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Encouraging Contemporary Creation: UVNT Art Fair 2023 Grants

March 17, 2023
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Since the beginning of Urvanity 2017 the fair has had the pleasure of counting on the support to culture from various collections and foundations that each year encourage contemporary creation through acquisition and residency awards.

This 7th edition the number of collections and institutions has grown even more, with two new additions: Fundació Bassat, MIA Art Collection and Piramidón Centre, who have expanded their pictorial repertoire with acquisition awards.

These new collections are accompanied by those that one more year promote art and recognize the talent of the participating artists and galleries: MER Collection, Casa de Indias, KELLS Art Collection, Solo Collection and Montresso* Foundation.

This edition the works that have received acquisition awards have been:


MER Collection for “The Stripper” by Shinkichi Hiroshima (Moosey Art).

Casa de Indias for “Light man” by Cesc Abad (The Curators Room), “El camino” by Studio Lenca (Gallery RED), “Díptico de las mujeres ricas de Beverly Hills” by Alfonso del Moral (Arniches26).

KELLS Art Collection for “Pérgola de químicos oxigenada” by Juana González (Trinta Gallery) and “Sin título” by Carlos Pesudo (Herrero de Tejada Gallery).

Solo Collection for “Life forms inhabiting the language game” by Hugo Alonso (Llamazares Gallery).

Fundació Bassat for “Futuro” by Quintín Rivera Toro (Zawahra Alejandro).

MIA Art Collection for “Num #3 – (1:11 – Inner Personalities)” by Ana Sting (platform²).

Piramidón Centre has awarded an acquisition prize to “Toda la puta vida igual” by Fran Baena (Galería Yusto/Giner), to which it adds a residency prize in its spaces.

Montresso* Foundation gives its residency award in Marrakech to Susanna Inglada (Gabinete de Dibujos).

We have talked to some of the foundations and collections to learn more about the keys to the selection of works and how, together with the fair, they have been able to discover the contemporary creation of artists.

Casa de Indias

Lola Martinez and Cesar Jimenez of Casa de Indias are clear about the decisive factor when acquiring “one of the objective criteria is to avoid ephemeral works that may deteriorate over time” adding that “subjectively it is necessary that they fit with the collection”.

The collectors, whose headquarters are located in Puerto de Santa Maria, live with the works in their collection and the artists whose work they acquire are previously studied “We see what he has done, what galleries he works with and where his work is going… we read, watch videos or interviews where we can hear the words from the artist’s own mouth… In the end we are acquiring not only a physical work, but a “little piece” of the author himself,” say Lola and Cesar.

“El Camino” by Salvadoran artist Studio Lenca, represented by Gallery RED, was one of the most acclaimed artists of this edition and “left them speechless”. Lola and Cesar highlight “its colors and naïf composition, in addition to the artistic charge that shows the history of El Salvador in his brushes”.

Lola and Cesar also acquired the work “Light Man” by Barcelona artist Cesc Abad, represented by The Curators Room gallery, whom they had been tracking for some time. The collection was particularly struck by the nod to Phillip Guston.

“The most effective way to nurture and discover these new artists is by going to fairs, galleries and those who can afford it by buying art. Living with works of art guarantees an almost eternal happiness when you enjoy that part of the artist that hangs on your wall”, they conclude.


Mer Collection

Rafael Martín of the MER Collection is also a great connoisseur of the pleasure of living among walls full of contemporary creations. His parents, Elena and Marcos, started this collection that already has more than 700 works in a house from the 60’s in Segovia. The MER Collection’s acquisition prize for this edition was awarded to the work “The Stripper” by the Japanese artist Hiroshima Shinkichi, represented by the English gallery Moosey Art, “a mixture of the traditional and antique, compared to the environment in which it is located,” tells Rafael

“We were struck by the suggestive posture of the character; and the vivid colors of the hair, the top, the boots and the scenery. Everything approached with a quick and clean technique, which makes the work very corporeal and fresh” adds Rafael, the collector was able to discover the pictorial work of the artist thanks to the fair. “The work is fresh and current and that the artist has a clear international vocation” says Rafael talking about the artist Hiroshima. He also states that “The work must dialogue with the rest of the MER Collection” he declares.

