The exhibition

Art at the turn of the century

From June 24 to January 1

Curator: Benjamin Weil (Artistic director of Centro Botín)

Fundación Botín presents a selection of works from its permanent collection on the first floor of Centro Botín. Acquired in the course of the past fifteen years, the works featured provide a perspective on the artists that the foundation chose to support and/or collaborate with during that period.

Indeed, the collection of Fundación Botín is the result of its various commitments to both artists and the community. The now well established Villa Iris Summer Workshop was initiated over two decades ago. Each year, the Artistic Committee of Fundación Botín– presided by Vicente Todoli – invites a renowned artist to direct a workshop. S/he in turn selects a roster of fifteen young artists, who get to benefit from the experience of their elder during ten days, in the settings of a belle-époque villa. The foundation then organises an exhibition with this artist, so as to acquaint Spanish audiences with their work, and acquires one or more pieces for its collection.

In addition to the summer workshop, Fundación Botín has also been running a grant program for young artists with the aim of accompanying them at a turning point in their career. Eight artists are selected each year by a jury of respected art world professionals (artists, curators and critics) and receive financial support to carry out a project – the production of a new work, or professional training. A subsequent exhibition showcases the works produced during the grant period and works are acquired from that exhibition.

On display in this inaugural exhibition are works of art acquired through those two programmes. Additional pieces by former grantees were recently acquired, so as to enhance their presence in the collection, and reflect the way their artistic practice has evolved. They reflect the wide range of artists the foundation has worked with, and attempt to also show the breadth of each of their artistic research: the group of work is varied both in terms of media and conceptual approach. One finds paintings by Juan Uslé and Juliao Sarmento as well as by Juan Navarro Baldeweg; drawings and a film by Tacita Dean; drawings and a sculpture by Mona Hatoum; a sculpture and a series of photographs by Gabriel Orozco; photographic series by Paul Graham and Muntadas; multimedia installation work by Lothar Baumgarten and Carlos Garaicoa. Sculpture is also represented by Miroslav Balka, Jannis Kounellis and Juan Muñoz.

Looking at the list of younger artists in the exhibition – those artists who were grant recipients – it is interesting to note that while many received grants at earlier stages of their career, most have become quite established since then. For instance, Lara Almarcegui, who was a grantee at the turn of the century, represented Spain at the Venice Biennial in 2013. One also notes the presence of Carlos Bunga, Nuria Fuster, Renata Lucas, Sandra Gamarra, Carlos Irijalba, Asier Mendizábal, Wilfredo Prieto, and Fernando Sanchez Castillo, all of whom have gained prominence in the past years.

Over the course of the show, the selection of works will be changing, as part of the exhibition space is occupied by other exhibitions, and new work is acquired.

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