Art galleries? We want to make them a pillar of contemporary culture

Interview with Pablo Flórez, director of the Ehrhardt Flórez Gallery, one of Madrid's leading galleries, on the occasion of the 14th edition of Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend: we got a little bit about the event and the Spanish contemporary scene.

From September 14 to 17, Madrid will host the fourteenth edition of the major annual event “Opening Madrid Gallery Weekend,” sponsored by the Arte Madrid association: more than fifty modern and contemporary art galleries will be open to everyone free of charge with extended hours to showcase Madrid’s art scene internationally. Among the protagonists will be one of the most important and active galleries in the Spanish capital, Ehrhardt Flórez: we interviewed the director Pablo Flórez and got some impressions about the event as well as the Spanish contemporary scene.

Ehrhardt Flórez Gallery
Ehrhardt Flórez Gallery

R. Since 2009 Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend, the big annual event where all the art galleries in Madrid are open to everyone for free, brings together artists, professionals, collectors and the public. Is there a lot of participation from the public? What kind of audience comes?

PF. One of the main goals of Apertura is precisely public participation. As a commercial and cultural event, the public is one of the most important issues we address during Apertura. Apertura tries to invite the public to be part of the contemporary art scene that the galleries bring together not only during the days of Apertura but throughout the year. The public can participate in the event in many ways: visiting exhibitions, joining organized tours through different areas of the Gallery, etc. The Opening public is more diverse and larger year after year. Of course, an important role is played by the art collector, but also by the enthusiast, the student, and the more curious public who come into contact with contemporary art and the gallery sector for the first time through Apertura.

What is the main goal of the event?

We have many goals, but all of them could converge in an attempt to build a stronger, solid and international contemporary art scene and industry. And thus convert galleries in their commercial and cultural dimensions into one of the basic pillars of contemporary culture.

What is the current situation of contemporary art in Spain like?

Spain is experiencing a transcendental moment in relation to contemporary art. It has found an authentic identity and a language that is truly unique and distinctive compared to what has been done in other countries. At the cultural level, contemporary Spanish art has more to say, and at the art market level, young collectors and international collectors are finding Spain and particularly Madrid a place where very interesting things are happening.

Do you think more ancient or contemporary art is being collected in Spain? What is the typical collector like?

In Spain there was a long tradition of collecting ancient or early avant-garde art. Many of these collectors have renewed their collections by paying attention to the most current art movements. Likewise, young collectors are growing with other generations. We would say that the Spanish collector is not very different from the international collector. He is increasingly global, although, as is the case in other parts of the world, he pays a lot of attention to our cultural context, helping and projecting the artistic trends occurring in our country.

What kind of art is most purchased? Painting, sculpture, photography...

Mainly painting.

What are your expectations for this year’s edition?

Openness has grown exponentially in recent years, and this year our expectations are more ambitious. The situation experienced by a city like Madrid, an international beacon for many industries and visitors, means that Apertura gains international positioning. Gallery programs are more ambitious every year, and this year a magnificent group of artists and exhibitions are coming together to enjoy the city as never before. Inauguration-related events are also of extraordinary quality and a great excuse to attend Apertura.

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