MEET SWAB BARCELONA 2019'S SELECTION COMMITTEE
WE SPEAK WITH DAVID ARMENGOL
This independent curator combines his curatorial task with other activities such as cultural management and teaching. His projects have been seen in spaces like Caixaforum Barcelona (2008), Matadero Madrid (2010), Fundació Joan Miró de Barcelona (2012-2013), Fabra i Coats Centre d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2014), EAC – Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo de Montevideo, Uruguay (2015) or Bòlit Centre d’Art Contemporani de Girona (2016). Armengol is part of the curatorial team of BcnProducció (2016-2019) and teaches a project development subject at IDEP Barcelona (Escuela de Fotografía, Moda y Diseño). He is currently curating an exhibition about the collection of MACBA (2017-2019) and is co-curating the Urugay Pavilion at the Venice Biennal 2019.
What does young art represent in the international panorama?
I would say that young art is just a label that helps – or limits – when it comes to facing artistic practice, although I understand that “emergent” always exudes an intensity and an energy that affects all areas of art. I believe it reflects an art in process of consolidation, and even though this may seem negative, I think it is a good thing to have at a fair. Regarding the international component, I think emerging art always reflects a good state of health.
What role is art going to play in a world ruled by technology and immediacy?
The future of art is always uncertain, since it is as unnecessary as it is indispensable. However, I believe that, as a reflection of our time, contemporary art will always know how to adapt to technologies and immediacy. Not all art, but surely an important part of it. I would even say that this frantic times do not affect art. They affect us, in general, and art is a part of that.
What part are collectors and curators supposed to play at an art fair?
The role of the curator always implies “taking care” of certain contents at all levels: discursive, relational, scenic… And I believe that at the fair their role remains the same. I would say that the difference sometimes lies on the human dimension. At the fair, sometimes the curator works more with spaces and galleries than he/she does with artists … But, of course, that depends on the specificity of each fair. The curator always has a positive relationship of dependence around a base; and that base is the works and the artists. As for the collectors, I see them as the third key piece in the gearing of a fair: artist, gallery and collector. Maybe the fairs are basically made for them
What sets Swab Barcelona a part from other fairs? What can Swab Barcelona contribute to the art world that other fairs can not?
The difference between Swab and other fairs lies mainly in its scale, and that is not bad thing, on the contrary. It is a small fair, that works in close contact with emerging art, and that connects with the context of Barcelona, where emergent art is in a fairly good situation (awards, calls, institutions sensitive to its practice …). Without a great pretension, Swab can provide a human scale, which always generates more complicities than very large structures.
Why should people attend Swab Barcelona?
For me, the main reason would be to have a good experience of connection with contemporary art. This connection can present different degrees: mere curiosity, professional interest, purchase wishes … and all them are valid and valuable. They all give meaning to the fair and help maintain its ecosystem.