To mark the opening of ARCOmadrid from the 22-26th February 2017, we speak with fair director Carlos Urroz about the fair’s guest country Argentina, why the decision was made to downsize and why Urroz believes ARCOmadrid is a unique art fair.
How does the European contemporary art market differ from the Latin American market?CARLOS URROZ
European museums are key in the career of international artists. Institutions like Reina Sofia, Tae or Pompidou are an important step in an artist career, but also smaller institutions like MACBA or the different FRAC’s and Kunsthalle’s all around Europe. For Latin American artists that might have an important market in their own countries it is important to be legitimized by European institutions.
The 36th edition of the fair has been downsized compared to previous years – why was the decision made to include fewer sections? How do you think it will impact the scale and impact of the fair? This year, one third of the Fair will be focusing on the presentation of just one or two artists – what do you hope to gain from this decision? How did you select the artists that will be in the spotlight?CARLOS URROZ
ARCOmadrid 2017 will have as its main focus quality and its consolidation as platform for professionals and collectors to discover new talents and content. A downsized fair allows artists to be shown in more depth and that is the impact we hope to have this year. For example, almost a third if the fair presents only one or two artists. The “Solo/Duo” presentation of artists at ARCOmadrid will offer the audience the opportunity of getting to know the selected artists from different generations better. These artists are selected by the participating galleries, which are chosen by an international Organising Committee composed by Josep Aloy, Polígrafa, Barcelona; Mira Bernabeu, espaivisor gallery, Valencia; Eduardo Brandão, Vermelho, São Paulo; Vera Cortés, Vera Cortés Art Agency, Lisbon; Christopher Grimes, Santa Monica; Alex Mor, Mor.Charpentier, Paris; Iñigo Navarro, Leandro Navarro, Madrid; Silvia Ortiz, Travesía Cuatro, Madrid; Guilhermo Romero, Parra & Romero, Madrid; Thomas Shulte, Berlin.
It is worth mentioning that the new programme “Dialogues”, with thirteen galleries selected by Maria de Corral, Lorena Martínez de Corral and Catalina Lozano, will generate new content and will present artists including Diango Hernández and Roman Ondak in addition to the ones who are part of the Argentinian artists selected with the collaboration of Inés Katzenstein, such as Eduardo Navarro; Irene Kopelman and Tomás Saraceno.
With more and more fairs popping up every year, how do you ensure to keep the interest of collectors that attend ARCOmadrid?CARLOS URROZ
ARCOmadrid is a unique art fair, not only for its high quality and for offering an essential platform to the international art market but also for consolidating as the main bridge between the European and the Latin American art markets. ARCOmadrid became both a crucial meeting point for art professionals eager to discover and explore Spain’s rich cultural offerings and the place in Europe to discover Latin America.
This year, ARCOmadrid has invited Argentina to be its guest country – Why did you specifically choose Argentina this year?CARLOS URROZ
The presence of Latin America has been a highlight of ARCOmadrid for a long time, since the Spanish capital represents the most important bridge for dialogue of the artistic practice between Ibero-America and Europe. In 1997 ARCOmadrid already consolidated itself as the main commercial platform for the projection of Latin American Art in the European market in its programme dedicated to Latin America with the participation of 14 Ibero-American countries. In 2005 Mexico was the guest country of the 24th edition and ARCOmadrid 2008 presented Brazil as its guest and in 2015 Colombia was highlighted in the 34th edition of the fair.
As for the invitation of Argentina as the ARCOmadrid 2017 guest country the quality of the Argentinian artists that have been taking part in ARCOmadrid is also a very compelling reason: Alberto Greco, Guillermo Kuitca, Leandro Erlich, Jorge Macchi, Graciela Sacco, Tomás Sareceno are some of the names that have been presented at ARCOmadrid before. Moreover, the Argentinian galleries have been supporting and taking part in ARCOmadrid for many years, creating a strong bond between Argentina and the fair. ARCOmadrid also has important institutional support from arteBA, whose partnership has been crucial for the Argentinian focus of this-year’s edition. Finally, the bond between ARCOmadrid and the Argentinian collectors is also very strong, many of them collaborate with the fair, such as Eduardo Costantini, who presented the construction of his collection and the MALBA museum on last edition, or Amalia de Fortabat, Juan and Patricia Vergez and Anibal Jozami, who took part in previous editions or Ximena Caminos, who will take part this year. After the Organising Committee of the fair and the directorship of IFEMA analyzed the different international art scenes, Argentina was selected as the guest country for 2017.
Will there also be a focus on inviting Latin American collectors to the 2017 edition of ARCOmadrid?CARLOS URROZ
Latin American collecting will be present in Madrid as three top Latin American collections will be displayed in town during ARCOmadrid: Isabel and Augisín Coppel at the Fundación Banco Santander, the Hochschild collection at Sala Acalá 31 and the Constantini collection at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
What has been your greatest achievement at ARCOmadrid since taking your position as Fair Director?CARLOS URROZ
To create a new format of fair that is more oriented towards the discovery, with time to talk with curators and collectors and exchange ideas. Also contributing to the European and Latin American markets and also expanding ARCOmadrid to Lisbon with ARCOLisboa. Both fairs offer essential platforms for the international art market, as well as crucial meeting points for arts professionals that are eager to discover and explore Spain’s and Portugal’s rich cultural offerings. Furthermore, getting ARCOmadrid to collaborate with museums, galleries and institutions in the city to strengthen Madrid as a cultural destination.