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Brooklyn Street Art

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“MADRID ME MATA”: Another Look at “Urvanity”

Posted on March 6, 2017

“MADRID ME MATA…in a good sense,”

says Fernando Alcalá Losa, the avid Barcelona based photographer of street culture. He doesn’t literally mean that the Spanish capital is deadly, but rather speaks of his devotion to Madrids’ energy, its possibility, its history, its people, and to its art. The torrid affairs of the heart are invariably complicated, as is the evolution of graffiti and Street Art from their outlaw illegal roots to their flirtations and trysts with other forms and venues; murals, in-studio practice, gallery representation, institutional recognition, or commercial viability.

We are pleased that Mr. Alcalá Losa comes to talk to BSA readers today and takes us to Madrid for the new art fair called “Urvanity” to see what he discovers with you, courtesy his words and his lovers’ view behind the camera.

Manolo Mesa at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)


~ Fernando Alcalá Losa

The 1st edition of Urvanity International New Contemporary Art Fair, which took place in the always vibrant Madrid last week, was the perfect excuse for us for going down there, see some old friends, meet a bunch of new ones, work in our ‘diplomatic relationships’ and, yes, try to take a couple of decent pics.

Today I have a few more words about Urvanity, as BSA has already published an article about the event that you can read here.

Isaac Cordal at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

It was a great pleasure for us to have the chance to enjoy the art of some of the top names in the biz represented by galleries like Stolen Space (London), Open Walls (Berlin), Montana and Fousion Gallery (Barcelona) or Pretty Portal (Amsterdam).

A special mention goes to PDP Gallery (Paris) and their young troupe of figurative artists Mohamed Lghacham, Manolo Mesa and Iñigo Sesma. Love their work.

Other artists in attendance were Mist, Miss Van, Aryz, Vermibus and Enric Sant – who gave a fantastic lecture about his career that helped a lot to all of us who have been following the evolution of his work to understand what hides behind his nightmare characters. All of it with a constant smile in his face…

D*Face at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

So, although the final result of the fair seemed to be very positive for everyone, I needed to know a little bit more about the organizers’ impressions of this 1st edition. This is what director Sergio Sancho, through communication manager Monica Iglesias, told me about it:

What were the biggest obstacles that you had to beat in order to make Urvanity happen?

At first, it was very difficult to find the right spaces that we needed. 1st editions are always difficult and the bet that people have to do for a new project is big. Step by step we have been showing that our proposal was serious and solid and the galleries were entering the project slowly. It’s true that we duplicated efforts in order to get customers from September on, because we couldn’t get the space until July.

This fact caused a challenge for some of the galleries who had already confirmed their presence in other fairs. Nevertheless, we are very happy about the representation that we got this year and we hope that the number of galleries grows next year. We will have more time and we also have learnt a lot. 2018 will be the year when this thrilling project that has generated so much interest will consolidate.

Pichi & Avo at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Why there were so many problems getting the walls? Lack of help from local authorities?

Lack of time hasn’t helped with this issue either. The walls pregame was launched once we had confirmed the galleries as we wanted these walls to be painted by artists represented by galleries with presence in the fair and whose artwork was exhibited there. Madrid is a difficult city for getting mural interventions done and it’s worse if they are in the city centre. In the end, we needed to solve some difficulties and changes of locations and we made it happen with a superb level of artists.

Our collaborator Madrid Street Art Project has done a great work here. Let’s say that the authorities have realized the importance of these kinds of projects for the city and for the neighborhoods. We are very happy with the final result.

 

Jordan Seiler at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Enric Sant at Urvanity Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

I notice that the presence of women artists whose work was exhibited in Urvanity (Miss Van, Peca, etc) was very small, in the conferences too and, obviously, among the artists who have painted the walls. Of course, Urvanity can’t decide which artists the galleries decide to present, but have you got any plans about this in next year edition?

It’s true that in addition to the ones you mention, Laurence Vallières y Jessica Hess have been in Urvanity. Nuria Mora closed the conferences in front of a fully crowded audience. But feminine representation is way smaller than masculine one. Personally, I totally support the fact that this will change in next year’s edition and I will try to have more women represented in the fair. We, as Urvanity managers, will try to create some kind of initiative in order to make this happen.

