Interview with Laura Arce
Argentine art collector and contemporary art dealer Laura Arce is busy preparing for Beirut Art Fair. She talks to artbahrain about her passion in art and the art market. She is the first Argentine art dealer to tap into the Middle East art market.
Kindly tell us about where you’re from, what drove you to art and how you became an art dealer?
Laura Arce: I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a country where during the last decade has shown a surprising and powerful production of contemporary art. I was always interested in art in all it´s different expressions – painting, sculpture, performance, photography and film. Because through art, we can envision a world beyond the everyday and at the same time it is also the image in the subconscious – a universe of ideas through shapes colors and textures. Art is beyond “the walls” where the artists communicate to others about their history between the real and the imaginary.
I became an art dealer to share Argentinian art to other cultures because I feel that “art” is a “bridge,” a common language to create other idealized world through our imagination and to evolve in multicultural exchange of stories. And we all seek to express almost the same: love – peace – sadness – happiness – unconformity – and the illusion of a better world for all; with no wars, no destruction, respecting individual differences and integrity – expressing the beauty and ugliness of this universe.
What kind of artists do you represent?
LA: I represent established and emerging artists that explore different languages such as painting, sculpture, installations and photography.
We mainly explore cultural barriers and encourage diversity through various art forms. The stains and spills in Juan Astica’s painting series, the artist’s process of applying the paint. Liliana Fleurquin proposes a space as a habitable environment, of someone who measures, locates moves, builds, destroys, enlightens and breathes within the sphere. On the other hand, in the art of Eduardo Hoffman, a variety of topics of Eastern and Western cultures merge in his coherent visual universe. Silvina Resnick uncovers in her drawings everyday moments of intimacy in public places where the figures represented are almost sketches, without any specific of personality and characteristic that draws them close to the observer. Diego El Glaoui explores with his camera the everyday life faced by people in a developing globalized World. Andres Paredes works on a woven surface, such as wood, paper, canvas or metal which interacts between the bodies of the work, the empty space and the shadows generated from this relationship.
Do you feel that it is an essential part of being a dealer in today’s market to join the art fair circuit?
LA: This is the first time an Argentine gallery will exhibit a project in Beirut Art Fair. The proposal includes the paintings of Astica, Fleurquin, Hoffman and Resnick; the drawings of Resnick, photography of El Glaoui as well as new techniques on paper and iron by Paredes. This roaster of Argentinian artists embodies the art scene of Argentina and international contemporary expressions.
My project is a multicultural vision of art although my main focus is to exhibit recognized artists from Argentina. I am also thinking to show Oriental art in Latin America and it is also is important to include a French artist who brings a vision of different cities and cultures from the eye of his camera. This experience can often generate unexpected correspondences. What interests me the most in art fairs is the convergence of disciplines from different cultures gathered together in one space to create an interdisciplinary environment that enriches the world of artists and the spectators.
How long have you been in the business?
LA: I’ve been collecting art from the time I married Count Zichy Thyssen, a family of art collectors.
How important are art fairs for promoting the work of your artists?
LA: I think it is really important to participate in the art fair circuit, to interact with other collectors, exhibitors, galleries and artists from diverse countries; an art meeting between the east and the west where I can promote Argentinian artists and my projects.
What kind of art collectors do you work with?
LA: There are two types of collectors I work with; the ones who see art as an investment and are aware of the repercussions in the international market. And there are the collectors who are more impulsively driven by their passion for art, seeking for a single work of a particular artist and they are aware of the evolution of their artist’s work.
What would you say to a collector new to Latin American art?
LA: Investing in Latin-American art is very positive move because Latin-American art prices are increasing day by day in the international market.
What do you think is the future of Latin American art in the global market in next five years?
LA: The production of Latin-American art in terms of quantity and quality exceeds the channels of divulgation that they have until today and as an emerging market, Latin America is well on its way to becoming an economic force to reckon with.
What are your plans going forward?
LA: To expand the exposure of Latin-American artists in the world and to discover new talents from other cultures.
What’s the best thing about being a dealer?
LA: The best thing of being an art dealer is getting to know more about what is behind a work of art. The artist– his personal life, his motivations, his modus operandi and his passions – things that will motivate a collector to acquire his work.
How do you define your success?
LA: I am a very open person, curious to learn about other cultures. Success for me is meeting people from all over the world, interacting and sharing different expressions through the art.
If you could own any work of art in the world, what would it be?
LA: If I could choose any work of art, it would be definitely be Pablo Picasso‘s “El Guernica.” This piece of art represents the reality of our time – death with no meaning, horror and desperation. The pain of the mother with her dead child in her arms, full of confusion, screams, astonishment, the cruelty of the human being. It is the synthesis of the horror. It is one of the most emblematic pieces of art – of human cruelty. For me “El Guernica” is the most iconic art in the history of humanity.
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