Madrid : The New Latin American HUB

Arco Madrid, known as the premier art fair in the Spanish-speaking world, celebrated its 43rd edition from March 6th to 10th, 2024, in the capital of Spain.

The fair, one of the largest in Europe in terms of area, hosts 250 galleries from 36 countries: 73 Spanish galleries(35% of the total), 132 international galleries(65%) including 38 Latin American galleries (30%), with a special presence from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Let's note the attendance of 400 collectors and 200 professionals from 40 countries.

Despite slow but steady sales reported by exhibitors and industry insiders at IFEMA Madrid during the initial two professional days, Wednesday and Thursday, there are suggestions from some quarters that the city could aspire to an even more ambitious role in the international art market.

Its monumental size is intrinsically linked to its history, being founded in 1982 when Arco welcomed international galleries as well as many local Spanish galleries. This was at a time when the Ministry of Culture had not yet been established in Spain, and cultural initiatives depended on regional funds. Even then, Arco provided a significant opportunity for gallery owners. Today, while the focus remains on national artists to cater to local collectors, the fair also reflects current trends, especially with the increasing presence of Latin American collectors in Madrid, who wield strong purchasing power,  making the city their home here, thanks to an investor-visa scheme.

Many galleries are participating because they view Arco as an excellent platform for fostering relationships between Europe and Latin America. With the growing number of Latin American clients in Madrid, hailing from countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia, the fair has become increasingly appealing. Let's delve into the showcased Latino American artists and examine the sales results.

Esther Schipper & Levy Gorvy

Specific Brazilian artworks were showcased in international galleries, such as the iconic “Blossom” artwork by conceptual artist Jac Leirner at Esther Schipper, Sergio Camargo Toquinhoat Levy Gorvy also showcasing interesting Gego sferic sculpture.

Jac Leirner
Blossom, 2017
22 spirit levels
130 x 67 x 63 cm

Levy Gorvy Gallery’s Booth with Gego Sculpture at ARCO 2024.

Galeria Travesía Cuatro following it solo show during Zona Maco in Mexico City, brings some artworks of Eleonore Koch one of the most relevant Brazilian painters of the second half of the last century. Over the years, Koch showed her work in spaces such as Salão Paulista de Arte Moderna, MAM-SP and Barbican Art Gallery – London, among others.

Eleonore Koch 
Pastel on paper. 
60 x 50 cm.

In their main section at ARCO Madrid, Richard Saltoun Gallery will give priority to artists who will have a notable presence at the 2024 Venice Biennale, including Anna Maria Maiolino. As part of the “Never the Same: Latin American Art” curatorial section, the London Gallerist also partnered with Andre Millan to showcase a solo exhibition of the Brazilian indigenous artist and activist Daiara Tukano

Anna Maria Maiolino
Na Tábua, 1993
Moulded cement
40 x 47 x 7 cm

The contemporary art scene is experiencing a dynamic shift as it actively spotlights the diverse voices of Afro-descendant and Indigenous creators. This movement is not only enriching the narrative of art history with a multitude of perspectives and experiences but also promoting cultural heritage and traditional practices. In the forefront of this transformation is Brazil, where a vibrant selection of artists are gaining international recognition, bringing their unique insights and reinvigorated appreciation for ancient mediums such as textiles, ceramics and natural materials. In doing so, the art community acknowledges they preserve. In this logic, we observe an increasing presence of Brazilian galleries this year, with ten exhibitors participating. The price points at Arco are lower than at other top-tier fairs, with most of the works selling between €20.000 until €100.000.

Millan Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Daiara Tukano in collaboration with Richard Saltoun Gallery. Tukano, an Indigenous Brazilian artist, combines female and Indigenous artistic expressions to present traditional narratives.

Daiara Tukano exhibition view at Millan’s Booth in collaboration with Richard Saltoun Gallery. 

Galeria Almeida Dale’s Booth view at ARCO 2024.

Among the notable sales, we emphasize the solo show of Rubem Valentim presented by Almeida Dale, which resulted in 5 successful sales. Three small paintings were sold for $60.000 each, along with a larger painting for $180.000 and a drawing from the 1960s fetching between $35.000 and $55.000.

