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Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I, Madrid

ARCO, Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair, will be holding its 23rd edition at the best artistic and economic juncture of recent years. A spate of new art museums, new collections, and a highly professionalised gallery scene all constitute a favourable scenario, further enhanced by Spain's bright prospects for growth. Given this context, ARCO is presenting a top-flight contingent of prestigious art galleries from around the globe, as well as invitationals programmed by leading international curators.

comunicato stampa

Madrid, 12-16 February 2004


ARCO, Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair, will be holding its 23rd edition at the best artistic and economic juncture of recent years. A spate of new art museums, new collections, and a highly professionalised gallery scene all constitute a favourable scenario, further enhanced by Spain's bright prospects for growth. Given this context, ARCO is presenting a top-flight contingent of prestigious art galleries from around the globe, as well as invitationals programmed by leading international curators. The fair's multidisciplinary approach will be more marked than ever, featuring architecture, design, interior decorating, and fashion, as well as a world-premier academic conference bringing together some of the most illustrious minds in contemporary art theory and practice.

Together with the presence of Greece as the special guest country, which will include a series of events aimed at presenting the best of the current Greek art scene to the Spanish public, ARCO has a number of important new sections this year: two invitationals, focusing on the art of Africa and the Nordic countries; a high-profile meeting, the 1st International Visual Studies Conference; and ARCO will also be heading into the streets of its host city with the public art programme Open Madrid, which originated in the Open Spaces section from previous editions of the fair.

ARCO's usual spaces for experimentation will be back, as well: UP & COMING and PROJECT ROOMS, both exploring new models of creation through the selections made by 26 curators from around the world, who will be bringing to Madrid the freshest art from the international scene. A highlight will be The Americas programme, presenting for the first time a global vision of the most important emerging art scenes ranging from Mexico to Canada.

Official Programming

A total of 274 galleries-91 from Spain and 183 from abroad-are featured in the 23rd edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair, from Europe (211), North America (26), Latin America (28), Asia (7), Africa (2), and Oceania (1). This year will be ARCO's most international ever, with the first participation in its history of African galleries (from Mali and Senegal), and the return of representatives from such countries as Canada, Colombia, Finland, Guatemala, South Korea, and Sweden.

As usual, ARCO'04 will revolve around the fair's General Selection, with 194 participating galleries chosen by its Organising Committee, and three curated invitationals: GREECE AT ARCO'04, bringing together 15 galleries from the country's main art centres, Athens and Thessaloniki; the PROJECT ROOMS/Multi-Pass section, featuring 26 projects by as many artists; and UP & COMING, which will centre on five particularly interesting areas-Asia, Africa, Europe, the USA, and Latin America-represented by 53 galleries.

The new Hellenic art lands at ARCO
The centrepiece of ARCO is always its special guest country, and this year it will be Greece. GREECE AT ARCO'04, curated by Katerina Gregos and Sania Papa, spotlights 15 of the Hellenic art scene's leading galleries. Through its different approaches, trends, and aesthetic currents, this selection puts the accent on the work of young artists who have played a fundamental role in the redefinition of Greek art, as well as the contribution of cutting-edge galleries committed not only to promoting Greek art abroad, but also to bringing international art to their home audience.

Most of these galleries come from Athens, Greece's principal art centre, although the lively Thessaloniki scene is also represented. Of 15, only ILEANA TOUNTA and ELENI KORONEOU had previously participated in ARCO, whilst the others are all exhibiting in Spain for the first time. These include: ERNIER/ELIADES, the first Athenian gallery to present such international figures as George Lappas and Nikos Navridis, whose work will be present at ARCO; KAPPATOS, with a selection of high-tech art; REBECCA CAMHI, whose stand will feature the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki; UNLIMITED, which will pair up the work of Germany's Erwin Wurm, with the Greek Theodoros Raftopoulos and the Israeli Uri Tzaig; and ELS HANAPPE, NEES MORFES, A.ANTONOPOULOU.ART ,THE APARTMENT and AD GALLERY, which will centre on young Greek artists, as well as GALLERY 7, showing the digital photography of Eleni Lyra. The Thessalonikans are ARTFORUM, with the work of Vangelis Pliarides, and LOLA NIKOLAOU and ZINA ATHANASSIADOU, each presenting its roster of Greek artists.

