My Highlights from ARCOmadrid 2015

Artsy Editorial
Feb 25, 2015 12:00AM

My Selection:

Carlos Garaicoa, En Construcción / Under Construction (V), 2012, at Barbara Gross

The photographs by this Cuban artist are extremely interesting. I have selected this work for the originality of its language and the artist’s ability to express the differences between the developed world and the developing world, between marginality and modernity, between decadence and evolution. With a great deal of subtlety, his work introduces us to a sense of institutional criticism, which is incorporated into all of his works. In his works the realities of life in many countries can be seen—with a beam of light shining onto what they may become in future—from the houses in Havana to the abandoned markets of Caracas.

Heimo Zobernig, Untitled (HZ 2011-001), 2011, at Galería Juana de Aizpuru

Whenever I speak with collectors about Heimo Zobernig I tend to describe him as the complete artist, due to his total domination—from a critical point of view—of painting, sculpture, installation, performance, video, and even the architectural world. This work is a clear expression of the minimalist, abstract, and post-modernist sense that permeates all of his work through a subliminal message bathed in a deep shade of blue—a clear reference to the monochromatic concept of Yves Klein’s famous International Klein Blue.

Philippe Parreno, Flickering Light, 2013, at Esther Schipper

I can still recall the sense of incredulity I felt at the Philippe Parreno exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo: pianos that played themselves without a pianist, lights that switched themselves on and off, screens that followed Zinedine Zidane around my dream team’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium, and the background music of Stravinsky’s Petrushka—it was the exhibition of the year! Therefore, my selection of works could not be complete without the 56 lights that were part of the exhibition and which, flickering in the rhythm of dancers, recalled the Paris debut of Petrushka by the Ballets Russes in 1911. The lamps make use of a DMX controller to flicker on and off at a certain rate, based on a sequencing programme.

Idris Khan, Contrary Motion, 2011, at Galerie Thomas Schulte

Based on a musical work by Philip Glass entitled Music in Contrary Motion, this incredible piece by Idris Khan was exhibited for the first time at Sweden’s Göteborgs Konsthall in 2011 and is the second in a series of six. Idris demonstrates complete technical mastery, both in overlapping photographs as well as with a scanner, through which a symbiosis between history, literature, music, religion, and art is generated. The result is a minimalist language bound up in enigmas, which leads the viewer to inquire about the artist’s intentions. In spite of his youth, his work can be found in the world’s greatest international collections.

Jorge Méndez Blake, Complete Sonnets (William Shakespeare), 2014, at Travesia Cuatro

This is one of my favorite artists in Mexico, who is highly recommended for collectors of conceptual art. The work I have chosen provides an insight into the artist’s overall practice, which often fuses literature and poetry with art. In this instance, he uses the Complete Sonnets of William Shakespeare and applies his own system of using the same area of ink used by the writer and dramatist in his sonnets.

Mark Hagen, To Be Titled (Additive Painting #45), 2011, at Travesia Cuatro

The works of American artist Mark Hagen have been one of my principal recommendations for collectors since the very first time I saw his work, in an outdoor exhibition in Collins Park from Miami’s Bass Museum of Art, in 2012. I still follow him as he continues to grow, with his incredible exhibition at Almine Rech Gallery during the last edition of Frieze London, in which he presented new works, gray canvases mounted in titanium frames coated in Diet Coke. I have chosen this Travesia Cuatro work for its coupling of simplicity and complexity, as tends to be the case with this artist’s concepts; all of the shades can truly be seen when you are five centimeters from the piece, a moment when it can be verified that the panel that you see is not wooden and that the white setting has thousands of strokes—like sand when it runs through your fingers at the beach. Make a note of this artist!


Adam Pendleton, Untitled, 2014, at Pedro Cera

I have selected the work of another artist who, on an international level, is at a highly interesting point in his career. I’m drawn to the deftness of this young artist in synthesising disciplines and materials using the social and political research laboratory into which he converts every one of his works. His works appear to be public advertisements for the ideas he seeks to transmit to the spectator, which are incorporated into the work I have selected. I have chosen this work as a publicity performance in which everyone can become a part from where the concept of immediacy arises—the work appears as if it has only just been completed—and as representative of transformative, non-conformist artists who launch the concepts for changing aspects of the world in which we live. Don’t get carried away by the results of the auctions! And discover the depths of an artist with a long way to go.

Carlos Bunga, Nicho #4, 2014, at Galería Elba Benítez

The work of Carlos Bunga is aimed at a small part of the world of contemporary art collectors. The work that I have selected, in a small-scale format, is a study of process and simplicity of materials—such as the painting, the cardboard, and the adhesive. With an elegance that borders on the sublime, we are aided in seeing the intense investigation undertaken by the artist to establish a relationship between art and architectural space, while poetically manifesting the passage of time, the sense of the ephemeral, and the need to fill the void.   


Jeppe Hein, Modified Social Bench 28, 2011, at Galleri Nicolai Wallner

This Danish artist is another of my favorites due to his masterfully conceived visual language which, through its keen sense of irony, attracts the attention of the spectator. In this instance, the work chosen is a bench in the form of an exterior sculpture—such as that exhibited in 2011 at Auckland Art Gallery—which ingeniously demonstrates the need for dialogue.

Daniel Canogar, Rise, 2015, at bitforms gallery

Together with Secundino Hernández, Daniel is one of the artists with the greatest international reach in Spain today. The work I have chosen will undoubtedly become a turning point in his career, its footage having been used in one of the most widely known public spaces—Times Square in New York—previously host to the work of artists including Tracey Emin and one of the world’s major filmmakers today, Isaac Julien. Storming Times Square (2014) is a project which involved some 1,200 people, who dragged themselves across a platform whilst being recorded from an overhead camera, and could be viewed for a period of a month on the 47 screens distributed around the square, where the crowds who had participated looked like they were scaling the buildings. This social artwork reveals its polychrome nature in the form of the clothing used by each of the participants. This is globalization taken to its maximum expression.  


Explore ARCOmadrid 2015 on Artsy.

Artsy Editorial