The 15th Edition of LOOP Barcelona Consolidates as the Engine of International Video Art and Artist Film
Over a 10-day period, LOOP conducted a review of the moving image past and present, with over 200 artists, 350 works, 40 curators and 70 spaces anchored in the city.
The success of the professional LOOP Fair section heralds an upward trend in the sector.
This edition has seen LOOP decisively committed to patrimonialising works through several projects.
Barcelona, 30 May 2017. This 15th edition of the international moving image LOOP Festival featured a retrospective analysis of the beginnings of video art designed to recover and restore historic works and pay tribute to the pioneers of video art who were crucial to the development of the art praxis. Counselled by Eugeni Bonet and Antoni Mercader, both prominent scholars of the history of audiovisual art and new media in Spain and with the collaboration of over 40 local and international curators, LOOP deployed a vast programme across 70 city venues, notably museums, art foundations, art galleries, cinemas and such unconventional spaces as the Avinguda de la Llum Cinema and the Ortigosa parking garage.
For ten days the festival regaled the city of Barcelona with videographic offerings in different formats (from screenings to multi-channel and multi-monitor installations), showcasing the work of over 200 local and international artists. The programme was drawn up with the aim of preserving and displaying the cultural heritage associated with video creations, as well as to reflect LOOP’s commitment to divulging and supporting contemporary production.
Intent on bridging past and present and reflecting on the historical, conceptual and technological evolution of the medium, the selection focused on reviewing the work of such paradigmatic artists as Steina and Woody Vasulka, Chip Lord, Antoni Muntadas, Beryl Korot, Mary Lucier, Martha Rosler, Andy Warhol, Antoni Miralda and Paul McCarthy, among others, as well as on the presentation of more contemporary proposals through the Discover Award and Video Creation Prize, among other aspects.
LOOP Festival Prizewinners
The 3rd edition of the Discover Award drew over 300 entries. These were shortlisted to a selection of 11 videos by contemporary video creators, leading to the choice of the prizewinning work, Volva (2016), by Edouard Decam. Similarly, the 3rd Video Creation Prize, sponsored by Arts Santa Mónica, Xarxa de Centres d’Arts Visuals de Catalunya and LOOP Barcelona was awarded to COS SOCIAL [Llicó d’anatomia] (2017), by Joan Morey.
Committed to Patrimonialising the Moving Image
Alongside the festival programme, this year LOOP Barcelona embarked on a project of heritage research and conservation in the guise of these actions: creation of a website making available to the public 70 historic documents relating to video in Spain (www.loop-barcelona.com/documents); a timeline where all the festival offerings are arranged, the result of a research endeavour by artist Erick Beltrán and curator Diana Padrón; publication of Video Writings by Artists, a compilation of artists’ texts written from 1970 and 1990 (Mousse Publishing, ed. Eugeni Bonet); publication of texts by curators, researchers and critics reflecting on each work in the Fair, including texts published on the loop-barcelona.com website and in the book, Selected 12, and the creation of Videocloop, an online platform and archive for researching and divulging videos and films entered in previous editions.
Beyond the Festival – LOOP Fair, LOOP Talks and LOOP Professional Meetings
The Festival culminated in two days devoted to professional engagements, namely LOOP Fair, LOOP Talks and LOOP Professional Meetings, events now enshrined as an international reference space and driving force behind current video and artist film production which attracts a large number of international artists, galleries and representatives of institutions.
Specifically, LOOP Talks, a programme of talks and conferences, was incorporated into the “contemporary video archaeology” proposed by the Festival, which sets out to promote a contemporary reading of early video creation. Six acclaimed pioneering artists – also selected for the Festival programme – talked to curators from younger generations with the aim of setting up critical, formal connections between past and present. Works by now deceased artists like Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol were also evoked in two presentations attended by directors of international institutions. The sessions chalked up a total of 297 attendees.
Within the framework of this edition, LOOP Fair reviewed pioneering video artworks in order to shed light on current audiovisual production. 45 videos were presented at the Fair,
selected from entries by artists from 28 different nationalities via galleries in 20 countries, revealing the current status of moving image production. 21 new galleries participated in this edition for the first time. The balance was positive, while the standout trend is towards decentralised growth in the sector.
As for sales confirmed at the Fair, and bearing in mind that many institutions approve acquisitions at committee meetings held periodically, some gallerists sold out editions of works they submitted, notably Evangelia Kranioti (Galerie Sator, Paris), Aujke Dekker (Gallery Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam) and Erdal İnci (Art On, Istanbul). Additionally, works by such artists as Marcos Ávila Forero, Elke Andreas Boon, Olivia Mihaltianu, Rafael Rozendaal, Tom Pninil, Erdal İnci, Esther Ferrer, Gian Franco Foschino and Mohau Modisaakeng, among others, were purchased for private or public collections.
