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Art Barcelona is promoting an intense event that involves the entire city of Barcelona: the 6thedition of Barcelona Gallery Weekend. Directed by Susanna Corchia and open to contemporary and modern art galleries, the annual four-day appointment will feature 28 galleries and 60 artists, from September 17 to September 20. On Kooness, we asked to three gallery directors - Laura González Palacios from Chiquita Room Gallery, Miquel Angel Sanchéz from ADN Galería and Carlos Duran from Galería Senda - what is going on in the artworld today according their points of view. 

Related articles: Art in the time of corona - How will art fairs change after this pandemic? - A glance to the Art Fairs Future

 

3 QUESTIONS TO LAUREA GONZÁLEX PALACIOS, CHIQUITA ROOM

 

Barcelona Gallery Week end, Chiquita Room, corutesy QuimBosch.

 

Chiquita Room represents a young, fresh and experimental space. You started to develop exhibitions, residencies, editorials and events in 2019, by yet becoming a focal Project Space for Barcelona, is it right? 

Actually, Chiquita Room was preceded by the artist book publishing house, Chiquita Ediciones, that I founded in 2013 and through which I developed several multidisciplinary projects. All of them had in common a starting point, which was the paper publication format, and then they took very different forms, such as a collective show inside a gallery, a live concert with multiple bands and musicians on stage or a performance festival held in different venues. 

It was in 2018 that I conceived Chiquita Room when the opportunity to run a space arose. In fact, it was the space itself that gave me the ideas for different purposes: the gallery, the residence for artists, and above all, the place to keep on publishing, creating and sharing projects. I’m interested in artists and projects that reflect upon issues which are relevant to contemporary society, with a critical and innovative approach, while striving to explore the poetics of artistic expression through the interaction of art with other disciplines. 

In these two years, Chiquita Room has had a constant activity through several and varied exhibitions: we presented 50 artists in 8 different shows, two of which were big collective experiences. We also received three artists in residence, launched five publications and hosted other events such as poetry readings, concerts, debates or performances. 

Do you think that, especially during this hard period we are now living because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Barcelona Gallery Weekend will represent an important key moment for community cooperation and a tribute to art and creativity?

For us, it is the first time participating in Barcelona Gallery Weekend and, although we are aware that the circumstances require a more austere celebration and some restrictions, we are very excited about our participation among other artistic proposals and galleries of the city. In my opinion, it is a good moment to share different sensitivities and points of view about how the situation is really affecting the art professionals. Cooperation and exchange of opinions are two fundamental values ​​for Chiquita Room, in order to give space and time to different ways of understanding and looking at reality, considering art is essential to explain our world, to question basic assumptions and to help build critical thinking. I believe that it is our responsibility, and between artistic spaces and with the collaboration of institutions, we’re meant to face this situation in a creative way.

You are showing a Brazilian artist. Is this choice a gesture to show the importance of an International cultural dialogue in Spain? 

Pedro has been living and working in Barcelona since 2005. He spent some time in Berlin in between, but we could say he’s been trained within the local context, even though he wasn’t educated at the University of Barcelona. I met him while he was curating some photobook open sessions in 2014 and had a crush on his eye. Since then, we crossed our paths different times, mainly due to our common love for publications. In 2018, I invited him to be part of the collective show that Chiquita Room hosted, focused on the cartography of Barcelona. We’re both  foreigners (after all I’m originally from Bilbao) and our profiles are both hybrid (I previously studied journalism and worked mainly in communication and he also works as a curator) and these two aspects bring together different visions and ways of doing things, and they also reflect the eclectic dialogue we’re both interested in. 

 

3 QUESTIONS TO MIQUEL ANGEL SANCHÉZ, ADN GALERIA

Barcelona Gallery Weekend, María María Acha-Kutscher, Permission de Travestissement, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and ADN Galeria.

 

ADN Galería is a “hybrid platform between commercial mediation and cultural contribution”, as written in your gallery presentation. You represent, in fact, a vast and young group of artists that develops exhibitions and projects in Barcelona. Why did you decide to focus on contemporary art?

I got a bachelor´s degree in Art History and French Literature at Hunter College in New York back in 2001 and then I further specialized in museology and art theory, with two master´s degree here in Barcelona. Since I started my studies in New York I was intrigued by the social and political dynamics of our society, therefore it was natural to me to mingle art, society and politics into the program I´ve developed since 2003. Moreover, my background in business administration gave me the courage to launch the project without really knowing how hard it would have been to establish a solid platform for art. At that moment, the so-called political art was not really displayed in institutions, so I thought it was my responsibility to palliate such lack within my private gallery, characterized by a strong public ethos. It was hard during the first years, but, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to be honest and perseverant, no matter what you do. Even though we are still working on it, ADN is now a healthy project, despite the current volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous context. Most importantly, I modestly believe ADN is contributing to re-define what a private-funded commercial gallery can do in order to become a contemporary art center: besides the headquarters of the gallery in Barcelona, we have a non-profit space and a production center in Sant Cugat, fostering public program activities as well as an incipient collection.

