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Within a few hours of the closing of the 37th International Contemporary Art Fair, held from 21 to 25 February, ARCOmadrid 2018’s trade balance has been described as extremely positive by the participating galleries since it opened its doors last Wednesday to collectors and art professionals. This trend was maintained during the five days of the event, that experienced a high rate of sales, returning to pre-crisis levels.

01 Mar 2018

In total, 208 galleries from 29 countries have taken part (160 galleries in the General Programme), with a high level artistic and programmatic commitment, aimed at a market that is beginning to gain confidence. This can be seen in what´s been a general trend by the galleries, who have opted for recognised authors and carefully selected works that have aroused the interest of collectors.

Because of this, the work of the Organising Committee, which is made up of national and international galleries, has specifically placed its focus on the quality of the content, in an edition that has seen an increase in the level of participating galleries, with the return of big international gallery names such as Alexander and Bonin and Team, from  New York, and Thaddaeus Ropac, from París; new additions such as Guido W. Baudach; König Galerie; Monitor and Van Doren Waxter, and other names that remain loyal to ARCO like Barbara Thumm; Chantal Crousel; Hauser & Wirth and Michel Rein, among others of international recognition.

In its first two days (21 and 22 February)  the Fair brought together 30,000 professionals, with the spotlight on a significant presence of national and foreign collectors.  It is only thanks to the International Buyers and Special Guest programmes, organised by ARCOmadrid, that 300 collectors and 200 professionals from more than 40 countries visited the Fair, expanding the spectrum with new names that aroused the interest of the galleries.

Also, from Friday 23 until today when the Fair closes its doors, there has been a constant public attendance. In total, and in the absence of final data, ARCOmadrid 2018 will have achieved a figure of 100,000 attendees.  For them, the Fair also launched the new #mecomprounaobra initiative, aimed at encouraging purchases and promoting new collections, whose identifying label has been on a selection of works under 5,000 euros, which were well received. This initiative also included a free advice service for the purchase of works during the Fair - First Collectors by Fundación Banco Santander, and the Young Collectors programme, an invitation to thirty young international collectors.

Generally, the Fair has received a very positive review, in particular for the high quality of the collectors and the volume of sales at ARCOmadrid. In this regard, the gallery Pedro Cera stated that “it has been a spectacular year. For us the best thing was the good sales pace right from the start. In addition, the collectors programme gave us the opportunity to connect with many we didn´t previously know, especially foreign collectors”. In the same vein, Thaddaeus Ropac confirmed “we are very happy and have sold a lot. The days specifically for professionals worked very well”, and Carreras Múgica also commented that “this edition went really well. We sold a lot every day. Plus, we particularly appreciated the collectors’ breakfast on Wednesday due to the level of attendees”.

For their part, Estrany -de la Mota are “satisfied with the volume of sales. We have sold works by all of our artists”. Bortolami Gallery, who participated in the Future section highlighted that “the innovative programme and the turnout of professionals were well received. We are very happy with the sales”.

Institutional and corporate purchases

Among the institutional and corporate purchases confirmed in this edition of ARCOmadrid are those acquired by Fundación ARCO, worth 175,000 euros, paid with funds raised from the Fundación ARCO dinner, sponsored by La Galería de Canalejas, held at the Teatro Real on Tuesday 20 February, for the ‘A’ Awards for Collecting. The acquired works, with the guidance of Miguel von Hafe and Manuel Segade, correspond to 7 artists from 7 galleries who took part in the 37th edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair, ARCOmadrid:  Amalia Pica -König Galerie-; Armando Andrade Tudela - Fortes, d'Aloia & Gabriel-; Laure Prouvost   - Carlier Gebauer-; Lily Renaud Dewar   - Emanuel Layr-; Yorgos Sapountzis   - Barbara Gross-; Francesc Ruiz - Estrany-de la Mota-, and Eva Fábregas   - Tenderpixel-, which will form part of the Fundación ARCO Collection, to be housed in CA2M, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid .

As usual, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía has also acquired works at ARCOmadrid. On this occasion, a total of 23 works from artists such as Rosa Barba, Patricia Esquivias, David Bestué, María Ruido, Inmaculada Salinas, Algirdas Seskus, Joachim Koester, Ángels Ribé and Engel Leonardo, with a value of 224.480 euros. 

