MadridFoto – now in its second year – has moved to a new location in the centre of Madrid, the Palicio de Deportes (sports stadium) on Calle de Goya. This is a good move by all accounts, as last year’s fair was held in a less accessible venue situated closer to the airport. What’s more, the duration of the fair has been extended for an extra day to “better attend both an expert audience and the general public alike”.
Before I take you on a mini tour of the space, as I walked around yesterday – a day given over to press and VIPs, including corporate and institutional collectors – here are a few facts about MadridFoto 2010 from the press release:
58 galleries, representing almost 350 artists
19 galleries from Madrid, 20 from the rest of Spain
22 foreign exhibitors
The only problem with these figures is that the numbers don’t add up to a total of 58 galleries, but to 61. It’s not so important but I have asked about this and will amend these figures if necessary. The mission of the fair is “to popularize contemporary art and foster photography collections”. To this end, two round table discussions will take place “on the current state of photography”. Saturday’s discussion focuses on collecting while Sunday’s event explores “the current state of the medium”.
Other events over the weekend include a series of book signings from Thursday to Sunday. Antoine d’Agata is scheduled to do a book signing on Saturday, however, when I asked someone at the Galeria Rita Castellote about this yesterday, I was told that he won’t be attending but there will be signed copies available.
Now for the tour:
The press conference was difficult for me to follow as there was no English translation and my Spanish is far from fluent. So, I will skip over this part (except to note that there was talk of “the difficult economic times”) and leave it to the photos to tell the story. Oh yes, as I only have internet connections at the hotel, I am not able to post as quickly as I had hoped and have to wait till I am back at the hotel (with quite a tight schedule) before uploading – and I just lost the connection, again…
As the fair was not open officially yesterday, galleryists were still putting the finishing touches to their booths. The layout of the fair is designed by Jacque Arquitectos with a brief “to enhance the sightlines and bolster communication between visitors to the fair and the exhibitors”. The layout thus consists of “a series of plazas” through which visitors stroll. Further, “all the booths are exactly the same size, thus shifting the attention to the works of the artists on view , independent of the gallery’s status or clout”.
The majority of the stands are located within the sports stadium and when I walked in, it took me a moment to orientate myself – the space is not just huge, it’s cavernous. Indeed, it gave me the sensation of being cocooned, or wrapped, in the stadium shell.
As to the photographic work on show, in my next post I offer a series of vignettes drawn from my stroll through the photo fair yesterday and today. But this will have to wait as I need to return to the fair for a silent auction of photos by Alvaro Ybarra Zabal, The Gunmen of the Bolivian Revolution. All proceeds go to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation. Zabal is a photojournalist from Bilbao represented by Getty Images.