Sneak Peek: Swab Barcelona 2021


After the successful virtual edition of 2020, Swab returns to its on-site format to showcase the strength and color of the talent that emerged in the pandemic.

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Duplex, Lisbon. MYFAF 2021
View of the exhibition “Let Us Flop” 2020. 

On October 7, at the Italian Pavilion of Montjuïc, SWAB will welcome 80 local and international galleries, with a novelty: six galleries from Eastern Europe will reflect the latest proposals of the emerging European scene.

SWAB reaffirms its mission of being a platform for young talent, with an edition where strength and creativity will prevail as a result of a “new” world situation, where artistic manifestations are reborn with lively trends of light and color.

After the outstanding success of the virtual edition in 2020, Swab returns to be on-site, supporting responsible production, working with local agents and presenting, through its special programs, debates that focus on our relationship with the environment and sustainable futures.

As every year, the selection of participants will be in charge of the fair’s committee, formed by three curators; Jérôme Pantalacci, Domenico de Chirico and Omar López-Chahoud and three collectors; Giuseppe Casarotto, Jose Luis Lorenzo and Marie Elena Angulo.

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etHALL, Hospitalet de Llobregat. Programa General-Art Barcelona
Intersección Procesos, Diego Paonessa, Violeta Mayoral.

General Program.- the core of Swab’s program will present established galleries from the national and international scene. Swab will once again feature a selection of Art Barcelona galleries in order to strengthen the local fabric and strengthen relations with the city’s art scene.

Swab Emerging.- this subsection presents galleries with less than five years of experience and among those already confirmed are A.MORE Gallery (Milan), Andrea Festa Fine Art (Rome), Groc Projects (Badalona) and Selenas Mountain (New York). In addition, this year for the first time a Latin American Focus will be incorporated, which will bring to Barcelona the freshest of the Latin American scene under the curatorship of artist and co-director of PIEDRAS Gallery (Buenos Aires), Santiago Gasquet. The confirmed exhibitors of this focus are +Arte Galeria (Quito), Constitución (Buenos Aires), Moria Galeria (Buenos Aires), Margen (Santiago de Chile) and Selvanegra Galería (Buenos Aires).

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Selenas Mountain, New York. Swab Emerging 2021
These Opalescent Dreams of Mine: Amy Bravo, Larissa De Jesús Negrón, & Anjuli Rathod, Selenas Mountain, Ridgewood, NY, March-April 2021.Courtesy of Selenas Mountain.

Focus East of Europe: every year, Swab proposes a capsule program focused on a specific geographical area. For this edition, the fair presents emerging spaces from Eastern Europe. The following galleries have been announced: Kupra Gallery (Wroclaw), Ravnikar Gallery Space (Ljubljana), Zina Gallery (Cluj-Napoca) and Photoport (Bratislava).

Swab Seed.- Swab Seed is the fair’s section dedicated to exploring alternative exhibition formats that go beyond the traditional gallery concept. Thus, nomadic spaces, pop ups, artist collectives and self-managed spaces from all over the world will present their latest proposals within the framework of this program. In this line, following the initiative launched last year, Swab is once again joining forces with the Fundació Vila Casas to sponsor the participation of five alternative Catalan spaces.

The exhibitors of Swab Seed 2021 are AA Collections (Vienna), ad/ad (Hannover), New Jörg (Vienna) and VF Projects (Luxembourg). On the other hand, the participants of the program sponsored by Villa Casas Foundation are: Chiquita Room (Barcelona), Espai Colona (Barcelona), Tangent Projects (L’Hospitalet), The Green Parrot (Barcelona) and Fase (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat).

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ad / ad, Hannover. Swab Seed 2021
Installation View, of the Group Show, This Must Be The Place“ at ad/ad, 2017

Swab on Paper.– the On Paper program, curated by Carolina Diez-Cascón, explores the conceptuality and technique of this medium and will focus on photocollage, observing the deformations of photographic reality and the traditional paper-collage through the manipulation of the medium itself in response to a society that reflects on reality and identity. Two of the confirmed exhibitors in this program are Transmitter (New York) and Montoro12 (Brussels/Rome).

