40 actualités Espagne artist living in Frankfurt for three years, goes further and underlines how much “It’s paradoxical to see that when faced with a total lack of support and creative fabric an artist flees a region, succeeds elsewhere and “returns”, the press and politicians highlight the artist’s place of origin as if it were a source of pride”. Spain is still too dependent on external evaluation and legitimization structures. In fact, many are the big names from previous generations, such as Dora García, Secundino Hernández, Pablo Genovés, Lara Almarcegui, Alicia Framis and Jordi Colomer, who went to seek this recognition “outside” and never returned – or did so very recently. reaching the MACBA or the Virreina.The Miró foundation strives to fill this gap with Espai 13, the programming of which has clearly focused in recent years on local artists already exhibited in the aforementioned institutions, but this remains insufficient. “I had participated in almost all the “young”art awards in the city, I had just had a solo exhibition at Espai 13, I had joined a gallery. Despite all these advantages, the whirlwind of the “young” art circuit was a trap, a kind of simulacrum of a professionalization that was still always ‘to come’”, explains very clearly Gabriel Pericàs, 32, who left for NewYork seven years ago to continue his journey there. The same is true in all the major cities in the country. Each has its large emblematic museum – the Guggenheim in Bilbao, IVAM in Valencia, the Centre Pompidou in Málaga – but few medium-sized centres that can help artists develop. Gone are the glorious years of splendour of the peripheral centres – the ARTIUMs in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Da2 Domus Artium in Salamanca, MUSAC in León, LABoral in Gijón and MARCO in Vigo –, all born in the early 2000s, before the economic crisis, and who have seen their aura and influence irretrievably decline, mainly due to poor management of cultural policies. The opposite of what happened, for example, with the Fracs in France and recent attempts at effective decentralization, with the appearance of Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier and Toulouse as credible alternatives to the capital. “I think the Spanish state’s saturated with institutions, in part because of what has been called ‘the Guggenheim effect’ or ‘the Bilbao effect’”. What is lacking is public support for independent spaces that arise from the art industry’s own agents and collectives. Sufficient, constant support, which doesn’t depend on each mandate,” explains Esther Gatón, a young artist who also decided to study at Goldsmiths College to better understand the Anglo-Saxon approach to art. “There’s no lack of structures, there’s a lack of larger budgets and more stable programmes, freed from electoral shake-ups; there’s a lack of more – and better – collectors, and above all of esteem in general for art”, concludes Gabriel Pericàs. LAST CHANCE: MADRID There remains Madrid, which is about to absorb everything. People now go to the capital, just as long ago Rastignac [Balzac’s ambitious character in The Human Comedy] would go to Paris. Last resort before going abroad.This is further proof of the fragility of the Spanish artistic fabric, a country historically very decentralized, where the scenes in Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia once rivaled that of the capital. Matadero, CentroCentro, Alcalá 31 and CA2M, all in Madrid, are good examples of institutions that offer visibility and sustained support for creation. However, they have fallen behind. Just look at the names presented recently in their programming, such as Rosana Antolí, Rafael Barber Cortell, Eva Fàbregas, Rubén Grilo, Diego Delas and Julia Spínola, all resident abroad, and/or having completed their training there. And there are still a lot left – too many? – to bring back: Oriol Vilanova, Pepo Salazar, Alain Urrutia, Nuria Fuster, Fran Meana, Patricia Esquivias, Eli Cortiñas. So now we should exhibit them before they leave. This is also the meaning of the major exhibition organized at the end of 2018 by Beatriz Alonso and Carlos Fernández-Pello at the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M) and which, even if it claimed the opposite, looked like a retrospective panorama of the current Madrid scene: fifty-eight artists, the majority of whom live in Spain and who needed this recognition. In addition, what is true for artists is also true for curators and artistic directors of all generations. Just look at the cases of young people like Martí Manen, head of Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm; or Sabel Gavaldon, recently appointed curator at Gasworks, London. The example is even more obvious for widely recognized figures such as Marta Gili, whom the French know well for having directed the Jeu de Paume (2006-18); Chus Martínez, director of the Art Institute of the Academy of Arts and Design FHNW in Basel; or even VicenteTodolí who, although very close – as an advisor – to several important collections in Spain, has worked mainly outside the country, and now runs the Hangar Bicocca art centre in Milan. But the most obvious illus- AND THEN ... NOTHING Because the panorama is (almost) more dramatic for artists in mid-career. There is a certain vacuum of what one could call the middle class in the Spanish institutional fabric.There is, of course, an interesting policy of residences for young artists, attracted by affordable rents and a moderate cost of living. I am thinking in particular of Hangar, La Escocesa and Piramidón in Barcelona, Matadero and the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid, Orbital Residency in Santander, CCA Andratx in Mallorca andTabakalera in San Sebastian. Even though the resumption of real estate speculation has contributed to an increase in rents, artists still find workshops in industrial areas close to the city centre, such as Poble Nou and l’Hospitalet in Barcelona and Carabanchel in Madrid. They manage to show their work in independent centres, spaces linked to the university or via public assistance programmes. And then nothing. Or not much. Take Barcelona, for example. The circuit is clear and well known: Sala d’Art Jove, Art Nou Millenni Gallery, La Capella, Can Felipa, Fabra i Coats. Then a (very) big void before Querer Parecer Noche, Esther Gatón. « Bechamel from Mars ». 2019. Résine, pigments, eau. (Ph. Esther Gatón) Resin, pigments, water
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