Three acrylic on canvas by Rubem Valentin

In this edition, the Gallery exhibited a collective of artists, among them we highlight Solange Pessoa, known for her diverse body of work spanning sculpture and drawing art. Solange’s works have been exhibited at renowned institutions like MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Several artworks from Paula Siebra were sold as well as multimedium pieces from Cassia Vitorino Brasileiro.

Solange Pessoa
Mineral pigment on canvas

Mendes Wood also presents the artistic work of Paula Siebra, who has produced eight new paintings for the exhibition, all sold out.

Paula Siebra at Mendes Wood Booth ARCO 2024.

Portas Vilasecas has successfully sold to a reknowned institution the video installation created by the esteemed visual artist Ayrson Heráclito, priced at 20.000€.

A screening of the film IRAWO BORI took place at Plaza Cibeles-Madrid on Tuesday, March 5. This film by director Lula Buarque de Hollanda documents the Bori performance at Pinacoteca in São Paulo with a poetic approach. The film, curated by Marcelo Campos and Amanda Bonan, also had an exhibition at the Rio Art Museum (MAR).

Ayrson Heráclito
Sacudimentos  O encontro das margens do Atlântico, 2015 
Two channel video installation, full HD, colour, sound 8m 38s Edition: 3/8.

As evidence of his significance extending beyond the field of visual art. “The Bath of Òsún” is another work by Ayrson Heráclito sold at ARCO Madrid 2024.

Ayrson Heráclito
O Banho de Òsún, 2020 
Photograph printed with mineral pigments on Canson Rag Photographique 310 g/m2 
121 x 180 cm, Edition: 3/5 + 2 AP

In addition to his sales success during the fair, several watercolors on paper were sold. The artist remains one of the prominent figures in the field of African diaspora art.

Ayrson Heráclito
Watercolors on paper 

The Gallery also soldto Banco de España, Nudo, anartworks by Antonio Pichilla Indigenous artist of the Maya Tz’utujil people. His works are in major museums worldwide, including TaTe Modern – London and Museo Reina Sofia – Spain. The artist also participated to the Unravelled exhibition at Barbican Museum in London and to the collective exhibition Primavera Silenciosa (Silent Spring) organized by the Luciana Brito Gallery in São Paulo.

Antonio Pichilla
Nudo, 2020
Oil on canvas and handmade fabric 
110 x 160 x 9 cm

The Zelinsky Gallery’s booth showcases several female artists, Sandra Monterroso, Shirley Paes Leme. Additionally, they recorded the sale of 6 photographs by Vera Chavez Barcellos.

Galeria Zelinsky’s Booth at ARCO Madrid 2024.

During the fair Vera Chávez Barcellos photographs were avaiable for a asking price of 50.000 euros for the whole installation of 9 photographs, a set was sold to a private Spanish collection. 

Vera Chaves Barcellos
Epidermic Scapes, 1977
Impresión de tintas pigmentadas sobre papel algodón, Edition of 5
100 x 120 cm

The Gallery brings together a collective of artists, including Ernesto Neto, Marina Rheingantz, Tadáskía and Erika Verzutti.

Overview of Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel Gallery’s Booth at ARCO Madrid 2024.

Is showcasing Denilson Baniwa’s works at ARCO Madrid 2024. Through “Y-Juca-Pirama: Histórias de um País Tropical em Desenvolvimento” readers gain a deeper understanding of Brazil’s indigenous origins, cultural practices, and the persistent oppression they have confronted since colonization. This artist will represent Brazil in the National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Denilson Baniwa
Japopete Brasil-pe, Mamõ árapa, Niko jasyrundy peteĩha. Millôr Fernandes, 2024
Acrylic, grafitti and collage on tururi (natural vegetable fiber)
63 x 87 x 2 cm

Vermelho showcases Carmela Gross and Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s artworks at their 16th participation at ARCOmadrid. The exhibition showcases Gross’s historical pieces, including X, which was exhibited at the São Paulo Biennial in 1989 and significant works from Garrido-Lecca’s recent collection, which explores the intersection of ancestral wisdom and colonial systems.

Overview of Vermelho Gallery’s Booth at ARCO Madrid 2024.

