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ARCOmadrid 2017 - A Very Short Review

February 28, 2017

I have a philosophy in life of jumping in at the deep end  and I've attempted an art blogging equivalent of this over the past weekend. Don't try to do all of Arco in one day while trying to write about it. Especially not after two hours sleep after a last minute decision to go and a flight at 7am. What's worse is I've been to ARCO before so it's a bit of a case of fool me twice. But as I said, having a philosophy of going straight to the deep end you kind of have to swim and fueled by a stomach full of coffee I dove into a packed Saturday at ARCOmadrid 2017.

 

This year's edition was ARCO's 35 anniversary and was another feast for the senses featuring 164 galleries, including the Argentina Plataforma curated by Inés Katzenstein, which has rightly received excellent reviews, as well as a number of new galleries and a diagloues section (also curated by Inés Katzenstein). I am not going to pay much attention to these areas as as I simply didn’t get enough time to get fully immersed and there is plenty to read about it elsewhere.

 

A strong contingency of galleries from South America was present and Galeria Isabel Aninat really stood out with a selection of vibrant artists.

 

 

Catalina Swinburn is a Chilean artist whose works explores the experiences of space, particularly female experience, and the formation of identity and cultural meaning. La Frontera Perfecta poignantly addresses the fragility of borders as a social and political construction. The instability of the border as something which is learned and unlearned, produced and reproduced culturally are communicated through the juxtaposition of counter narratives that make up the work spilling out across the floor.

 

The gallery also featured work by Chilean artist Ivan Contreras Brunet whose work really needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate. This was my first time seeing his work in person and it is a beauty to watch as the air passes through each piece causing them to shimmer and transform.

 

 

My pick for the entire show however was the clever installation of the works of The Old Boys' Club in Galerie Anita Beckers' booth. The installation was attention grabbing and playful, making incredible use of the space, leaving discoveries in every corner.

 

 

In a similar way to Catalina Swinburn the Old Boys' Club also deals with themes of post-colonialism. Aside from vibrant gouache pieces on wood arranged around the booth the artists had had installed a number of site specific installations decorating and animating the space.

 

 

There were a number of other highlights that I couldn't get good photos of or that I discovered after my batter died. A particular booth that must be mentioned was that of Barro Galeria from Buenos Aires and the incredible installation and performance by Mondongo. I will leave you with Angebot-und-Nachfriage from Kati Heck from the Tim Van Galerie, a sculpture by Pablo 'Pau' Gargallo, and a selection of Carlos Cruz-Diez pieces because I always love seeing so many of them in one place.

 

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