Swab Reading.- Swab Reading presents projects at the intersection of art and publishing and its exhibitors display publications that are halfway between the book and the art object.

Video Box.- Video Box strengthens its presence as a video art program at the fair, and will feature a series of audiovisual proposals from Mexico and Cuba in which the human and environmental factor and the new economic and social reality of these countries will make up a unique discourse and identity. This year’s selection will be in charge of the artistic collective Kino Tonalá (Mexico / Madrid).

My First Art Fair.- every year, Swab grants the participation of four international galleries that have never participated in a fair before. MYFAF is a space for the discovery of projects that have just entered the market, and this year’s exhibitors are Duplex (Lisbon), Kino Tonalá (Mexico City), ORR (Brescia) and Yudik One (Brescia).

Transmitter, Nueva York. Swab on Paper.

Swab Ephemeral.- Caterina Almirall returns to curate the fair’s installation program, this time along with Margot Cuevas. This curatorial duo will work Ephemeral showcasing works by artists residing in Barcelona’s Fábricas de creación: Hangar, Fabra i Coats and La Escocesa. This year, in addition, Swab joins forces with Els Amics de la Rambla and places part of the program’s installations on Barcelona’s La Rambla, revitalizing this emblematic area of the city and bringing culture closer to its citizens.

Swab Performance.- the novelty of a decentralized performance program, which brings this artistic discipline to the city’s galleries and is curated by David Armengol. Swab exhibitors belonging to Art Barcelona, in parallel to the proposals presented at the fair, will propose performative actions in their spaces in the city, opening their doors to citizens and generating a flow of visitors that transcends the walls of the pavilion.

A week before the fair, Swab will launch a series of debates, round tables and talks as part of the Swab Thinks series, a program that invites professionals from the art world to talk and reflect on the present and the future of the sector. This year, all dialogues will be held via video call and their recordings will be posted on the fair’s platforms for the benefit of all visitors.

Krupa Gallery, Breslavia. Focus East of Europe
Exhibition view “Reef” by Alicja Wroblewska, courtesy to Alicja Wroblewska and Krupa Gallery 

In addition to Swab’s artistic proposals, the fair will once again set up its resting area, Swab Picnic, headed by Flash Flash, one of the most emblematic and traditional restaurants in the city, a benchmark for Catalan gastronomy. Following the dynamics of previous editions, Swab will be committed to sustainable production, dispensing with plastic packaging and working with recyclable materials.

To warm up the engines, Swab relaunches the initiative launched last year and presents I am art, I am Barcelona, I am Swab, a series of interviews that seeks to generate a dialogue between personalities from different disciplines of the Catalan creative world to highlight the value of the artistic-cultural fabric of the city. In 2020 we had the participation of personalities such as Sergio Caballero (director of Sonar), Aina Clotet (actress), Javier Mariscal (designer), Ferran Adrià (chef) and Benedetta Tagliabue (architect), among others, and this year we hope to add the voice of many new talents.

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ADN Galería, Barcelona
General Program – Art Barcelona

Along with the exhibition proposals of the galleries, Swab offers different activities and satellite programs to the fair, so that the visitor can take away a complete and valuable experience that brings the visitor closer to the debates of the art world at a global level and discovers the freshest and most innovative proposals of the panorama.

In addition, each year Swab offers a program of prizes and acquisitions that support the fair’s exhibiting artists. Edition after edition, Swab expands its partnerships with public and private collections, in order to insert itself into the local collecting system and put creators and art buyers in contact with each other.

Finally, beyond the awards and acquisitions by companies and private collections, Swab carries out a collectors’ program that, through activities parallel to the fair and organized tours, involves the most relevant local and international collectors of the current artistic context.

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