Six Must-See Works from ARCOmadrid

Julia Colavita
Feb 14, 2014 10:07PM

On the occasion of ARCOmadrid, which opens to the public next week, I’ve chosen a handful of favorite works by artists I’m keeping my eye on—from a silkscreen by Cristina Iglesias, one of Spain’s most renowned artists, to one of the most canonical works in Brazilian art, by Anna Bella Geiger.

Cristina Iglesias, Estudio pozos XXIII, 2012, at Galería Elba Benítez 

 One of Spain’s most renowned artists, and a Madrid native, Iglesias has participated in numerous international exhibitions and represented Spain at the 1986 and 1993 Venice Biennales and the 2012 Sydney Biennale. These silkscreens shown by Galería Elba Benítez contain such depth and movement of light and space, it is hard to imagine they are prints. They are a beautiful 2D interpretation of her well-known sculptures, which act as layers of skin. The artist’s exhibitions over the last decade have included solo shows at institutions like the Arnaldo Pomodoro foundation, Milan; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and many more.

Carlos Garaicoa, Calle Fabrica Entre Via Blanca y Aspuru, La Habana, 2013, at Barbara Gross

Carlos Garaicoa has exhibited extensively around the world; his works have been included in major exhibitions such as the Gwangju Biennale, Korea, the Biennale of São Paulo, and Documenta XI. Although based in Havana, Cuba, Garaicoa uses his frequent travels between biennials and commissions as a source of inspiration to express his experience as a Latin American in a globalized world. The relationships he draws between the two are often based in architectural renderings, for example in this photograph that almost seems like a painting, or a dreamlike memory of a once proliferate industry left to fall in Havana, Cuba. 

Juliana Cerqueira Leite, [Pompeii I], 2013, at Casa Triângulo

This Brazilian-American artist, who studied at Slade School of Art, has gained attention from Charles Saatchi and New York’s Sculpture Space, and she recently showed at Art Basel in Miami Beach. Leite’s art focuses on the body (often her own) and its limitations, capabilities, and interactions with physical space and material. Her amorphous sculptures seem to be relics of her processes in clay, often leaving impressions from where she has dug, scraped, or crawled through. 

Anna Bella Geiger, História de Brasil: Little Boys & Girls (III), 1977, at Aural

Geiger, a prolific artist who has created some of Brazil’s best known contemporary artworks, was one of the first artists to introduce video to Brazil in the ’70s. In this booth you can see examples of her experimental photomontages and photocopies. One of her most iconic pieces is featured, which pairs commercial postcards of indigenous people with photos of herself, exploring her recurring theme: the ambiguity of Brazilian identity and its exoticized “otherness.”  These works examine and relate her own identity and biography with her surrounding socio-political and cultural environment. She has had major exhibitions at MoMA PS1, N.Y.; MACBA, Barcelona; and Centre Pompidou, Paris; and represented Brazil in the Venice Biennale in 1980. 

Alexandre Da Cunha, Sunset (Flag I), 2008, at Sommer & Kohl

Brazilian-born, U.K.-based artist Da Cunha recently showed at Frieze New York, and his work is included in several museum collections, such as the Tate Modern, London, Museu de Arte de Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and many more. From his massive sculptures to his photomontages, Cunha creates his work by re-appropriating found objects into abstract assemblages. He says, “my practice has been mostly about my personal encounter with things in everyday life and a quite straightforward intervention on those elements.”

Ola Kolehmainen, Hagia Sophia year 537 V, 2014, at Galeria Senda

Part of the Helsinki School, Kolehmainen notes that he “use[s] architecture as a starting point and source of inspiration” in order to examine “space, light, and color...and question our way of looking at things.” This photograph of the ancient cathedral of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia (or holy wisdom) was destroyed in riots, burnt in revolts, finally to be rebuilt again in 537 as referenced in the photograph’s title. Kolehmainen is presumably referencing the complex history and architectural systems in this image. With numerous solo shows, his work is also part of several collections including the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki; Fundación Centro Ordoñéz-Falcón, Spain; The National Museum of Photography, Denmark; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, and many more.

Explore ARCOmadrid on Artsy. 

Julia Colavita