Insert Coin: Spanish Contemporary Art

Karmelo Bermejo, Fernando del Cubo, Josechu Dávila, Hisae Ikenaga, La Más Bella (Pepe Murciego, Diego Ortiz), Mateo Maté, Avelino Sala, Daniel Silvo, Enrique M. Arribas, Carmela Sánchez-Blanco

Oct 11 – Nov 15, 2009

Curated by Enrique M. Arribas Carmela Sánchez-Blanco

Consultant:Pepe Murciego (La Más Bella)
Co-presenter: Consulate General of Spain
Media partnership: C for Culture

As an intercultural exchange between Madrid and Hong Kong, a selection of the most interesting young artists of the Spanish capital scene will be shown at Para Site Arts Space during October. Insert Coin; Spanish contemporary art includes the works of artists of international recognition such as Avelino Sala, Josechu Dávila or Mateo Maté, together with some younger artists whose international careers are starting to be known outside Spain.

The exhibition will give the audience a glimpse of the current state of Madrid’s cutting edge cotemporary art. The works showcased dig into the relations between art and money in contemporary cultural production.

With the urban landscape of the now-in-crisis late capitalism as a backdrop, the artists bring forward their political and social critiques with undefined assertion. Insert Coin; Spanish contemporary art, through the works of nine Spanish artists, proposes contemplation on the actual mechanism of art production and its effects on artistic creation. The title alludes to money and art market— the coin as a trigger to start the mechanism. The intention is not as much to trace a map of the Spanish context as to show a group of creators that form the context.

Karmelo Bermejo (Málaga, Spain, 1979) is the “enfant terrible” of Spanish art. Lives and works between Madrid and Bilbao. Karmelo Bermejo has been awarded with several prizes for the last five years and has participated in collective exhibitions together with names such as Sarah Lucas or Paul McCarthy. Booked. On a working day all the tickets for the 7:00 am coach from Madrid to Bilbao were purchased with public money so that the bus could complete its route empty, 2007 belongs to a series of pieces where public funds are wasted for apparently absurd ends.

Fernando del Cubo (Madrid, Spain, 1967). Cubo has been a familiar figure in the alternative art venues of Spain since 1989. His work deals with social notions of pretentiousness and falseness, researches into the social gauges imposed by culture through the mass media. Misery Flea market, 2007, plays with the concept of artistic identity while mocking around with the city’s improvised illegal markets of cultural piracy. Other Spanish artists’ real works are base for the fake pieces at the supposed sale.

Josechu Dávila (Madrid, Spain, 1966). His work of a defined conceptual character, deals with the concept of negation. Through different techniques of removal, cancellation or redundancy, the works often questions its own physicality and saleability. A project to spread the word of an anonymous woman in..., 2009 presented in this exhibition consists of a long period project that does exactly what its title describes in different places and through different installations. The piece has already been shown, and the message spread in Madrid, New York, Miami and will be in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Berlin and the Venice Biennale.

Hisae Ikenaga (México DF, México, 1977). The Madrid-based artist exhibits her work at Spain, France, México, Japan and U.S.A. She received the Generación 2008 prize, an award of utmost relevance in Spain’s contemporary art’s newcomers. At a distance Nº2, 2009, mimics an actual IKEA’s furniture guide, modified so that by the use of four specific IKEA chairs, one can build (and own) the artist’s piece, the guides are given for free. An example of the piece is presented at the exhibition space to give physicality to the witty commentary.

La Más Bella (Pepe Murciego, Diego Ortiz) (Madrid, Spain, started at 1993). La Más Bella is a project for reflection, action and experimentation in modern art publishing that promotes and carries out artistic projects specifically conceived to be published through alternative channels to the conventional world of publishing. Bolabellamátic, 2008, is a sphere shaped street vending machine (an ordinary object in Madrid) that sells little plastic objects, usually toys, inside plastic capsules. These little objects have been removed and replaced by original pieces created for this show by the artists, and will be sold during the show for the price of the equivalent to one euro.

Mateo Maté (Madrid, Spain, 1964). He is one of the most international and prominent artists in Spain today and whose works are included in some of the most important art collections of the world such as the Reína Sofía Museum of Modern Art (MNCARS).

Avelino Sala (Gijón, Spain, 1972). This multidisciplinary artist is engaged within an autobiographical research, that comments on the contradictions that are inherent to the artist’s role in the contemporary capitalist society. His work is a reflection of art in a double sense. Avelino Sala has exhibit extensively throughout the world and has participated in international events such as the Venice Biennale.

Daniel Silvo (Cádiz, Spain, 1982), Has studied under teachers such as Katherina Sieverding, Maria Vedder and Jannis Kounellis. Has participated in international events like DiVa (NY), Dfoto (San Sebastian, Spain), ARCO (Madrid) and Frieze Art Fair (London). Four ways to bend your money, 2009, plays with the double meaning of “doblar” (Spanish), which means to fold or to double. He makes origami with bank notes, which in turn raises the value of them.

Gallery Talks:
(Sunday) 11 October 2009, 2:30pm
Gallery Talk by Exhibition Curator and Artists at Para Site Art Space
(Saturday) 17 October 2009, 2:30pm
Gallery Talk by Dominique Chiu (Programme Coordinator) at Para Site Art Space

This is an event of October Contemporary09'.