Ben Eine. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Ok. Galleries, museums and canvases are great. But these do not compare to seeing streets and walls and five walls were painted during the week that Urvanity took place, with Ben Eine, Jason Woodside, L’Atlas, Mohamed Lghacham and Manolo Mesa chosen to get the job done.

Different styles and techniques applied for difficult surfaces (those waves in the Woodside Wall…) and they did a hell of a job. We’ll let the shots speak for themselves. Big props go to Guillermo de la Madrid (@guilloso) and special thanks to Pepa Marteles (@pepamarteles) for allowing us to invade her home.

Manolo Mesa. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

As I said before, Madrid has a super active cultural scene. It was impossible for us to see everything that we had planned, but there were a couple of things that were a must. One of these things was ‘Nothing Lost’, Alice Pasquini’s 1st solo show in Spain at that paradise on Earth called Swinton & Grant.

Located in front of Tabacalera walls, this venue is the place that you are desperate to have in your town if you love art, books, coffee and culture in general. Besides, Goyo (@goyovn) & Sergio (@sergiobang), the guys running the project, are beautiful human beings.

Manolo Mesa . Mohamed Lghacham. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Mohamed Lghacham)

I asked Goyo if he could tell me some personal info about why they decided to work with the Italian artist and some tips about how their work relationship was…

First time we spoke to Alice Pasquini to host a solo show by her at Swinton Gallery was in December 2013, even before we opened our space in Madrid. Everyone understood that this is a long awaited dream-come-true for us.

But the dream was even brighter when we started to work with her. Those days deciding which found objects she was going to paint, which projects we were going to show, and, after she came to Madrid, those days preparing the show and painting the wall for our “Mind the wall” project were really amazing.

To work next to Alice was smooth, funny, and most of all a powerful breath of fresh air for us. She made us feel comfortable working next to one of the most significant artists in the scene of the urban arts, and that’s something we will always thank her for.

Mohamed Lghacham. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Mohamed Lghacham)

Pasquini’s exhibited pieces at Swinton are intimate and precious. I love the wide range of materials used as canvases: fabrics, stone, wood, and traffic signs. Her collaboration with photographer Stefano C. Montesi has even produced a 3D installation where you can dive even deeper into Alice artwork. ‘Nothing Lost’ will be at Swinton until March 11th. Don’t forget to pass by if you are around…

In the meanwhile, we managed to enjoy some time with artists, cultural managers, photographers, street art aficionados and neighbors. Roc Blackblock is a veteran multidisciplinary artist from Barcelona who was in Madrid to get some things done. A stencil master, Roc’s artwork is full of social consciousness, working class heroes and politics.

L’Atlas. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Having the chance of documenting his creative process (it wasn’t the 1st time) while listening to him talk about his future projects and ideas was something very close to a master class. He painted two walls during his stay in the capital. The first one was in one of the outside walls of the squat ‘La Quimera’. Title: ‘This is not a crisis, this is capitalism’. The second one was in ‘Esto es una plaza’, a peaceful self-managed urban garden in Lavapies. Title: ‘Milicians’.

This is what Roc has to say about the ‘Milicians’ art piece…

I loved painting in ‘Esto es una plaza’ because of the characteristics of the project. It’s a real example of how neighbors make a public space of their own. They manage it in order to improve their own environment, making decisions horizontally about management, ecology, sustainability, and self management of their own necessities and wishes.

Jason Woodside. Urvanity. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

From the very first time I visited the place, I loved how this space was putting different generations together: children playing with sand, grandpas and grandmas growing vegetables, a poetry lecture over there… It seemed the perfect space to me for painting a piece about the militia during the Spanish Civil War. They not only fought against fascism, but they also headed a true revolution; making factories and fields collective, building a more equal society.

Three days in Madrid. That was it. It’s never enough…

I hope that Urvanity will take place next year. I also hope that I can make it there before it happens.

Alice Pasquini Nothing Lost Swinton & Grant Gallery. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Alice Pasquini Nothing Lost Swinton & Grant Gallery. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Alice Pasquini. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Alice Pasquini. Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Roc Blackblock)

Roc Blackblock No Es Crisis Es Capitalismo Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)