Do you think that, especially during this hard period we are now living because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Barcelona Gallery Weekend will represent an important key moment for community cooperation and a tribute to art and creativity?

Uncertainty was mentioned above. It is really difficult to make a point here. On a symbolic level, I do believe it is very important for us, the art agents of the city, to get back into action and try to do our best for our city and our projects. Indeed, former editions were very significant in ADN´s biography so we are really looking forward to this year´s edition. This pandemic could be a barrier and might prevent some people from travelling here, however we will do our best to jump over the barrier and help art to move forward.  

For this September 2020 edition, you made a precise choice of showing a women group exhibition. Why did you specifically choose Barcelona Gallery weekend for this show?

Well, Barcelona Gallery Weekend is the perfect context to present the newcomers to the program. It is also quite motivating to the artists since its exposure is more international due to increasing number of visitors and art professionals that every year shows up. We decided it was the perfect moment to introduce Maria Maria Acha-Kustcher and to display her together with other two female artists having different origins, backgrounds and generations: Margaret Harrison and Núria Güell. All three are or have been involved in politics as activists. We also like to enrich our point of view, featuring informed voices: this is the reason why we proposed the curatorship to Alexandra Laudo, who is responsible for many successful curatorial programs within her platform “Heroínas de la Cultura.”

 

3 QUESTIONS TO CARLOS DURAN, GALERÍA SENDA

Barcelona Gallery Weekend, Galleria SENDA, Peter Halley installation view.

 

Galería Senda represents both classic and experimental realities. You started to develop exhibitions and projects in the 90s, and you are a focal gallery for Barcelona, is it right?  

Thank you for your observation. Yes, we do work with art and artists across genres, media generations and origins. I guess this is our distinctive character. We started, as you mentioned, in 1992 with a very international focus: artists like the German painter Karin Kneffel and Peter Halley from New York have been with us since the very beginning and it is an honor and a privilege to represent them still today, after almost 3 decades! Our international focus has then expanded toward Latin America as Glenda León, Adrián Balseca, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra and Túlio Pinto are amongst the artists of our stable. However, in the last ten-five years, we have gradually shifted toward a more local approach, hence betting on artist from the local art scene - especially from Barcelona. Yago Hortal and Jordi Bernadó are some of them, together with established names like Jaume Plensa, Miralda or Gino Rubert.  

Do you think that, especially during this hard period we are now living because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Barcelona Gallery Weekend will represent an important key moment for community cooperation and a tribute to art and creativity?

I personally think that the strength of this edition of Barcelona Gallery Weekend lays precisely in its local focus: as you say, it will represent a key moment for the local art community, as it comes after a though period, we all experienced in the past months. For the Barcelona Gallery Weekend, the focus on the local art market is a shift imposed by Covid19 and its impact on travelling. But I have to say that this has been a hot topic I have always discussed with the organizers of the event, and I have often shared my opinion that the primary goal of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend should be enhancing and developing the local art market. We live in one of the richest regions in Spain, and we all know that, until a few decades ago, the local community of art collectors used to be fundamental for the art ecosystem in Barcelona and Catalunya in general. For GaleríaSenda, the local art market has always been of vital importance and curating the relationship with local collectors is part of our mission and commitment toward the local art scene and the artists we work for. And yet, in the last years, this vision was mostly alien to the approach of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend, which has been more oriented on bringing international collectors to Barcelona. This is one the reasons why Galeria Senda hasn’t participated in the last few editions of the BGW. Finally, now we are again aligned on this vision, and I am looking forward to contributing for this shift to happen and be fruitful. 

You are showing an historical artist during the Barcelona Gallery Weekend, Peter Halley. Is this choice a gesture to show the importance of an International cultural dialogue in Spain? 

As I mentioned already, Peter Halley has been part of the GaleríaSenda family since 1992.  He is a person we hold in great esteem, as an artist and as an intellectual, and over the years our collaboration has become a beautiful friendship. In some ways Barcelona is a second home for Halley, and after many exhibitions held in the city, we consider him to be part of the local art scene and we trust our public will welcome him as family too. Moreover, we are thrilled to present Peter Halley’s latest creations to the audience of Barcelona: a series of big size new paintings in which we can appreciate an interesting formal turn. On the other hand, the exhibition of Peter Halley will be also the occasion for continuing important dialogues that link Barcelona to international art discourses. For instance, within the context of the exhibition, we will present the volume Peter Halley. Escritos sobre arte, the first Spanish translation of a collection of essays and other texts written by Halley between 1981 and 2001, with which he contributed to the reflection around Western art and culture in the postmodern era. 

 

Cover image: Barcelona Gallery Weekend, María María Acha-Kutscher, Permission de Travestissement, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and ADN Galeria.

Written by Rossella Farinotti

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

 

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