GREECE AT ARCO'04, promoted by Greece's Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Olympiad, will spill over into different art centres around Madrid, with the ¡HOLA GRECIA! programme: the collective Ruptura, Grecia 2004: Perspectivas contemporáneas en las artes plásticas (Sala Alcalá 21); a photo show, Conciencia Individual: Fotografía Griega Contemporáne (Canal de Isabel II), and La Suspensión Griega: Tierra de Arquitectos, and El 'Making of' de Las Guerras de los Balcanes en juego (Centro Conde Duque). There will also be a triple exhibition at La Casa Encendida art centre: an installation by Ana Mathiou; a show of video art by women, 9 Musas, supongo: Vídeo arte reciente hecho por mujeres; and a series of films by the Greek director Gregory Markopoulus.

UP & COMING-Experimental Art and Globalisation
The UP & COMING section always takes a look at the most cutting-edge experimental art on the international scene. This year's selection of 53 galleries from 21 countries brings to Madrid the work of young artists from every corner of the globe, whose common denominator is their daring interpretation of our globalised world. From Japan to Puerto Rico, from Denmark to Mali to Canada, this programme highlights the breakdown of borders that has made room for a new artistic space, the key to which is cultural exchange. New languages and media, galleries committed to alternative trends and ways of operating within the art market, and young artists who have yet to break into the international circuit-these are the defining traits of a programme that shows the art of tomorrow, today.

Curated by 23 international experts and critics, UP & COMING will feature six sections at ARCO'04: The Americas, Asian Party, Global Game (IV), Nordic Countries, Complex Projects II, Crossroads, and Fragments d'Afrique. Amongst these, the African selection, curated by Simon Njami, is bound to be the great discovery of this 23rd edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair, along with Nordic Countries, curated by Marianne Torp, which will show the deep changes that their art is currently undergoing.

Between the oneiric, the virtual, and the scientific, high tech and digital art will, once again, be the guiding lights of the selection proposed by Myriam Solar for Complex Projects. New technologies also represent a major thread running through the programming of the Asian galleries chosen by Hou Hanru and Mami Kataoka for Asian Party, Global Game (IV), whilst The Americas aims to offer a variety of different disciplines providing an overall view of the two continents, North and South. Rounding off the programme is the open-themed Crossroads, offering a tour of European galleries and their artists, selected by Rafael Doctor and Agustín Pérez Rubio.

PROJECT ROOMS-Spaces for Innovation
Exploring new possibilities, discovering emerging artists, and provoking a reaction to what are, today, defined more precisely as the visual arts, are the objectives of this section, presenting 26 site-specific projects created especially for ARCO'04. Under the title Multi-Pass, the programme aims to offer the public a multifaceted landscape through different languages used by the artists who are setting the pace on today's art scene. Formal and conceptual rigour, as well as geographic, generational, and technical diversity, were the basic criteria guiding this selection by Víctor Zamudio-Taylor, Peter Doroshenko, and Silvia Karman Cubiná.

PROJECT ROOMS has sought out pieces from both emerging and consolidated galleries from outside the world's major art centres, as well as amongst artists of different generations marked by diverse media and disciplines. The projects selected include: sound sculpture by Fernando Ortega (KURIMANZUTTO/Mexico City); video by Carlos Amorales (ANNETE GELINK/Amsterdam); digital photography by Chuck Ramírez (FINESILVER/San Antonio, Texas); video installations by Noe Sendas (CRISTINA GUERRA & PEDRO OLIVEIRA/Lisbon-Oporto) and Pelayo Varela (ESPACIO LÍQUIDO/Gijón); sculptural architecture by Loris Cecchini (CONTINUA/San Gimignano), and sculpture by Wang Du (VALÉRIE CUETO/Paris), Joao Pedro Vale (FILOMENA SOARES/Lisbon), and Sergey Shekhovtsov (REGINA GALLERY/ Moscow). These artists will be presenting installations: D'nell Larson (BODYBUILDER & SPORTSMAN/Chicago); Joseph Havel (DEVIN BORDEN HIRAM BUTLER/Houston); Louis de Cordier (FORTLAAN 17/Ghent); Dzine (MONIQUE MELOCHE/Chicago); Sergio de Beukelaer (TIM VAN LAERE/Antwerp), and Ivelisse Jiménez (PUNTO GRIS/San José, Puerto Rico). Other artists selected include: Santiago Cucullu (JULIA FRIEDMAN (Chicago) and Fernanda Brunet (RAMÍS BARQUET/New York and OMR/ MéxicoDF), presenting paintings; Martín Sastre (LUIS ADELANTADO/Valencia), with an innovative intervention; Federico Herrero (JUANA DE AIZPURU/Madrid and SIES & HOKE/ Dusseldorf), with large-format paintings; the Mexican José Dávila (ENRIQUE GUERRERO/Mexico City) and Angela de la Cruz (KRINZINGER/Vienna), both with interventions; besides the projects of Patrick Guns (NADJA VILENNE/Liege), Nestor Torrens (VEGUETA/Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Sebastián Díaz Morales (CARLIER/GEBAUER-Berlin), Peter Bonde (CHROMOSOME/Berlin) and Pieter Vermeersch (KORAALBERG/Antwerp) that will be showing a pictorial installation.

