ARCOmadrid 2023

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Between February 22 and 26, art enthusiasts and collectors from around the world came to Madrid for the 42nd edition of ARCOmadrid, the Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair. The event is one of the most prominent contemporary art fairs in Spain and has been showcasing cutting-edge works of art since its opening in 1982.

What is ARCO about? 

Organized by IFEMA (Institución Ferial de Madrid), the event is held annually in February and serves as a for the exhibition of contemporary art from Latin America. With a rich history, ARCOmadrid emerged during a decade in which Spain was in the process of affirming its desire for openness after the end of the Franco regime in 1975. In its first year, 264 artists from 14 countries gathered in Madrid to participate in ARCOmadrid.

This year’s edition, held from February 22 to 26, celebrated the fair’s 42nd anniversary with the Mediterranean as its central theme. The program, titled “The Mediterranean: A Round Sea,” aimed to explore the region’s cultural and artistic identity. Over the course of the fair, more than 1,300 artists and 200 galleries from 30 countries showcased their works at the event. 

ARCOmadrid is a significant event on the global art calendar. Today it has a strong focus on Latin American art and an increasing openness to other regions. Indeed, according to the fair’s official website at least 70% of the exhibiting galleries at ARCOmadrid are now international. This cements the fair’s status as a major platform for galleries and collectors alike.

Who are the people in charge of the event? 

At this year’s edition, Marina Fokidis, a renowned Greek art curator and writer was selected as one of the people in charge of curating the special section, “The Mediterranean: a Sea in the background.” Fokidis has over 20 years of experience in the contemporary art world and is a prominent figure in the industry. In fact, she is the founder of South as a State of Mind, a contemporary art and culture magazine that focuses on the Global South. She has also taught at the Athens School of Fine Arts and served as a jury member for various international art awards, solidifying her position as a respected authority in the contemporary art world.

What artwork did attendees come to see? 

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso, Spain’s most internationally recognized artist, ARCOmadrid did not let the occasion go unnoticed. The ADN gallery in Barcelona put on display a hyperrealist piece from 2017, entitled “Picasso de cuerpo presente,” that recreated a life-size body of the Spanish painter. The statue was dressed in a sailor shirt, white pants, and espadrilles. The sculpture by Eugenio Merino consists of the painter’s body and a tombstone that bears an inscription in French carved in Carrara marble: “Ici repose notre bien aimé Pablo Picasso 1881-1973. Regretté de tous.” This piece, valued at 45,000 euros, became one of the main attractions of the fair. 

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‘Aquí murió Picasso’ by Eugenio Merino, February 22, 2023.
Photo by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, retrieved from El País.

Good news for art enthusiasts who may have missed out on ARCOmadrid’s previous editions: the highly anticipated 43rd edition of the event is set to take place in Madrid in February 2024. The event’s organizers have revealed that a new central theme is currently in the works, and are expecting to announce it in the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates on what promises to be an exciting event for the art world.

Cover image by: ARCOmadrid

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