Artesantander is a Contemporary Art Fair taking place in Santander, Spain, every summer, since 1991. This year, the fair will be held from July 14th to July 18th. The entrance to the fair is free and will take place in the suggestive spaces offered by the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos.
The Cantabrian Capital’s fair will present this year some novelties: the expansion of the Selection Committee with two new members, Susana Blas Brunel and Bea Espejo, who join the team formed by José Manuel Navacerrada, Emilio Navarro and Moisés Pérez de Albéniz, and the renewal of the image of the fair, created by the designer María José Arce. As in previous occasions, the fair extends throughout the city and expands its "Visiones Urbanas" program with a new location in the parking lot of Plaza de Numancia, keeping the usual sites of Machichaco Square, Castelar Street, Plaza de La Esperanza and the Plaza de Pombo.
Among the 90 galleries that have requested to participate in Artesantander, the committee has selected 42 galleries, mostly national, but there are also arrivals from Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Cuba, Italy and Portugal.
Probably the most important feature of Artesantander is the commitment to the “Solo Projects”, that the fair has decided to maintain also for its 27th edition. The 42 contemporary art galleries show works pertaining to different genres: painting, sculpture, installation art, photography, new technology mediums, graphic artwork, drawings and miscellaneous. The program proposed by the fair is as usual very well suited to serious and rigorous art, to the real gallerists, to the committed artists and, of course, to the city. The director, Juan González de Riancho Bezanilla, changed the philosophy of the fair a few years ago, leaving aside what was customary in this type of event and opting for a model in which the gallerists present the project of an artist who has been previously valued and selected by a committee of experts. It is a system that almost everyone likes and that gives Santander Art Fair an added attraction. It leaves aside the irrational extravagances that some galleries present in the midst of their proposals.
This idea of art is mainly reflected in the “Solo Projects”, which is a format adapted to a need of the art market. The "Solo Projects" fair concept aims, on the one hand, to contribute to the value of Contemporary Art and on the other to take advantage of the inertia that will be generated once again by the course organized by the Association of Collectors 9915, and the Contemporary Art Institut, included in the 2018 Program of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), on Contemporary Art and patronage collecting, which will take place in Santander, in the month of July at the Palacio de la Magdalena, headquarters of the International University. Already in past editions, the dates were modified, to coincide with this course. Two data that speak for themselves of the established relationship and the synergies generated between these two activities, which this summer will be reinforced to the maximum, to make Santander the reference in the art sector for a few days.
Those responsible for the fair trust that the deepening of these relationships and collaborations, which undoubtedly reinforce the project, will serve to boost participation and further internationalize the event. Another project initiated by the fair in previous years is the “Collectors Program”, which is designed to attract museum managers, art centres and collectors. In this way, the appointment consolidates itself as an observatory of proposals, a panorama of artists accessible to the top managers of contemporary art, inside and outside of Spain.
“Curator's Talk” is another project that is very significant in order to understand the artistic direction of Santander’s fair. It is based on the idea of stimulating critical discourse to enhance relations between curators, gallery owners, collectors, artists and other agents in the field of contemporary art and contribute to the analysis of current artistic processes with the purpose of offering clarifications in this regard, emphasizing the strategies of diffusion of exhibition projects (press, web resources, social networks and other media).
The project started in 2015 and was held for the second time in 2017, thanks to the presence of prominent professionals from the art world. The second edition of “Curator's Talk” brought together two curators, Adonay Bermúdez and Mónica Álvarez Careaga, nationally and internationally renown, who participated to the fair with different curatorial projects.
ArteSantander focuses also on technology and new mass media: it echoes the importance of social networks and blogs in the promulgation of culture, including in its program the “Conversation of Bloggers of Art” #blogsxarte: a digital agora for specialists in the art world. Santander puts the visitors in tune with the best of contemporary art. It does it with clarity, good sense and truth.
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