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Whitewall spoke with ARCOmadrid’s director, Carlos Urroz, about a focus on the future and emerging collectors.
WHITEWALL: For the 37th edition, are you seeing a rise of representation from a certain region?
CARLOS URROZ: Latin America will be one of the main international presences, representing one third of the galleries’ presence outside the Spanish area. By presenting artists and gallerists from this region, ARCOmadrid continues to reflect its unique position as a Latin American benchmark in Europe. With the participation of 10 countries from Latin America, Brazil shows a strong collaboration and brings 15 galleries to the fair.
WW: Who are some of the fair-first timers we should keep an eye out for?
CU: There are new exhibitors, such as Guido W. Baudach; König Galerie; Monitor and Van Doren Waxter to the General Program of ARCO 2018. Guido W.Baudach brings artists Tamina Amaydar and Philip Modersohn, while Van Doren Waxter will show works by Caetano de Almeida and Jeronimo Elespe.
WW: There is a focus on The Future this year at the fair. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect from “The future is not what’s going to happen, but what we’re going to do” curated by Chus Martínez, Rosa Lleó, and Elise Lammer?
CU: Led by curator Chus Martinez, alongside Rosa Lleó and Elise Lammer, the concept of “The Future” will be explored through a unique program that encompasses the visions of 20 different galleries and artists’ perspectives across all ages and generations. The section not only focuses on thinking about the future, but our ability to intervene in it.
The Future section will offer visitors a personal perspective of the future with artists who have addressed the theme in the past, including Salvador Dalí and Július Koller, dystopian visions from Lili Reynaud Dewar, Maryam Jafri, and Eduardo Navarro and those who cover the art of the future with creators such as Teresa Solar Abboud or Eva Fábregas.
Another interesting aspect will be its design, developed by architect Andrés Jaque. Rather than divided in individual booths, the space will have a more fluid design, maybe envisioning the art fairs of the future.
WW: Do you find that a theme like that will spill over to influencing what gallerists choose to bring?
CU: In a sense, the curators bring with them a strong international presence and commentary on the zeitgeist, which also may indeed simultaneously influence what gallerists choose to exhibit at this year’s fair—art with a wider commentary on society, community and culture.
The Opening section this year, curated by Stefanie Hessler and Ilaria Gianni, focuses on processes, performance and transformation, including many works that look at the sensorial experience, and digital desires and how they relate to corporeal dimensions.
Galleries such as Alexander and Bonin, Thaddaeus Ropac, Hauser & Wirth, and Michel Rein plus many more, will continue to bring their forward thinking into the General Section.
WW: ARCOmadrid focuses heavy on promoting collecting. Can you tell us about a couple new initiatives this year, #mecomprounaobra and the International Council?
CU: Created by Fundación ARCO for new collectors, #mecomprounaobra (I buy an artwork for myself) is a new and important initiative to encourage young people to acquire art works and introduce themselves into the world of collecting. The first action of the initiative took place last December when a number of influencers from outside the contemporary art scene selected artworks with prices below 2,018 Euros in the ARCO galleries in Madrid.
In ARCO, every participating gallery will be able to label the artworks in their booths with prices under 5,000 Euros with a distinctive #mecomprounaobra tag, so that visitors are encouraged to look closely and understand that you don’t need incredibly large amounts of money to become a collector.
The new International Council, now intrinsically part of Fundación ARCO, will focus on representing international collectors that visit the fair, as well as acknowledging the work of private patrons in the creation, diffusion and preservation of the art of our times.
WW: Outside of the fair, what are you looking forward to seeing in Madrid the week of the fair?
CU: This year, the city will also host initiatives, events and activities revolving around “The Future,” including several that will spotlight Latin American artists and major contemporary art collections such as CentroCentro, CA2M, Museo Thyssen, and MNCARS, among others.
Highlights for me will include seeing works by Doris Salcedo, William Kentridge, and John Akomfrah as well as exhibitions dedicated to the collections of Luis Paulo Montenegro, the Colombian Bank of the Republic, Thibault Poutrel, and Helga de Alvear.
WW: After fair hours, what are some of your favorite spots for dinner or drinks?
CU: Arzabal, Sushita, and Luzi Bombón are among my favorite spots to relax and enjoy the company of the incredible number of talented people that meet up in Madrid during ARCO.