r e v i e w s

Barcelona Gallery Week-end

by Mya Finbow

From September 14th to September 17th, 2023

Organized from September 14th to 17th, 2023, by the Art Barcelona association, the 9th edition of Barcelona Gallery Week-end brings together 27 galleries of modern and contemporary art in the city center of Barcelona and in the two neighboring municipalities, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and Santa Margarida i els Monjos. In addition to the programming of both established and young Barcelona galleries presenting nearly 70 national and international artists, BGW also hosts several events related to the fair: meetings, discussions, edition launches, guided tours, and walks with curators contributing to a major art event in Barcelona. 

Sandra Montessoro, vue de l’exposition “La herida, la venda, la cura” à Zielinsky
© Photo Eva Carasol. BGW 23

Some highlights of the event.

This year, the Barcelona Gallery Week-end edition showcases an innovative way to approach the event’s programming by inviting seven local curators to imagine itineraries connecting the various exhibitions presented by the galleries.

Gabriel Virgilio Luciani, curator and editor of the digital contemporary art magazine exibart.es, has chosen to bring together the five exhibitions of the district of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat around the phenomenon of apopheny, perception disorder that brings together events that have no link between them. The walk begins at the Alegria gallery where Alberto Peral & Luis Bisbe have produced a collection of sculptures from the extraction of fragments of the place that becomes the raw material of their exhibition «Del que un diu/ el que està així/ només doble» (From what we say/ what is/ only double). In NoguerasBlanchard, the work of the French artist Anne-Lise Coste resonates with the recent demonstrations against police violence in France; the two luminous installations POLICE and no respond each other, one as a warning about the violent actions of the control authorities and the other as a symbol of our right to resist oppression. On the upper floor, the Ana Mas Projects gallery offers a retrospective exhibition that highlights the various researches on space and emptiness developed by the abstract and conceptual painting of the Galician artist Berta Cáccamo, punctuated by works in collaboration with the Barcelona artist Patricia Dauder whose work can be also found in a monographic exhibition at the ProjecteSD gallery. On the top floor, Jaime Hayón, artist and designer, takes over the different rooms of L21 Barcelona by creating an immersive experience marked by his metaphorical paintings and hybrid sculptures. The journey ends at ethall where the installation La caza del zorro by Martín Vitaliti, composed of a video screen divided into 4 parts, takes up a 1930 short film produced by Walt Disney and underline the ambient consumerism of our contemporary societies.

Anne-Lise Coste Police, 2022 © Crédit Gina Folly

In another district of Barcelona, Sabel Gavaldon, curator and head of public programmes at MACBA, begins his visit with the film One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich by director Chris Marker where he distinguishes two opposing ways of looking at the world: that of the great classics of Hollywood cinema and that of the Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky. 

Thus at ProjecteSD with the exhibition «Interiors» we discover how the artist Patricia Dauder strives to look beyond the visible world; she is interested in the different materials she collects from the remains of the destroyed buildings of Barcelona and gives them a new identity. At the Zielinsky Gallery, Sandra Montessoro presents a work that she considers a restorative practice, trying to bring out the vernacular dimension of the latter, stemming from her Mayan descent and culture. The textiles she colours with specific rituals, using pigments such as cochineal or indigo — goods used to make luxury clothing in the West — bear the scars of the disappearance of the indigenous world of South America, they become a reminder of the history of violence against Guatemalan native peoples. Colors that we find but from another angle in the last stage of the journey from Sabel Gavaldon to Marc Doménech where he presents a selection of monochrome paintings. The collective exhibition «Fields of silence» describes a progression of the history of Spanish painting from post-war abstraction to the present day. 

Joan Fontcuberta à àngels barcelona © Photo Eva Carasol. BGW 23

Barcelona Gallery weekend also offers many meetings and discussions with the exhibited artists. Thus Joan Fontcuberta in the gallery àngels barcelona expresses in his exhibition «Dust gardens», the fragility of the photographic process — and by analogy the fragility of the memory — supposed to immortalize a moment, working either with old images exhumed and literally eaten by microorganisms, or with AI-generated images that show a garden devoid of memory, unreal landscapes produced by an algorithm. At the Bombon Projects gallery, Enric Farrés Duran, conceptual artist who constantly seeks to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction, suggests in his exhibition «Encara no» (not yet), various ways of approaching the act of looking in order to rethink the so-called correct way of seeing. The artist Lola Lasurt offers a guided tour of her exhibition «Pictorial Curation I: Esther Guillén, her Contemporaries and the School of Vallecas» at the Joan Prats Gallery where she paints abstraction figuratively; a project led by the artist that stems from a collaborative process, a conversation between her paintings and the ceramics of the sculptor Esther Guillén and to whom Lola Lasurt pays tribute. Finally, Bouchra Khalili, finalist of the 2023 Marcel Duchamp Prize, presents her book «Entre Cercles et Constellations», a catalogue of the exhibition dedicated to her by MACBA last May. Her exhibition «Fanning the spark of hope in the past» at ADN Galeria takes the stories and collective stories she collects to make it a form of civil poetry in order to think a new community advocating resistance, mutual aid, feminism and international solidarity. 

In parallel, since 2017 the association Art Barcelona has affirmed its support for the associated galleries by developing an acquisition program so that foundations and private companies can integrate works presented as part of BGW into their collections; it aims to highlight the work done by gallery owners and to promote the art collection. So in a joyful effervescence, Barcelona Gallery Week-end offer a joyful artistic dynamic throughout the city and makes visible the Spanish and Catalan scene but also the international scene by distinguishing itself from other art fairs by its rich program of activities that comes to create a generous dialogue between artists, collector and public.

Bombon Projects, Enric Farres Duran © Photo Eva Carasol. BGW 23
Galeria Joan Prats, Lola Lasurt © Photo Eva Carasol. BGW 23

Head image : Bouchra Khalili, The Magic Lantern, 2022

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