What’s our minds? And what’s taking shape?ARCO, Urvanity, Art Madrid, Hybrid, Drawing Room, JustMad, Flecha, SAM…

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Entrails of ancient plastic waste, the Amazon to take home, robots that tell the future, sculptures by 3D printers, Homo sapiens and the weight or lightness of existence in anguished solitude…

As long as I can remember, I’ve visited ARCO every year. After each edition, I recall bringing home with me the impression that to be an artist, you have to be audacious. To take a personal, non-transferable decision to reveal yourself and your vision of the world through your own, unique language. To develop that language and identify with it as it grows and becomes more refined. And once you’ve found it, develop a way for that intimate voice to be heard and enter into conversation with others.

The art fairs open in Madrid from 26 February give us an opportunity to discover what’s at the forefront of our minds as a society and what’s bubbling away below the surface? 

Where are we? And where are we headed?

Art gives us clues about where we are as human beings in the present, our relationship with the environment, our characters or the roles we play, how we relate to a competitive society riddled with inequality, loneliness, or how we approach artificial intelligence…

Our society’s present-day concerns are the seeds from which current artistic languages develop; they speak of our needs, they strip reality bare. That’s why art can be provocative: it catches you off guard, drags you out of your comfort zone, forces you to face up. For me, taking a look around the art fairs is a way to check the pulse of what’s going on. To search out clues of where we are and where we’re headed.

Seeds of ideas

ARCO, Urvanity, ArtMadrid, Hybrid Drawing Room, JustMad, Flecha, SAM… Among others, these are the invitations to discover more contemporary art, open to us in Madrid during the month of February. And I’ll certainly try not to miss out. Thinking over what I saw last year, I’m keen to find more photography, more installations, more sound art, more audiovisual works.

For my part, I invited my friend, the artist César Calafate to help me express and share in images my notion of the idea-seed: that germ of any idea and the starting point for the artist’s visual language. It’s the beginning, the place from which the artist sees the world and sets out to share that perspective; the ingredient of genuine and powerful expressive force which hits us in the stomach. “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible,” said Paul Klee. Artworks present their creator’s interests and concerns with a direct kind of vocabulary, more forceful when unequivocal, yet the spectator plays an essential part in the creative process, as Duchamp underlined. Through our interpretation of what we see in an artwork, the “chosen” personality which Jung speaks of is revealed and explored as we engage with the interests or concerns in our own minds.   

Photography: Oscar Rivilla

Translation: Rebekah Jane Rhodes

Music: Dr Symptosizer

Art direction: Oscar Rivilla&Carolina Verd

Special collaboration: the Artist Cesar Calafate from Labbrut


Main picture: dress by Ernesto Naranjo

Picture 2: jacket from It Spain

Picture 3: vintage white shirt