Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong

L'impressionant quadre d'Antoni Tàpies que s'exhibia a l'estand de la galeria Mayoral a Art Basel Hong Kong.
Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong
Ricard Planas Camps - 10/05/24

The beginning of the artistic year has no stop. Fairs, biennials... start the engines in February and the "artistic thing" doesn't end until December. Zona Maco in Mexico City, from February 7 to 11, kicked off with a consolidated offer; a fair that could have been one of the several reasons why Arco Madrid has moved from the month of February (its historical date) to March, from the 6th to the 10th this year, which has caused the rest of the city's events also change the calendar. Madrid during this time is buzzing with activity, fairs, exhibitions and contacts. This year, at the stand of the Miguel Marcos gallery - which will receive recognition for its career in May at the GAC awards in Barcelona - we presented the monograph on good art / bad art, dedicated to the figure of Joan Brossa; an "expanded" artist whom the gallerist from Zaragoza, established in Barcelona for more than twenty years, has helped to internationalize in a major way. The critic and historian Juan Manuel Bonet, one of the people who has written the most about Brossa - former director of the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid - and who participated in the bonart monograph, was in charge of leading an event that signifies an author who always went against the grain.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Ricard Planas, esquerra, i Juan Manuel Bonet, historiador i crític d'art, durant la presentació del "Malart" a l'estand de la galeria Miguel Marcos a Arco Madrid.Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Les revistes abans de la presentació.

Another outstanding artist from this year's Arco fair, another unclassifiable against the current, is Josep Ponsatí; the Banyol sculptor who sculpts/creates from blindness. A creator who, through cultural goodwill and the Lluís Coromina Isern Foundation, with the complicity of the architect Toni Bramon, we have helped for more than five years to put him back in the spotlight. Well, Ponsatí in collaboration with Bombon Projects and the Joan Prats gallery - which has now teamed up with Nogueras Blanchard and which presented itself in this way for the first time in Madrid - exhibited a solo show by the artist with photographs of the actions and ephemeral installations from the 70s and 80s, as well as a large inflatable. An author that the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid thought it appropriate to acquire some of his works and incorporate this reference of the 20th century into its collections; a note, the MACBA also has one. Good news for this essential artist and that history - which means the complicity of many cultural agents - is starting to do him justice. The Generalitat de Catalunya awarded him the National Culture Award in 2019.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Fotografies de Colita al Círculo de Belles Artes de MadridReflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Ricard Planas, ceo de bonart cultural, i Bernat Daviu, artista i socifundador de Bombon Project davant d'una de les escultures de Josep Ponsatí a Arco Madrid.

We couldn't leave Madrid without seeing Colita's exhibition, titled "Antifémina" with extraordinary texts by Maria Aurèlia Capmany at the Círculo de Belles Artes and promoted by gallery owner Rocío Santacruz. We also had to get to the Matadero cultural center to see the Urbanity art fair; a very interesting event, with Catalan galleries such as Miquel Alzueta (which had works by Cesc Abad -bonart cover-), the Víctor Lope gallery or a solo show dedicated to the artist Gino Rubert; a fair where you could breathe transgression, risk and sparks of youth in the proposals. The exhibition dedicated to Salvador Juanpere by the Vila Casas Foundation, under the curatorship of art critic Natàlia Chocarro, which can still be seen until May 18, at the Blanquerna Cultural Center of the Generalitat de Catalunya, was an obligatory stop. in Madrid Drawings of magical realism, of unknown realism that dialogue with an installation with archaeological fragments of sculptural works of extreme delicacy and poetics.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Instal·lació de Salvador Juanpere a la Blanquerna

Nor could we leave without seeing the impressive retrospective on Antoni Tàpies at "Reina", curated by the hyperactive Borja-Villel, who seems to be everywhere. An exhibition with an extraordinary selection of works, but - exercising the practice of criticism that the literary Jordi Llovet so strongly recommends to exercise - does not have the risk we would have expected, neither in the assembly nor in the interrelationship of the pieces: a pure chronological discourse, splendidly canonical, but with an excessive sobriety that perhaps does reflect the essence of the work of the Catalan artist, but personally I think it narrows the paths to be able to investigate the thousand questions that this author provides us. I remember with longing the magnificent retrospective at the Palau Fortuny in Venice, it is also true that the space itself breathed a magic that the hirsute architecture of the Reina Museum cannot offer.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Una obra d'Antoni Tàpies exposada al MNCARS de Madrid.

And without abandoning the universe of Tàpies, which this year commemorates the centenary of its birth, we should talk about one of the galleries that has always defended it and continues to defend it: Mayoral. A gallery that has opened a new contemporary space - many congratulations for the success and motivation - and that apart from being present at Arco, I had the opportunity to find it recently at Art Basel Hong Kong, the other great event that it took place from March 28 to 30. Mayoral, like Galeria Polígrafa, are the only galleries I have found at both Art Basel Miami and Art Basel Hong Kong. For Catalonia it is a luxury to have two galleries that play in the "Champions League" of the international scene, despite the fact that Mayoral's proposal surpasses with repercussion the always delicate and intelligent artistic and, also commercial, strategies of Polígrafa (the art and culture have a part of business that you don't need to hide, and that is that people in the sector eat and not just knowledge). Polígrafa, a gallery that works uniquely and exclusively on graphic work with very different authors depending on the fair and that becomes a rarity to always keep in mind. After Hong Kong I traveled to a fair in Texas (I understood the one in Dallas in April, there is also one in Austin in May), in short, a non-stop.