DKV Seguros has bought works from June Crespo –CarrerasMugica-; Blanca Gracia –Ángeles Baños-; Mar Guerrero –Formatocomodo-; Rubén Grilo –NoguerasBlanchard-; Federico Miró –F2 Galería-, and Carlos Fernández-Pello –García | Galería-, among others.

Fundación Helga de Alvear has acquired the piece 'Pavilion for showing rock', by artist Dan Graham, valued at 500,000 dollars, in Hauser & Wirth, and works by Carlos Bunga –Alexander and Bonin-, and Chema Madoz –Elvira González-. In addition Fundación María Cristina Masaveu Peterson has bought works by Portuguese artist Pedro Cabrita Reis -Juana de Aizpuru- at the fair.

Among some of the works sold were those registered by Mayoral gallery, which sold, amongst others, a Luis Feito called ‘256 B’ for 30,000 euros.  Leandro Navarro has sold the Baltasar Lobo sculpture, ‘Mére et enfant’, which reached the price of 330,000 euros. For its part, Helga de Alvear also sold pieces like 'La revolution será femenine', by Marcel Dzama for 44,610 euros. In Leon Tovar, the piece 'Escritura Verde Superior' by Jesús Rafael Soto was sold for more than 800,000 euros, while in Maruani Mercier prices reached up to 150,000 euros for works by Peter Halley and Maurizio Cattelan. Elba Benítez, from Madrid, has sold amongst others, photographs by Ibon Aranberri, and Parisian Michel Rein, a work by Chilean Enrique Ramirez for 25,000 euros. Marlborough has sold two works by Antonio López for 315,000 and 90,000 euros.

National and international private companies join the initiatives to boost acquisitions and recognise artistic creation, by awarding various prizes. This applies to the award ARCO Comunidad de Madrid that this year has been awarded to artists Alex Reynolds (Bilbao, 1978), Cristina Garrido (Madrid, 1986), Teresa Solar (Madrid, 1985) and Elena Alonso (Madrid, 1981), all from the same generation and who, using different languages, address crucial issues in the definition of contemporary art.

The Beep Award for Electronic Art has gone to the artist Eugenio Ampudia for the work ´Try Not To Think So Much´ (2018), a piece which uses circuits and technology. Asunción Molinos Gordo has been the winner of the Solán de Cabras Art Award with her piece ´Ocultamiento, Falsa Escasez o Escasez Fingida´, a hand-painted wooden sculpture that represents a bulk-carrier ship. The NH Contemporary Art Collection Award has recognised French artist Jean-Pascal Flavien, from the gallery Esther Schipper, for his work ‘Model/Mask 5’ (2017). The Catalina dAnglade Art Award has rewarded Secundino Hernández with the purchase of his work ´Sin Título, 2017` and the launch of a new project that will link art and design. For his part, the Brazilian Marcelo Cidade, with his experimental and acclaimed piece ´Expansão por Subtrasão´, was the winner of the illy SustainArt Award. The work ´El holandés errante`, by Kiko Pérez, has won the Cervezas Alhambra Award for Emerging Art.  The Art Situacions Award has gone to the artist Carlos Irijalba for his work ´Walls 2´. In addition, with the upcoming participation of Peru as the guest country of ARCOmadrid 2019, the first Han Nefkens Foundation Award - ARCOmadrid has been awarded to artist Maya Watanabe, who will receive the necessary funding to carry out her video art project for one year.

One more year, ARCOmadrid has had the support of the private initiative and of institutional collaborations, through sponsorship actions from different areas present at the Fair. Companies like Fundación Banco Santander, illycaffè, Audemars Piguet, Solán de Cabras, Ruinart, CNP Partners, La Caixa, Banco Sabadell, CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo , DKV Seguros, Pequeño Deseo, NH, Beep, Arts Exclusive, or  Ron Zacapa have participated in the Fair besides public institutions that regularly collaborate with ARCOmadrid as a sign of support to the creation, cultural action and international cooperation.

The Organisation is already working on the 3rd edition of ARCOlisboa, which will take place from 17-20 May in the Cordoaria Nacional, as well as on ARCOmadrid 2019, which will be held from 20-24 February with Peru as the Guest Country of Honour.