Celia Sierra |
Madrid (EFE).- Many people and very good feelings from the gallery owners mark the beginning of ARCO, the International Contemporary Art Fair that opens the doors of its 42nd edition this Wednesday surrounded by expectation and with an offer that tries to capture the eye of the international collector to the detriment of the controversial pieces.
This year, the enthusiasm and optimism of the galleries -211, twenty more than in 2022- is remarkable. Everything indicates that it will be the recovery edition, after several marked by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“The Spanish market is a bit out of place, but Latin American collectors have bought houses worth several million in Spain, which they decorate at full throttle,” says Juana de Aizpuru, founder of the fair.
The veteran gallery owner brings an offer marked by color and large dimensions, with an eye on Latin American collectors and Madrid as the new European Miami.
His largest piece is a canvas by the Spanish Federico Guzmán, almost 3.5 meters long by 2 meters high and with bright colors.
On the hunt for the international collector
The foreign collector, especially the Latin American, does not seem to have been affected by the war, inflation or the last throes of the pandemic.
They are the ones who can afford to buy some of the most expensive works, such as what turned out to be a sculpture by the Spanish Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), costing 3.7 million euros, weighing 1,500 kilos.
Another of his, smaller, entitled “Puerta de Libertad I”, costs 2.4 million euros.
The Spanish sculptor and painter Joan Miró Miró (1893-1983) took the top spot for the highest prices this year.
“La femme et l’oiseau”, by Miró, has a price of 2 million euros and another oil painting of similar dimensions, 1.6 million.
The scarcity of Chillida’s works on the market and the acceptance of Miró by collectors all over the world have skyrocketed their prices, according to gallery owners.
What there is not a trace of the Spanish Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) at the fair, due to the number of exhibitions organized on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death.
Spain, where he was born, and France, where he died, have a series of activities scheduled for that anniversary in 2023.
All gallery owners consulted are enthusiastic about the level of those gathered: the fair has invited nearly 400 international collectors and 200 professionals, a record.
Neither controversy nor political art
The controversy has disappeared from ARCO. A shrouded Picasso monopolizes media attention, more for grace than for the controversy itself.
Special mention should be made of the presence of the Ukrainian gallery Voloshyn, the first in the country to visit ARCO, which presents two artists, Nikita Kadan and Mykola Ridniyi.
During the first weeks of the Russian invasion, the gallery, located in a basement, became a refuge for artists and the families of their workers.
Kadan used those days to angrily and haphazardly paint a series of black wax paintings reading “Stop buying gas from fascists”, “Decolonize Russia” and “Gas embargo on Russia”.
José de la Mano, gallery owner, is optimistic about the number of people interested in coming this year. By now other years he still had invitations left, but, on the first day of the fair, he doesn’t have one.
“There is a very good level; You can tell that the gallery owners have put all the meat on the grill, ”she says.