As I could not otherwise give the international situation, there were certain doubts about whether the coronavirus could affect the impending ARCO 2020 that will be held from February 26 to March 1 in Ifema (Madrid). Will there be restrictions to the fear it is causing? For now, the organizers of the international art fair Art Basel Hong Kong announced the cancellation of this year’s edition and the participants of the ARCO “Asian Maps” program, which includes curators and critics of China and Southeast Asia, have stated being “worried” at the alert for the outbreak of this virus originated in Wuhan, as stated by Menene Gras, director of Culture and Exhibitions of Casa Asia. However, yesterday at the presentation of ARCO, Maribel López, who debuts in the position as new director, has reassured on this issue «There are no Asian galleries, no group of Chinese guests at the Fair and it does not affect us at all, the ARCO context is very different from the Mobile World Congress ». In this regard, Eduardo López-Puertas, director of Ifema, said that “according to the Ministry of Health, they will follow the recommendations of WHO regarding hygiene and prevention, while creating an intervention protocol for if necessary, so they follow the normal rhythm ».
López-Puertas also meant the excellent level of galleries of this edition: «I can guarantee that the quality and sobriety of recent years is not at odds with innovation, which comes from the hand of first level galleries from all corners of the world”. And he also stressed “that one of the features for which the new direction has opted for this year is to give greater visibility and notoriety to the figure of the artist. In both the general program and the curators, there will be an important content starring works by a single artist or by the dialogue of two authors, which is one of the distinguishing features of ARCO Madrid with respect to other major international events.
Sobriety and innovation
On the other hand, López-Puertas said that “this year there will be no guest country and instead the Fair gives way to a thematic program, it is an original proposal that will revolve around the concept” It’s just a matter of time “( It’s just a matter of time), from which artistic practices will be observed from the work of Félix González-Torres. This section will be part of the curated programs together with the already traditional “Dialogues” and “Opening”, which are added to the central axis of the Fair in the general program, for which a total of the organizing committee has been selected from 209 galleries from 30 countries ». In addition, he continued, “the parallel program, which will host the main institutions and art halls of the city, will be an added attraction as well as the theoretical meetings that will take place within the framework of the Fair and that will bring together experts and relevant names of the contemporary scene. An offer that will place Madrid at the center of the international scene as one of the artistic focuses of the moment, ”he said.
The new director, Maribel López, analyzed some of the characteristics that define the Fair this year. «Of the 209 galleries, 67% are international and 33% national. There are important data that explain the good time it is going through, firstly it confirms the fidelity of many galleries (more than 90%), which means their confidence in the fair. To this we must also add the interest of new ones that had not participated or left and returned. This for me – he said – is a sign of good health and confidence in the project, since nobody participates in a fair if they are not convinced that it will be successful and that their artists will have good visibility. We have a way of working with the galleries very complicit and that is very important ». And he added that «having within the general program 40% of galleries that dedicate their stand to one or two artists, for us it is a possibility to work with them as close as possible to what they do in their galleries. That is very complicated at a fair, but it is a way to give them visibility. It is better for artists, for galleries and for visitors, because it improves the experience ».
In the “Dialogues” section, curated by Agustín Pérez-Rubio and Lucia Sanromán. Each gallery exposes the work of two artists, based on the idea of powers the dialogue between artists of different generations. 10 galleries from 9 countries participate. The “Opening” section, curated by Tiago de Abreu Pinto and Övül ö. Durmusoglu maintains its space dedicated to emerging projects and artists. It has 21 galleries from 14 countries, 36 artists that will present a vision of the younger contemporary scene. And “It’s just a matter of time” (It’s Just a Matter of Time) curated by Alejandro Cesarco, Mason Leaver-Yap, is the special proposal in this edition of ARCOmadrid. With Manuel Segade in the public program, it is made up of 16 artists from 13 galleries and traces the influence of Félix González-Torres on contemporary artistic experiences. A section that will observe certain practices from his work. Apart from these programs, the Fair has other types of activities and content such as “ArtsLibris”, International Artist and Edition Book Fair, which participates for the fifth consecutive year to disseminate the contemporary edition of artist books, the photobook and the desktop publishing, with more than 40 exhibitors and extensive cultural programming. Another very important aspect in ARCO is the Forums and Programs, with the purpose of giving voice to artists and all contemporary art professionals, facilitating a meeting point for knowledge sharing, a platform for debate and reflection among artists, critics , curators, directors of institutions and collectors.