Spain’s contemporary artists to watch (part 1) - by Charlotte Lydia Stace
During these difficult days of lockdown, with shops, cafes and galleries closed, boredom and loneliness linger, and lack of inspiration sets in. How will we entertain ourselves? What is there to do? We start to go stir crazy, our minds become lethargic and the memory of life before the coronavirus, with its trips to local art galleries, aimless strolls through the city’s streets, stop offs at our favourite coffee shops, seems but a distant memory.
Well, thanks to the internet, we don’t always have to leave the house to still get our fill of art. Art can add a drop of colour to an otherwise dull existence during lockdown. It can help calm our nerves and aid our mental health. So, why not fight the quarantine blues by familiarising yourself with the work of some of Spain’s contemporary artists?
These artists offer something unique from every corner of Spain. Although trained in different mediums, be it sculpture, painting or installations, they all urge us to think critically about contemporary culture and the world we live in. Some have a political agenda, some draw attention to climate change, and others rebuke the advertising world. Read on to find out more about Spain’s contemporary artists to watch out for.
Famous for his cement sculptures, Cordal uses his artwork to reflect themes of politics, bureaucracy, human misery, climate change, and power. Hailing from Galicia, the multi-faceted artist’s work involves sculpture and photography in the urban environment. His little sculptures can be found in drain pipes, cracks in walls and other unusual public places. The aim of this is to spark the imagination of the passer-by and make them question their connection to nature, as well as their social behaviour and place within society.
Born in Vigo, Galicia, Pérez combines his artistic career with his primary job as a carpenter. Working in both the mediums of painting and sculpture, he gives special attention to the notion of objects, which form the basis of the majority of his pieces. He uses a variety of different shapes and formats in his artwork which can be found in mural paintings, works on paper and wood sculptures. Offering an uninhibited view of techniques and forms, Pérez plays with conventional uses of materials and their supposed rules to produce truly unique pieces.
Born in Madrid, Alonso graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the University of Madrid in 2006, before going on to study a postgraduate degree in art in Helsinki. Since then her primary focus on art has been drawing, which she relates to other disciplines such as architecture, crafts, and design. Although confronting many issues in her work, she pays particular attention to the environment and the way in which we interact with it.
Señor X, aka Sr. X, is a muralist from the small Spanish town of Gijon. Known for his 1950s vintage-style stencils which look like old advertisement posters, his work is both entertaining and at times provocative. His murals often contain political messages and ironic comments about society today. Choosing the streets as his canvas, his artwork is greatly influenced by pop culture and the messages he presents are thought-provoking and timeless.
Waelder, the American-Spanish artist born in Madrid in 1993, is a contemporary artist with a bright future ahead. Now living and working in Frankfurt, Germany he is currently part of the Haegue Yang class at the Städelschule. His artwork is primarily done through the mediums of photography, painting and sculpture and focuses on the passage of time. His pieces represent small objects found in daily life, such as wooden boards with footprints still on them or pieces of linen with small stains, to represent how we all leave something behind us.
Born in Barcelona in 1977, Andrea Michaelsson, aka Btoy, studied law for four years before realizing she desired a life of art. She began her artistic journey by studying photography for three years in Barcelona. Following this, she focused mainly on photography and street art and has enjoyed improvising with a variety of art mediums including stencils, acrylics and spray paint. These experiments led her to create stencil artworks which portray female icons and can be seen on streets around the world, from Barcelona to New York, Mexico to Brussels.