THE AMERICAS, an exclusive selection from North and South
Heightening the presence of Latin America has always been a major goal of ARCO, throughout the fair's history. However, this year it was decided to offer a fresh slant, bringing together and contrasting new art from all over the Americas, both North and South, through galleries from the USA, Canada, South America, and the Caribbean Basin. The programme will also feature seven European galleries that work with Latin artists.

The section's roster of curators includes: Sandra Antelo-Suárez, Regine Basha, Gustavo Buntinx, Sylvia Chivaratanond, Lauri Firstenberg, Julieta González, Magda González, Bruce Grenville, Eungie Joo, Lisette Lagnado, Omar López-Chahoud, Rosa Martínez, Victoria Noorthoorn, José Ignacio Roca, Antonio Zaya, and Octavio Zaya.

ARCO'04 Ephemeral Architecture Project
The discourse of contemporary architecture and, more specifically, the parameters of today's urban design, have served as the references for developing the ARCO'04 spatial project. This year, one of the most important new features has been the incorporation of narrative criteria to the design and layout of the space. Large entrance lobbies; a redistribution of the exhibition areas; uncluttered aisles; abundant, simple signage; and the distribution of architectural design elements around the Fair-all of these features contribute to a project that has aimed to provide artistic contrast, with the aim of enabling visitors to have a comprehensive and relaxed view of the Fair.

As in previous years, space at ARCO is more than just a means of getting from one stand to another; it also represents a unique opportunity for integrating architecture and design into the Fair's atmosphere. These two fields are present through such innovative interventions as the Boulevards, spaces where visitors can relax, produced by DDI (Sociedad Estatal para el Desarrollo del Diseno y la Innovación); the Snackbars, offering creative, high-end fast-food, promoted by Madrid's Casa de América and La Fábrica; and the Chill-Outs, once again sponsored by Spain's Ministry of Public Works, and which will feature two areas designed by the winners of a contest held at architecture schools in Athens, Granada, and Seville.

The architects Pablo Álvarez de Lara and Héctor Crehuet, members of the Equipo TEN-T studio, designed ARCO's overall spatial project, working with the artist and sculptor Eduardo Cajal.

Fashion at ARCO'04: Interventions by davidelfin and LOIS
Open to 'contamination' from new creative sources, ARCO is spreading its net even wider this year by incorporating the world of fashion, through a collaboration with the Spanish designer davidelfin and the clothing manufacturer LOIS for the design of ARCO'04 uniforms.

The exclusive design by the fashion house of davidelfin, to be worn by the personnel at ARCO's Information Points, represents a significant contribution in terms of the concept of fashion as a form of expression, and of the exchange and co-existence of different creative disciplines. Over the course of 2003, davidelfin has won the L'Oreal Prize for best collection at Madrid's Pasarela Cibeles fashion show, as well as the Prix de la Mode Marie Claire for the best new designer of the year. Among other actions related to the art world, davidelfin will be presenting the project Extimidad at Galería Soledad Lorenzo in Madrid from 7-10 January, including a fashion show, installation, video, photography, drawings, and sketches.

LOIS is also linked to the world of art and sponsorship, through its collaboration with ARCO on the design of the uniforms to be worn by ARCO's visitor assistance team. These pieces, created by LOIS's team of designers, incorporates motifs from various internationally prestigious artists who will be present at the fair.

Amongst other initiatives that LOIS has undertaken to support new artists are such events as Pronóstica Contemporary Art Encounter in Ibiza, and Observatori, Valencia's Art Innovation Festival.

Open Madrid International Public Art Event
Parallel to ARCO'04, the first edition of OPEN MADRID, a public art initiative, will be held, taking the fair into the streets of the city as a continuation of the Open Spaces programme presented by ARCO in 2000 and 2001.

