Spain's celebrated international contemporary art fair ARCOmadrid opens this week. Highlights include a series of etchings by Paula Rego at Georg Kargl Fine Arts, which are likely to be swept up in the wake of her acclaimed retrospective at Tate Britain; a subtly powerful work by Francis Alÿs, who will represent Belgium at the 2022 Venice Biennale; as well as stand-out sculptures by Eduardo Chillida and Antony Gormley.
Alongside works by established art-world names, including a new series of paintings by Douglas Gordon at Dvir Gallery and a signature text piece by Rirkrit Tiravanija at Galerie Chantal Crousel, the fair will also showcase rising stars such as Daniel Correa Mejía, whose luminescent paintings are showing with Mor Charpentier.
Francis Alÿs at Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Set to represent Belgium at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Belgium-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs's observational work is the product of research trips made to border regions experiencing socio-political conflict.
Capturing the earthy tones of soldiers' uniforms and the surrounding terrain, Untitled (After the Blast), Nawaran, Iraq (2016) is Alÿs' response to a trip to Iraq while embedded with a group of Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Alÿs has visited Mosul and its surrounding area for the completion of his feature film Sandlines (2020) in collaboration with the Iraq-based Ruya Foundation, most recently presented at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong.
Daniel Correa Mejía at Mor Charpentier
Daniel Correa Mejia is a Berlin-based artist who paints vivid, exuberant bodies set against strange and unfamiliar backgrounds.
Born in Colombia and having moved around the world many times before settling in Berlin, his paintings come from a place of vulnerability and represent the importance of superceding identity in favour of human connection to the surrounding world, and one's own body.
Mejia was included in Mendes Wood DM's recent group exhibition, Male Nudes: A Salon from 1800 to 2021, on view in São Paulo until 12 June 2021.
Paula Rego at Georg Kargl Fine Arts
Achieving legendary status for her figurative and extraordinarily powerful oeuvre, Paula Rego's unique works are among the most expensive of any living female artist. Showing with Georg Kargl Fine Arts for ARCOmadrid are an exquisite selection of small-scale hand-coloured etchings and drawings on paper. In her largest retrospective to date, Rego's lifetime of work is currently exhibiting at London's Tate Britain until 24 October 2021.
In a preview of the exhibition on Ocula, Laurie Barron notes that 'Paula Rego is known for her fearless, excoriating paintings depicting the vulnerabilities of human experience'.
Eduardo Chillida at Cayon
Having studied architecture at the University of Madrid and drawing at Madrid's Círculo de Bellas Artes, Eduardo Chillida went on to become one of the most prominent Spanish sculptors of his generation.
Recalling his upbringing in Northern Spain's Basque region and guided by the principles of architecture, Chillida's small-scale sculptures explore space and organic forms, with the artist having a particular fascination for the concave curve.
Antony Gormley at Thaddaeus Ropac
Thaddeaus Ropac are showing FRAME, a two-metre-tall cast iron work by the established British sculptor Antony Gormley.
A continuation of the simplified forms of his ongoing 'SLABWORKS' series, and based on scans of his own body, Gormley stacks square and rectangular blocks on top of one another to create a unique figurative sculpture.
Gormley's work is heading to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland on 24 July, where his Turner Prize-winning installation Field for the British Isles (1993), made up for 40,000 terracotta figurines, will be on view.
British walking artist Hamish Fulton creates works in a variety of media—including photography, illustration, and collage—to present a visual journal of walks he has embarked on throughout his life.
Alongside his art school contemporaries including Richard Long and Gilbert & George, Fulton's work is in the permanent collection of prominent international collections including Tate Britain, London and MoMA in New York.
Fulton will be included in Map and Territory. Environmental Art from the Panza Collection, a group exhibition opening 9 July 2021 at Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz, looking at connections between the environment and minimal art.
French artist David Douard began his artistic trajectory in the graffiti scene of his hometown of Perpignan, before pursuing fine arts at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, graduating in 2011.
In Frieze, the artist once explained: 'Nobody expresses anything in the street now. Everything happens on the internet. That's the place you have to understand.'
Leaning into this shift, his assemblages straddle the digital and physical worlds, fusing found materials from the street with text by anonymous writers online.
The artist's current solo exhibition at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris, 0'Lulaby, is on view until 24 July 2021.
Avoiding categorisation, Jean-Luc Moulène works across sculpture, photography, painting, film, and installation, using materials that range from organic to industrial objects.
His practice examines the role of artist as author, seeing himself as a poet and a 'technician' in his manifestation of 'the process of perception as an aesthetic'.
Trifide 2 (Boroméan) (2018) is characteristically ambiguous, resembling both a flower and otherworldly object, curling outwards as if in metamorphosis.
Douglas Gordon at Dvir Gallery
Memory and the passage of time are key explorations for 1996 Turner Prize winner Douglas Gordon, who made his name in video works and film projections.
In particular, his celebrated 1993 film 24 Hour Psycho encompassed a 24-hour, slowed down version of Alfred Hitchcock's film.
Gordon's new series of paintings take imagery from 1960s issues of Playboy magazine, which he transfers using acetone to burnt canvases marked with wax, acrylic painting, and other substances.
Rirkrit Tiravanija's work resides in major museums around the world.
His famous text pieces are among the most collectible of his oeuvre, which also spans installation, video, and performance.
Here, the phrase 'Once Upon A Time' is laid over an image of a 1961 U.S. map that has been woven into an Aubusson rug. Despite often containing political undertones, Tiravanija's deliberately ambiguous slogans encourage the viewer to make their own interpretations.
Stanley Whitney at Galerie Nordenhake
Fascinated by the power of lines, Philadelphia-born, New York-based Stanley Whitney combines Minimalism with the saturation of Colour Field painting to create beautiful grids delineated by bands of colour.
Whitney's large-scale oil on linen painting Stay Song 40 (2019) was a recent auction success, selling for more than double its high estimate at Phillips Contemporary Art Sale in June 2021, for just over $200,000. —[O]
Main image: Paula Rego, On The Hill (1996–1998) (detail). Hand coloured etching and aquatint. 29.5 x 45 cm (plate); 51 x 62.5 cm (paper). Courtesy the artist and Ostrich Arts Limited.