in­cluded. Ruben Alpízar, Roldan Lauzán, Yamir Izquierdo and Daniel Col­lazo were the artists in­cluded.

In the One Project zone, the Le­banese South Bor­der Gallery chose the Cuban artist Ernesto Ran­caño to make a one-man project and ex­hib­ited his se­ries Som­bras del Ayer (Shad­ows from yes­ter­day). This space, whose seat is at the cul­tural cen­ter in Beirut, has been grad­u­ally spe­cial­iz­ing in Latin-Amer­i­can art and is par­tic­u­larly com­mit­ted to Cuban artists, both to those who are well known as well as to those who are new, with the pur­pose of in­tro­duc­ing them into the Le­banese mar­ket.

In this oc­ca­sion the gallery Col­lage Ha­bana was com­mit­ted to ac­claimed artists who have a mar­ket back­ing, which was ev­i­denced in the suc­cess of the sales. In this oc­ca­sion there were two of Roberto Fabelo’s paint­ings in a very large for­mat that de­spite their high price found a buyer since the Fair started. The bronze statue by José Be­dia dis­played at the en­trance of the gallery was a beau­ti­ful work that was bought by a col­lec­tor set­tled in Italy. And the se­ries of small for­mat draw­ings by San­ti­ago Ro­dríguez Olazábal com­posed a set that drew at­ten­tion for its ex­cel­lent make and the co­her­ence of its com­po­si­tion.

And as in Fairs ex­hi­bi­tions are not the only fea­ture, there was a mo­ment in which the best of Cuban art and cul­ture were blended: Kelvis Ochoa’s con­cert per­formed at the stu­dio of

Los Carpinteros. ƒ

Galería Moleiros - Es­tu­dio Arte Con­tem­porá­neo / Booth in Art'Madrid Ci­beles / Ruben Alpízar, Roldan Lauzán, Yamir Izquierdo and Daniel Col­lazo Cour­tesy Galería Moleiros

DANIEL R. COL­LAZO − From the se­ries Dibu­jos fo­togéni­cos, 2017 / Char­coal on can­vas / 55 x 78¾ inches / Cour­tesy Galería Moleiros

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