Another important factor in acquiring this work has been the “youth of the gallery and its international vocation” as Rafael says that “Moosey Art more than fulfills these premises, with an exhibition and residency program, groundbreaking and alternative”. UVNT Art Fair has become for the collector the perfect enclave to expand his repertoire of works, who defines the fair as “fresh and young”.

“UVNT has a young public, and in the projects we develop to make the MER Collection visible, we want to be very aware of this young public, who will be the visitors and potential collectors of tomorrow,” adds Rafael. Whose acquisition award is a way to maintain the contemporary character of the legacy of his parents Elena and Marcos who “remained rabidly young in mind, until just under four years ago” and whose gaze was based on the “here and now”.


Bassat Foundation

One of the foundations that has joined this edition has been Fundació Bassat, whose founders Carmen and Luis Bassat have built over 40 years a fund of nearly 2,500 works of contemporary art. The work that will become part of this extensive collection is “Future” by Quintin Rivera Toro, represented by Zawahra Alejandro gallery, you can see the word FUTURE on a crumpled support, a feature that undoubtedly caught the attention of collectors.

“The first thing that caught my attention, was the concept: the word FUTURE in a crumpled support, which made me think that I wanted to convey a certain current pessimism regarding what is to come” says Luis.

Like the MER Collection, Luis and Carmen were able to discover this artist through the fair. When deciding whether it fits in the collection or not, they are clear about their criteria: “My wife and I have to fall in love with the work. We don’t buy a particular type of art, abstract, realist, surrealist… we buy what touches our hearts,” he declares.

They also point out that this is the first work by a Puerto Rican artist in his collection, a peculiarity that fits perfectly with his philosophy, which Luis concludes “art is international, wherever it is made, and there are artists in the world who deserve to be better known”.


Montresso* Art Foundation

In addition to the acquisition awards, there are also the residency awards, a recognition that encourages artistic creation by offering the artist a space to produce work. Montresso* Art Foundation has once again joined in this year by awarding a residency prize to the Spanish artist Susanna Inglada, represented by Gabinete de Dibujos.

The foundation, located in Morocco, is a hybrid place that promotes the diversity of current artistic research fields. They have discovered Susanna’s work through the fair and her work has fit perfectly with their selection criteria, which are mainly based on the fact that the “project must be in line with the vision of our artistic direction” they tell us.

One of the factors that most caught her attention was the artist’s way of portraying realities “Susanna’s work addresses different themes such as power, authority, corruption, complicity and gender inequality, her work has focused a lot on the archetypal male figure “macho”, related to power and aggressiveness, but also with impotence and vulnerability” they explain.

Montresso* also becomes the ideal place to develop the project “The project must be anchored in the theme of territory, in the sense that it takes into account both the geographical space and the political, economic, social and cultural realities” they conclude.


Piramidón Centre D’Art Contemporani

Located in the St.Martí district of Barcelona, this space dedicated to the production and exhibition of contemporary art has joined collections and foundations with an acquisition and residency award.

In the fall it will host participating artist Fran Baena, represented by Yusto/Giner gallery at the fair and only 23 years old, his work “Toda la puta vida igual” in which he shows an image of internet culture was chosen by Piramidón.

“We found his imaginary and symbolic universe very interesting, reflecting the concerns and the daily life of a very young generation. The appearance of iconic elements of digital culture, his painting linked to the post-internet world, the use of color… everything fit us” say Guillem and Jordi from Piramidón.

“Some friends had told us about him before. However, it was through UVNT that we delved into his work,” they say.


Kells Art Collection

The Kells Collection, established in 1996, is the result of the approach of Juan Manuel Elizalde and Choli Fuentes to the art world. Immersed in a continuous process of growth through the incorporation of new languages, they participate in UVNT Art Fair for the second consecutive year with two acquisition awards.

One of the works acquired is “Pérgola de químicos oxigenada” by Juana González with Galería Trinta, an oil on canvas of large dimensions that shows a woman in front of a landscape with surrealist touches. “We were struck by the power of the work itself, its colors, shapes…” emphasizes Juanma.

As for the second work acquired “Untitled” by the artist Carlos Pesudo with Galería Herrero de Tejada, Juanma says “We liked the gestural evolution that this work has with respect to previous works and that we believe makes it more closed, more complete”.

Both works fit in with the vision of Juanma and Choli’s collection “The pieces have to make an impact on us, they have to make us say ‘wow'” they conclude.