Arco encourages the artists | Culture


The edition of Arco, which opened this Wednesday for professionals, will go down in history for many things that make it different from the previous ones. The number of galleries has been reduced by almost half, every visitor is equipped with masks and many of the great collectors seem to have chosen to remain in their summer residences. But this edition will also be unique for something very positive for women artists: for the first time, participants have been asked that projects dedicated to a single firm feature them, a preference that is also reinforced in the general exhibition.

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Maribel López, director of Arco, estimates that there may be some 50 creators represented at the fair and acknowledges that she has not had to insist too much on this, because “recognition of the authors is something that has been increasing for some time.” Distributed by the two pavilions, the monographic exhibitors bring artists who work with different media and trends: Johanna Calle (Moisés Pérez de Albéniz), Dominique González Foerster (Albarrán Bourdais), Fernanda Fragateiro (Elba Benítez), Isabel Villar (Fernández-Braso ), Sophie Ristelhueber (Jérôme Poggi), Jessica Stockholder in dialogue with Almudena Lobera (Max Estrella), Rebecca Ackroyd (Peres Projects), Maja Bajevic (Peter Kilchmann) and Alexandra Karakashian (Sabrina Amrani).

In addition to standing out in the exclusive spaces, the pieces signed by women are mixed and spread throughout the fair. Soledad Sevilla, before the work that she exhibits in Marlborough, explained moments before the opening of the fair that, oddly enough, the initiative to encourage gallery owners to exhibit works by women is very necessary. “Much progress has been made, but they continue to be more. The number matters and I do not see any danger or arbitrariness in the measure. When real equality is reached, the same must be spoken again. Right now, it is necessary ”, concluded the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts.

Work by Beatriz Olano, in the Rafael Pérez Hernando booth, during the first day of the Arco de Madrid fair.
Work by Beatriz Olano, in the Rafael Pérez Hernando booth, during the first day of the Arco de Madrid fair.ANDREA COMAS

Another of the most notable presences of the fair is Carmen Laffón, in Leandro Navarro. The Sevillian artist exhibits five sculptures and a painting inspired by the Sanlúcar de Barrameda salt flats, where much of the confinement has passed. His male colleagues in this space are Chagall, Calder, Picasso and Pablo Gargallo, of whom a surprising nude inspired by a young Pablo Picasso is shown.

Two historical firms, María Blanchard and Maruja Mallo, shine next to each other in a gallery specialized in classic names: Guillermo de Osma. Oil is sold from the first Woman with arms crossed (80,000 euros) and de la Mallo, a sketch for his painting Blonde woman (48.000).

Along the way, names like Elena Asins (Elvira González), Ángela de la Cruz (Helga de Alvear), Marina Abramović (Krinzinger), Julia Spínola (Heinrich Ehrhardt), Cristina de Middel and García Rodero (Juana de Aizpuru) and Graciela emerge Iturbide (Rafael Ortiz). But the star of the first day, surely one of the most photographed, was Mandy (2020), by the English Rebecca Ackroyd, in the booth of the Berlin gallery Peres Projects. A female figure sitting on the ground with blood gushing from her mouth, chest, and thighs. It immediately refers to sexist abuse. But his suffering has to do with the memory of having endured all childhood the work conversations of his parents, both surgeons in a London hospital.


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