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September has become the month when most of the Madrid galleries and leading art centres start the post-summer season with new exhibitions, performances, talks, artist visits and workshops for children and adults. First started ten years ago, Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend (this year from 13 to 15 September) celebrates the simultaneous autumn openings at the 49 galleries which make up the Arte Madrid association. This year they’re presenting work by over 70 artists, both Spanish and international, established names and newcomers.
It’s the perfect opportunity to check out what’s going on in the art world.
Galería Cayón: An Invasion of Colour
One of the gallery’s exhibition spaces houses an installation by the experimental artist and colour explorer extraordinaire, Yves Klein (Nice, 1928 – Paris, 1962). The floor piece, Pure Pigment, fills the room with the chromatic energy of Klein blue. The same area also features a painting by Stanley Whitney (Philadelphia, 1946), an artist who expresses his vision of the world and its states through a visual language rich in rhythm, harmony and colour play. The dialogue between these two works transforms the space, creating a new vision through colour.
In the adjoining hall, Cayón are showing work by Marco Maggi (Uruguay, 1957) with his exhibition, In Defence of Vowels. The artist creates a landscape on the floor and walls of the gallery using sheets of paper arranged in piles or cut to form small-scale universes. In this way, he invites us to stop and develop our ability to take note and observe with care; his work calls out the hastiness of present-day communication. Marco Maggi presents us an intimate language of undefined structures, networks of codes waiting to be deciphered.
Galería Max Estrella: Proyecto Link
The photographer Aitor Ortiz (Bilbao, 1971) reminds us that photography is an art form which transcends mere representation. Proyecto Link is made up of original steel floor plates from the Vicinay factory, manufacturer of chains for ships, which closed in Bilbao after 60 years in operation. Marks and ridges bear testament to the thousands of tonnes of chain dragged across these floor plates over the years, six decades of chain making moulded into steel surfaces. The factory’s memory is contained within these plates as if they were textured, three-dimensional photographs.
Galería Lucía Medoza: time and its expansion in space
The exhibition Inhabiting the Process by Mercedes Lara (Ciudad Real, 1967) explores space and time with a subtle, crafted, introspective language. Ceramics, thread and metal are the ingredients chosen by this artist for immersive creations which submerge the visitor in rhythmic reflections on how we occupy space.
Many other galleries and museums have new exhibitions on show: September is a month of openings. Madrid is alive, so let’s get out there and visit the exhibitions of artists we already know or have yet to discover, artists who are generous enough to invite us to share in their journey. Let’s learn to appreciate that contemporary art is, at a frenetic time in history, overwhelmingly experimental and speculative rather than conformist.
And let’s bear in mind Duchamp’s idea that the creative act “is not performed by the artist alone” but is completed by the spectator who, “by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualification adds his contribution.”
Photography: Oscar Rivilla
Translation: Rebekah Jane Rhodes
Music: Dr Symptosizer
Art direction: Oscar Rivilla y Carolina Verd.
Main picture y Picture 2: dress by Forte Forte; ankle boots by Officine Creative courtesy from Pez. Earring by Catalina D’Anglade
Picture 3: jumper by Roberto Collina; troursers by Forte Forte; sneakers by Golden Goose; earrings by Jorge Morales courtesy from Pez.
Foto 4: jumper by Roberto Collina; trourser by Forte Forte ; sneakers by Golden Goose courtesy from Pez.