Top five exhibitions to see in Madrid during ARCO
With an impressive list of 164 international exhibitors — including some of our favorites: Galerie Jérôme Poggi, gb Agency (Paris), Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam), KOW, (Berlin) and more — ARCO Madrid will be in full swing from Wednesday evening. Should you be hit by fair fatigue, however, we have listed five of the most exciting exhibitions to catch in Madrid, running parallel to ARCO. From the opulent video artworks of Julian Rosefeldt to the more conceptual mute videos at Nogueras Blanchard, the city’s artistic scene has still a lot to offer beyond the halls 7 and 9 of the Feria de Madrid.
“Here we stand (Health and Freedom)” at Centro Centro, through April 9
Bringing together twenty contemporary artists, Centro Centro’s new show explores the cultural imprint of the Roma gypsy people - the largest minority population in Europe. Much of the work on display attempts to unpack stereotypes pertaining to the gypsy diaspora. The exhibition takes its title from the gypsy greeting Sastipen Thaj Mestepen, which translates as “Health and Freedom.” The artists featured include Daniel Baker, Lita Cabellut, Gérard Gartner, and Lola Ferreruela.
Damien Le Bas, part of the series Safe European Home? (2013). Courtesy Centro Centro
Manal Al Dowayan, “And I, will I forget?” at Sabrina Amrani, through February 26
“And I, will I forget” is Manal Al Dowayan’s first solo show in Spain. The prints on display reappropriate a collection of chrome slides given to the artist by her father, which document the journey he made from his native Saudi Arabia to the US in 1962. By reconfiguring these images to generate a new narrative, Al Dowayan tells her own personal story through the images of someone else. On the threshold of fact and fiction, this body of work examines how cultural memory and ethnic identity interact across different generations.
Manal Al Dowayan, The Boys, 2015, paint and silkscreen ink on canvas and copper. Courtesy Sabrina Amrani
Julian Rosefeldt, “Deep Gold” at Helga de Alvear, through April 29
Rosefeldt is known for his visually sumptuous, elaborately detailed moving image artworks, and in that respect Helga de Alvear’s exhibition does not disappoint. Deep Gold is part of the anthology film The Scorpion’s Sting (2013-14), an homage to Luis Buñuel’s infamous 1930 masterpiece L’Âge d'Or. Rosefeldt’s segment acts as a fictional insert into Buñuel’s original film. He reinterprets the final scene before the epilogue as a proto-feminist manifesto, offering up a world of lust and desire in which a weak male protagonist becomes overwhelmed by female sexuality.
Julian Rosefeldt, still from the video Deep Gold, 2013/14. Courtesy Helga de Alvear
Pere Llobera, “Seasonal,” at Galeria F2, through March 18
Though the title of this exhibition of painting and installation by Pere Llobera could imply a moment of change or a tipping point, it in fact reveals a transformation that has already happened. The artist compares the exhibition to the Beatles’ 1968 White Album, which he describes as a “pre-divorce album” which bid farewell to the band’s past work. In similar fashion, the artist parts cathartically with his artistic past, perhaps best emblematized by the stack of past works installed on the floor that cuts through the gallery space.
Pere Llobera, Podium, 1979-2016, installation of 344 canvases by the artist. Courtesy Galerie F2
“On Affection” at Nogueras Blanchard
This ongoing group show emphasizes the experience of the body in performance practices, and its ability to affect and be affected. For the second iteration of “On Affection,” works by two artists are paired together. Cally Spooner’s 2016 work DRAG DRAG SOLO, a mute single channel film, is displayed alongside Bruce Nauman’s 1986 work Violent Incident, in which two actors fight at the dinner table in a cycle of slapstick aggression. DRAG DRAG SOLO, which has no sound of its own, absorbs and is affected by the sounds of the sound of Nauman’s hysterical video.
Cally Spooner, DRAG DRAG SOLO, 2016, single channel projection without sound, double-sided room-dividing screen. Courtesy Nogueras Blanchard