UNIVERSAL HISTORIANS . Mayoral claims the historic universals - now, with the new space, also the contemporary ones - but of zero kilometer (Tàpies, Miró, Dalí, Picasso...). Of this first, at Art Basel Hong Kong, he exhibited a spectacular large-format work that did not leave anyone indifferent. Visitors who, in general terms, were quite young, something that showed that Europe is the beautiful Old Continent for a reason: it is clear from the demographics. Jordi Mayoral, one of the three brothers who runs the gallery "holding" - always under the supervision of the patriarch - told me that it is not always easy to bring works of this power from so far away, but it must be done to set the tone. Mayoral, who also opened a gallery in Paris, is currently one of the international flags of the gallerism of Catalonia and Barcelona. A family that from Verdú -Lleida- have been able to position themselves in Barcelona and, subsequently, in the international arena with success, intelligence, effort and, of course, opening the "bag", as a good friend always says museologist A gallery that could soon enter Art Basel in Switzerland in the next edition, a milestone that is in the hands of very few.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Una peça exposada a Art Basel Hong Kong.Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong D'esquerra a dreta, Montse Oller, Lluís Coromina, Jordi Mayoral i Ricard Planas, a l'estand Mayoral d'Art Basel Hong Kong

But among the galleries based in Barcelona that are more and better around the world, I would like to emphasize Zielinsky. We could also talk about Rocío Santacruz who doesn't stop either - from París Photo to Untitled in Miami-, of the Senda gallery - which recently takes the subject of fairs more calmly but doesn't stop either-, of Bombon Projects or the Pigment gallery. Zielinsky based in Barcelona since 2015 and also in Sao Paulo -Brazil- (he will now open the second in the South American country) develops a commitment to teach us authors, mainly Ibero-Americans of interest, such as Shirley Paes Leme, Vera Chaves or some like Yamandú Canosa - resident for some time in Catalonia -. Zielinsky has been linked with an intense activity for fairs all over the world; they are currently present this April in Chicago and then head to Arco Lisboa in May. Ricardo and Carla's capacity for work, enthusiasm and knowledge is fascinating.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Part de l'exposició de l'Asian Art Archive de Hong KongReflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Una escultura a l'estand de la galeria de Pedro Cera a Art Basel Hong Kong

Let's go back to Art Basel Hong, where a recent sculpture by Jaume Plensa allows itself to be loved by the public, while I greet the gallerist of Pace Print in New York who represents the artist Santi Moix; I also speak with the Portuguese gallerist Pedro Cera who has just opened a space in Madrid and who has always promoted Plensa's work. To end the tour, I speak with the director of the Cayón gallery, which has spaces in Madrid, Manila and Mahon, a combination of glamorous and quirky. Hong Kong is the symbol of a dense and complex city that I visited accompanied by good friends: the collector and philanthropist Lluís Coromina Isern and the entrepreneurs with social and cultural sensitivity Fernando Turró and Montse Oller. A cumulative city, fully vertical, that does not have a piece of land to waste and of British colonial heritage. An inheritance that has disintegrated to make way for new buildings - a country guide slyly commented that everything that could be sold to raise money for the British queen was sold, whether it had a history or not. New buildings are making their way, some are old, but they remain perfect, like the legendary Norman Foster downtown, which rumor had it could be torn down if things went the wrong political way. I don't know what Foster will think after all the demonstrations of the last few years. The fact is that the museum offer is important and with the help of Iciar Mangas, the representative in Spain of Art Basel, we were able to visit a very particular entity, the Asia Art Archive, on Hollywood Rd, very close of the antiquarian district, a place you must visit. Asia is a documentation and research center that acts as a cultural center. With different headquarters spread all over the world it is a little gem of documentation. I left a bonart/malart in it, as it could not be otherwise. Among the museums on offer, the M+ is a must, a new building with an activity that never ends; nor should we ignore the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Tai Kwun's space, the JC Contemporary, where, among other exhibitions, there was a collective with works by Carolina Caycedo and Lavanya Mani. Tai Kwun is a complex, the little that remains of the old British heritage, where the old police stations, courts and prisons were - all right there. The prison has been left as a museum space while the rest is home to shops, restaurants and a prestigious Italian art gallery. I also found there is a "delegation" of bonart, a company with the same name and logo that is not directly engaged in art, but with a good motto: good art, good life. The last recommendation would be to go to the Hong Kong Palace Museum, to immerse yourself in the oriental heritage and traditions.

Reflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Escultura moble amb M+ de Hong KongReflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Fernando Turró davant d'una escultura de Jaume Plensa exposada a Art Basel Hong KongReflections: Arco & Madrid - Art Basel & Hong Kong Instal·lació al JC Contemporary de Hong Kong

From Hong Kong it is also recommended to visit Macau, an hour by boat or car from Hong Kong, with Portuguese colonial heritage, with the historic center as a World Heritage Site for more than fifteen years, with casinos also as flag - kitsch at its best - and with a neat and interesting Macao Museum. Combining with the museum, we find the fortress of Monte and the well-known ruins of the facade of the cathedral of Sant Pau. Back in Hong Kong, another must visit: an hour's drive away, the Chinese Silicon Valley: Shenzhen. A kind of Chinese-style Chicago, impressive!!!

The next stop will be at the Venice Biennale which lasts until November, but before that a walk through the Basque Country, La Rioja and Zaragoza.


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