Prominent among the more than 800 accredited professionals attending this year’s LOOP Fair were representatives of such institutions as the Centre Pompidou, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, MACBA, Col·lecció Banc de Sabadell, Guggenheim Bilbao, CNAP Paris, Musée d´Art Contemporaine (Lyon), Museo Reina Sofia, Artium, Matadero, Marres House of Contemporary Art, Cisneros Fundation, Festival de Graz, Harun Farocki Institute, Film – Art Basel, Le Fresnoy, Fundação Leal Rios, National Gallery of Iceland, De Appel and FRAC Languedoc Roussillon. LOOP Fair saw also the attendance of new Dutch, Venezuelan and Icelandic collectors, as well as the community and committee members who actively support the event each year.
In an endeavour to broaden areas for debate, this year heralds a consolidated relationship between critical reflection platforms and the visibility of content at LOOP Barcelona. Noteworthy special forums were A*Desk, featuring articles and interviews with the protagonists of LOOP Festival and LOOP Talks; Art-load, who in the course of the year will be releasing interviews with community assets Carles Guerra and Miguel Ríos; a special selection of videos entered at the Fair, curated by the writer and critic Maria Virginia Jaua, and the special programme about LOOP Fair broadcast by the Artel channel in their slot, Arte Video Night.
The professional meetings were attended by 150 participants. Highlights included the II Film Literacy Think Tank on the use of audiovisuals as an educational tool, a meeting on regulating the buying and selling of audiovisual artworks and another on the crisis affecting categories of audiovisual works.
Award-winning Professionals at LOOP Fair
LOOP Fair continues to stimulate collecting, an essential conduit for developing and formalising artistic thought. Once again, this year’s Acquisition Award was sponsored by Catalonia Hoteles for the best film or video submitted at the Fair, with the award-winning work being assigned to the MACBA Foundation. Likewise, the LOOP Fair Award went to the gallery with the most ambitious proposal, the quality of the work submitted also being taken into account. This year’s jury was made up of Ferrán Barenblit, of the MACBA; Kathryn Weir, from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Irene Calderoni, from the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin.
The LOOP Fair also enables collections with a sizeable amount of video art to be augmented. The first such extension was facilitated this year via the Amíster Collection Award.
The LOOP Fair Acquisition Award 2017 for the best work displayed in the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas went to Ecstasy Must Be Forgotten (2017), by the young Greek artist Evangelia Kranioti. The jury stressed the piece’s poetic construction, a reflection on the tension between the recognition or dissolution of identity, set in a dreamlike atmosphere in Rio de Janeiro after Carnival. The work will be displayed in the MACBA.
The LOOP Fair Award 2017 went to the gallery, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu (China), introducing Chen Qiulin and her film, Farewell Poem (2002). The jury highlighted the Chinese gallery’s endeavours outside the big international centres and the presentation at LOOP Fair of Chen Qiulin, an artist crucial to the Asian moving image scene. Qiulin’s work charts the early stages of the destruction of her hometown, Wanzhou. This small town on the banks of the Yangtze river was demolished and partially submerged by the waters of the Three Gorges dam project.
Lastly, this edition saw the debut of the Amíster Collection Award 2017, which went to Me and My Sister (2010), by Elke Andreas Boon, presented by the Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp (Belgium). The work shows two lookalike women facing each other close up, set against a neutral ground. The standout features are the expression and beauty of the faces.
LOOP Barcelona received the support of the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona (Barcelona City Council), the Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals (Department of Culture, Generalitat de Catalunya) and Acción Cultural Española.
LOOP Festival 2017 in figures:
- 225 artists (Fair + Festival). 177 artists involved in the LOOP Festival.
- Screening of over 350 videos.
- 43 curators involved in the Festival programme.
- 68 exhibitions.
- 30 activities.
- 74 spaces.
LOOP Fair in figures:
48 artists of 28 nationalities.
- 3% men (28); 41.6% women (20).
- 56% European artists, with a marked presence of Eastern European countries (Croatia, Romania, Russia) and Turkey.
- Spain represented by 3 female artists – Esther Ferrer, Cristina Lucas and Marina Núñez.
- 75% were artists from the Americas (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the United States and Mexico).
- 75% were artists from Asia (China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand), with 1 artist from Israel and 1 from the Lebanon.
- 25% of the artists were African (1 originally from Tunisia and 2 from South Africa).
45 galleries from 20 countries.
- 11% Spanish.
- 4 galleries from the Americas, 4 from Asia and 1 from Africa.
45 videos and films produced from 1961 to 2017.
- 7 premieres, two of them by the Colombian artist, Marcos Ávila Forero.
- 3 artists participating in the Venice Biennial (Marcos Ávila Forero, Mohau Modisakeng and Sasha Pirogova).
- Duration: nearly 11 hours + an ongoing online project.
The most expensive work, valued at €36,000, is by Chen Qiulin (from the gallery, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu). The lowest priced work, valued at €1,750, is an animation by James Rielly, presented by New Art Projects, London.
- Average price: €9.900 + VAT
- Total editions: 225
- Average edition: 5 copies (58.3% are 5-copy editions)
150 participants at LOOP Professional Meetings.
- 7 conferences
- 15 speakers
- 297 attendees
Over 800 accredited professionals at LOOP Fair 2017.
Materials: Download images here.