The project, to be presented in an area of central Madrid bound by Plaza de Colón (Jardines del Descubrimiento), Plaza de la Independencia (Puerta de Alcalá), and the intersection of the thoroughfares Alcalá and Gran Vía, as well as to the north of the city in the Water Tower of the Fundación Canal in Plaza de Castilla, will include interventions by the Spanish artists El Perro, Maider López, etoy, Diana Larrea, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, and 451. Other projects were selected in an international contest: house-Madrid, by Wolfgang Weileder; Silent, by Elena Bajo/Warren Neidich; and Emancipator Bubble, by the team including the architects Alex Mitxelena and Hugo Olaizola, directed by Saioa Olmo and produced by Amasté. Another project for the Water Tower is by Sans Façon (Charles Blanc/Tristan Surtees).

OPEN MADRID will also include two associated projects. In the audiovisual realm, the weekly television show Metrópolis, from Spanish State Television's channel La 2, will produce a special on all of the interventions making up OPEN MADRID. An architectural project will generate a singular, autonomous piece to be presented at ARCO'04 as part of ARCO Boulevards-Fragments of an Inner City, produced by the DDI.

Proyecto Salas, Institutional Collections
Another major presence is that of PROYECTO SALAS, spotlighting state and corporate collections. Stands at ARCO'04 will feature: the cities of Madrid and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), the Caja Madrid savings bank, the Madrid Region, the Province of Malaga, the regional Government of Cantabria, the Museo Extremeno e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, the Museo de Arte Unión Fenosa, Fundación Telefónica, the Valencia Region, Spain's Ministry of Education and Culture, CAB (Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos), Fundación Museo Jorge Oteiza, Gabinete Literario, and Afinsa.

Moreover, ARCO will feature the presence of the most important international art magazines, as well as special editions, alternative publishers, art bookstores, CD-ROMs, and online webzines.

International Art Experts Forum
Collectors, directors, curators, managers, and curators from the world's principal museums and art centres, along with opinion leaders and exhibition programmers, hailing from more than 30 countries, will all participate in the INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART EXPERTS FORUM, a unique event which has become consolidated as one of the major professional art events on a worldwide scale, and as a prestigious venue for debate and reflection on the art object and its distribution.

Forty-four panels make up the programme for this year, which is expanding its scope to cover such interesting new topics as Art Education, the Art Publishing Market, the Critic's Work, Institutions and Museums, and Artists Voices: New Models in Art. Along with these, the forum will feature a new look at such fixed sections as Feminism and Art, Photography-Based Art, and New Technologies, as well as the vision of the New Curator, which will serve as a starting point for theorising contextually on ARCO's curated invitationals, as well as a cycle devoted to New Greek Art.

1st International Visual Studies Conference
The International Contemporary Art Experts Forum will be hosting, for the first time, the International Visual Studies Conference, organised by the Amigos de ARCO in collaboration with Murcia's Centro Párraga. The encounter is being launched with the aim of approaching one of the hottest topics on the international art scene: visual culture, a brand-new discipline in Spain, which is even questioning the foundations of art history itself.

Directed by José Luis Brea (Profesor Aesthetics and Art Theory, art critic, curator, and editor of the magazine arts.zin and webmaster of aleph), the 1st International Visual Studies Conference will feature the participation of the most prestigious specialists and theoreticians in visual culture today, including Hal Foster (Professor of Art, Princeton University, and editor of the magazine October), Norman Bryson (Professor of Art History, University of California), Nicholas Mirzoeff, (Professor of Art History at SUNY Stony Brook and the author of An Introduction to Visual Culture), W.J.T. Mitchell, (Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago and editor de Critical Inquiry), Susan Buck-Morss (Director of Cornell University's Department of Audiovisual Studies), and Keith Moxey (a Columbia University Professor of Art History and editor of Visual Studies).

Image: Luisa Rabbia Blue Thought 2002, CIOCCA ARTE CONTEMPORANEA

Marietta Vázquez
IFEMA - Feria de Madrid
International Press
Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I - 28042 - MADRID
TF. 00 34 91 722 51 74
FAX.00 34 91 722 57 93

Official Opening: (by invitation) Wednesday, February 11, 7 p.m.

Professional Visit: (by invitation) Wednesday February, 11 from 4 p.m. and Thursday February 12, from 11 a.m.

Open to the General Public: Thursday February 12, from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday 13, Saturday 154, Sunday 15, and Monday 16 February from 12 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Venue: Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I. MADRID
Halls: 7 and 9
Fax: (34) 91 722 57 98 / 58 00

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