The reality of young creators drawn by the curators of Swatch Cities, Madrid.

December 5, 2018

The festival has been over for several weeks now. But the purpose of this project goes beyond concentrating in one week an innovative program of experiences of connection of new audiences with art. In addition, we seek to generate knowledge, to inspire and guide. That is why we have approached the curators of Swatch Cities, Madrid, moved by an objective: to know their opinion about the reality of young creators. To obtain, first-hand, their vision on some of the great questions that define them as a generation: What challenges do they face? What opportunities do they have access to? How can they grow in the current context? What are their values? What is their role in the artistic environment?

Below we share with you the answers of these renowned professionals, experts in different areas (contemporary art, architecture, music, communication…). Whether you are a young creator or not, their vision will help you to have a more complete vision of contemporary creation and its realities today.

All the curators from Swatch Cities, Madrid agree that this new generation of creators is more prepared than ever, but one of their main challenges is to achieve economic independence in order to be able to live from their ideas. Gregorio Cámara (curator of contemporary art at Swatch Cities, Madrid) explains that today’s fairs have become the true protagonists of the art market: “Spanish galleries invoice 70% of their annual sales at these events. And this dependence necessarily conditions the selection of its artists to the preferences of the selection committee or to the trends of the main markets”.

For him, the adaptation of the galleries to these criteria makes it difficult for young local artists to access the market, because their work does not yet reach sufficient price levels. Antonella Broglia (communication specialist and organizer of TEDxMadrid) points out that now “human and digital networks and collective spaces allow young people to find and associate with equals with whom to share spaces and costs. And moral support as well”. Of course, the digital age brings big changes. In this line, Gregorio points out that “given the ease of reproduction of digital media, the assignment of value that until now had justified the price of works of art as unique objects has been disrupted. A challenge that comes with opportunities because, he adds, “visibility is no longer the heritage of the media or of the various agents in the art industry. Now the talent of each artist can be heard anywhere in the world. Manuel Pascual (architecture curator and member of the Zuloark collective) concludes that this challenge is not a exclusive to young people: “The challenge is also ours: to support them without directing them. Without them having to adapt to what already existed. So that they can help us help them move forward on their own paths. We have to learn from them.

Carlos Galán (music curator and founder of Subterfuge Records) stresses that it is “fundamental to bring creativity to a world that is tending towards globalization. We need this creative contribution to have a latent personality, which escapes the rigors of mimetism, which is expanding more and more every day”. Antonella Broglia and Manuel Pascual hope that the young creators will highlight the new languages, the hybridizations, creating completely new contexts that change the rules of the game: “That they teach us what we call today painting or sculpture”, explains Broglia. As for Gregorio Cámara, he trusts that the young creators will revitalize a model of the art industry that doesn’t work and resists change. And he invites them to investigate “the questioning of the process of assigning value to the work of art, the search for new commercialization platforms, or the use of information technologies to generate new audiences” to define a new sustainable model.

In this project, we have admired the new values of this generation. Ariadna Cantis (architecture and communication curator) is fascinated by “the ability of young people to transform their city through creation and creativity”. All the curators agree that we are dealing with a transversal and multidisciplinary generation, in which it is no longer the discipline that defines the artist’s identity, but rather his or her use of multiple tools and media. Another feature that describes the young creators of Swatch Cities, Madrid as a symbol of their generation, is their associative capacity. Carlos Galán comments that “in the case of music, almost everyone has left the festival with a project of collaboration with artists from other disciplines. I think that the value of making a team, of creating together, of looking for common paths, has been something very remarkable and noteworthy”. Cámara adds in this line that “the desire for continued connection as a source of inspiration and evolution is superlative in this generation and is very present in Madrid’s society. Thus, most of them collaborate or seek to collaborate in shared or collective spaces. During the festival, we discovered a multitude of self-managed spaces developed by artists who respond to this model”.

Swatch Cities, Madrid, has had young people open to artistic practices from very different disciplines. Blurring or questioning the validity of traditional training. Antonella Broglia thinks that the best way to train is to try out techniques and languages as soon as possible: “Tests with cinema, with drawing, with printers, until you realize what interests you. And at the same time you should study philosophy, literature and art history. Thought and production must coexist from a very young age”. The opening is one of the most important characteristics highlighted by the curators. Galán points out that the key is the seeking of personality, which implies assuming influences as teachings, but avoiding them from becoming unique prescribers of creations. Even so, Manuel Pascual asks young artists to “ignore recommendations and pay attention to themselves”. Ariadna Cantis adds: “Don’t believe anything, it’s a long process!

Swatch Cities plans to land in different cities around the world. There is no doubt that we live in a globalized world: that is why its ambition is international. What opportunities does this connection with global reality mean for young creators? “The experience of Madrid has been so brutal that I can only imagine good things in its expansion and extension into other cities. If we add to this the acquired experience that can be applied, the perspective that is presented to the artists seems incredible” Carlos Galán shares with us. Gregorio Cámara agrees that being part of a project with multiple locations is a unique opportunity because of the value of the connections that can be generated. However, Manuel Pascual reminds us that this is also a great opportunity for Swatch, which can “learn from young creators, soak up their languages, their attitudes and their interests, to glimpse what tomorrow’s world is going to be like”.

Once the festival is over, we meditate on its learnings and conclusions throughout the project. Ariadna Cantis describes Swatch Cities as a project with an innovative program in its format and structure, which has managed to interest several generations, bringing together many young people from different disciplines to work together. Gregorio Cámara wants to highlight several lessons and successes: “The dialogue with space and interactivity to attract new audiences; the necessary mapping of Madrid’s creative network; the support for culture by a brand like Swatch; the combination of music and art; and the capacity to generate new thoughts, having provoked reflections on the city, not only in the artists, but also in the public”. The curator Carlos Galán especially values the artistic level and the explosive creativity that is breathed around us. However, on a personal level, he says that what has caught his attention the most is “that predisposition of everyone to interact and, what I think is most important, to learn from each other. I think it’s a generation without complexes or yokes. A truly encouraging future.

For Antonella Broglia and Manuel Pascual, it is the young creators who have to share their experience and conclusions. They have already done so. So if you missed their answers, read them here!