As part of the program “Nunca lo mismo. Latin American Art”, commissioned by Manuela Moscoso and José Esparza Chong Cuy, Gallery Jaqueline Martins presented works by Juraci Dórea. His compositions, made of ox leather, are both symmetrical and rhythmic, crafted using the same traditional methods used by Bahia cowboys for their saddles and garments.

Overview from Galeria Jaqueline Martins’s Booth at ARCO Madrid with Juraci Dorea art.

Lelong Gallery

Renowned British sculptor David Nash, representing the Lelong Gallery, was one of the ARCO foundation acquisitions. Known for his work mainly in wood and other natural materials.

David Nash

Another important acquisition: Heinz Mack (1931) was a post-avant-garde artist and co-founder of Zero Group. Responsible for proposing innovative art approaches, his work drew inspiration from Turkish mosaics, Persian textiles, and avant-garde art. 

Parra & Romero’s Booth view.

We also highlight the acquisition of works by the artist Ugo Rondinone. Known for thought-provoking artworks that blend sculptural and pictorial techniques to explore nature and human condition.

Ugo Rondinone at Esther Schipper Gallery’s Booth during ARCO 2024.

A  Tomás Saraceno spider net’s artwork commissioned by the Galleria Arte Moderna Museum in Turin, was donated for an amount of €14.500 by the Arts Connection Foundation to become part of the NewArt Collection.

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, founder of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO). 

In parallel with the Arco fair, the philanthropist and renowned collector Ella Fontanals Cinsneiros has opened her warehouse, where she presents a new curatorial project this year : a small portion of her collection consisting of numerous Latin American artists such as Torres Garcia, Soto, Cruz Diez, Sandu Darie, and Brazilian artists including Antonio Dias, Fernanda Gomes, Arthur Lescher, and Vik Muniz. Her insightful comment resurfaces in the present: 

“Today I think we have invaded Madrid. I say it’s the reconquest of the conquistador,” referring to the unity between Latin artists and Spain and the recently new connection with the growing Latino collector Community.

Antonio Dias
The Prison, 1970
Acrylic on canvas
95 x 95 cm

Ella has played a crucial role in fostering dialogue and collaboration within the global art community, notably enhancing the visibility and appreciation of contemporary Latin American art worldwide. She shares her own experiences in her recently launched book, “Ella soy yo,” reflecting on the journey of a woman navigating the realms of business and society over the years.

The exhibition Before América: Original Sources in Modern Culture showcases over six hundred works, tracing a historical process rooted in pre-European contact with the Americas. It explores how modern and contemporary culture reinterpret the forms and meanings of ancient Indigenous civilizations and cultures across the Americas. 

Exhibition view

The exhibition also delves into mid-twentieth-century artistic projects that reclaimed or invented ancestral culture, documenting the monuments of the past through photography and drawings. 

Lasar Segall
Watercolor on paper

In the section of the exhibition focusing on Identity and Invention from 1940 to 1970, In the artworks of Brazilian artists like Lygia Pape, as well as Joseph and Anie Albers, along with those of other Latin American artists such as Joaquim Torres Garcia and Ana Mendietta, demonstrate various forms of symbiosis between pre-Columbian geometric forms and the avant-garde languages.

Joseph Albers
Untitled (Teopanzolco, Mexico), 1936–39

Bringing us to the present, it reveals how the Amerindian paradigm continues to influence contemporary art worldwide, evident in the use of geometry and color, critical or ironic references to the past, performance art, Indigenous-based postmodern architecture, intentional kitsch, conceptual art, and the revitalization of arts and crafts with new sociopolitical and aesthetic meanings.

In summary, Madrid emerges as a promising hub for the Latin American market, boasting captivating thematic exhibitions tailored to this specific audience and driven by private initiatives aligned with this direction. The ARCO fair stands out as a compelling platform, facilitating connections and underscoring the significance of Latin America in a nurturing market environment. While sales typically fall within the range of $20.000 to $100.000, this dynamic and inviting fair offers an enriching experience. It’s an opportunity to discover emerging talents who are gaining traction within major institutional collections, yet remain accessible to art enthusiasts today.

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