Opening its doors on February 21st, Urvanity 2018 has proven itself to be a meeting point where collectors, experts and art lovers can discover and acquire artworks from celebrated international artists.
In addition to the strong exhibition program, that includes 19 national and international galleries, the fair has also prepared on-site installations, a mural program, and a program of talks that brings together different top-tier national and international actors.
The program of talks will mainly take place at LASEDE COAM, a living, accessible and proactive space between the vibrant districts of Chueca and Malasaña that helps Culture, Art, Society and Architecture’s to grow. Only the Breakfast-Roundtable: Women in the cultural industry beyond feminist clichés will take place at Me Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel. For the entire timetable visit the official website of the fair.
To find out more about the concept of this year's program of talks, we had a chat with the program coordinator Alberto Aguilar. In an exclusive Widewalls interview, Alberto discusses the focus on the position of women in the cultural industry, Tuenti-Urvanity New Contemporary Art Contest, the collaboration with The Art Conference, and much more.
Widewalls: Let’s start with the overall experience of putting this year’s program together: how would you describe it? Was it challenging?
Alberto Aguilar: In 2017, the program included ideas, experiences and initiatives of different participants who came to Madrid for the first edition of Urvanity. Through this, we offered an overview of New Contemporary Art.
After a year, talking about New Contemporary Art no longer causes astonishment, but the certainty that there are other creative proposals that dialogue with the contemporary artistic canon. Precisely, this is the challenge of this year's program: to build a narrative hand in hand with players of the professional and institutional scene.
Widewalls: The Talks program begins with a roundtable discussion about ”women in the cultural industry beyond feminist clichés”. What do you hope this event will deliver to the audience?
AA: Discussing the role that women have assigned in any industry and, in particular in the cultural one, too many times leads the solution of citing statistics. Achieving parity is not an issue, but accessing resources and decision-making on equal terms.
The fact that female artists suffer a scandalous injustice within the cultural industry should be denounced and corrected. However, the debate does not arise from a frontal attack on our heteropatriarchal society.
What interests us is the talent, because a work fails or defends itself, beyond the genre. However, it is inexcusable that, to this day, artists do not enjoy the same possibilities of accessing resources and making decisions in order to consolidate a trajectory in the institutional circuit and in the market.
Widewalls: Of course, one of the main topics of Urvanity is urban art, especially in relation to cities and urban landscape in general. Could you tell our readers how the fair plans to cover these themes?
AA: As it is known, Urvanity is committed to articulating the practices, uses and new codes that constitute the cultural landscape of cities. Thus, we will show how different actors and initiatives understand the public place where they carry out their work in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao. And, above all, how the physiognomy of cities is transformed to creativity. Without losing sight of the fact that contextualizing urban art historically allows us to understand current artistic practices in the public space.
Widewalls: We also got five winners of the Tuenti-Urvanity New Contemporary Art Contest. What was the competition like? What were the criteria? Who are the winners?
AA: Urvanity is conceived as a platform to generate formats and contents. The Nuevo Arte Contemporáneo fair is the most visible initiative, but there are also other projects throughout the year. Tuenti Urban Art Project is one such example.
During 2017, this initiative allowed us to link the professional circle of contemporary art with the university environment: five universities collaborated to bring urban art closer to young creators during their training period. Precisely, in the framework of the project, there was an open call for all students to submit a recent work that would be selected to be exhibited in the second edition of Urvanity. Thus, the talent of five young artists can be enjoyed at the fair. Your readers will find the details of the initiative in Tuenti Urban Art Project booth.
Widewalls: A novelty in 2018 is the collaboration with The Art Conference, now a well-known event in the urban art world. How did the idea of a joint project come to be? What can the visitors expect from it?
AA: Thanks to the complicity with other initiatives and national and international interlocutors, Urvanity explores and imagines the future scenarios where the artistic practice will be developed. We also support the production and dissemination of ideas to show that New Contemporary Art is something polyhedral that transcends territories and catalogs. In this context, the collaboration with The Art Conference arises.
In particular, The Art Conference, in collaboration with Urbanity Art Fair, presents an afternoon of talks and panel discussions charting the path to success made by high-achieving women across the industry.
Exploring the commitment, sacrifice and challenge involved in their rise within a highly-competitive art world, Anna Dimitrova, Yasha Young and Tina Ziegler will tell stories of pivotal moments in their career (for better or worse), and take questions from the audience. They will consider the options for those making their own foray into the scene.
Widewalls: What about the artists participating in the program this year?
AA: Although we will have an important cast of artists spread throughout the different discussion panels or presentations, this time we have invited Eltono and 2alas to give an account of their respective creative universes and dialogue with the public. The program seeks to reflect on the background of artistic practice to build a narrative about New Contemporary Art among all, but always bringing the plasticity and the story of the creators to everyone who visits the fair.
Widewalls: Finally, can we expect any outdoor projects as well?
AA: Once again, the Urvanity-Tuenti Walls program will take place during the week of the fair. It is an initiative that transcends the white cube concept and that bets for international artists to make the city's landscape their own and redraw it. Therefore, Jan Kaláb, Jana & JS, Alexey Luka and Cranio will carry out mural interventions in Madrid. Your readers can find all the information at the following link.
Featured image: Urvanity 2018, The Conference Room, courtesy Widewalls.