Tag Archives: Barcelona Art

ReFramed_ 3 days at Barcelona’s SWAB Art Fair

14 May



While Madrid gets its share of celebrity dripped, red carpet sightings at ARCO and Miami’s Art Basel has become a three-ring circus of sex, drugs and masterpieces, Swab  has become the cool, understated cousin with sun-kissed skin carefully vying for its undisputed place on the Mediterranean art circuit. Now in its fifth year, Swab returns to the Fira de Barcelona bigger and stronger with a brand new program and a focus on emerging artists. The formula is simple: use Barcelona as a backdrop, mix together the art world’s most impressive young artists and shake up with a fair share of music, street art, curators, fashionistas and bloggers.

This year Swab offers a more creative take on what an art show is supposed to be by presenting Swab Urban, Swab Off and Swab Music. These satellite shows hope to attract a younger crowd and a different type of visitor looking to enjoy art rather than to be intimidated by it. Swab also hopes to appeal to the more experimental collectors looking for a break from the severity of some of the other contemporary art shows worldwide.

Yet this same commitment to keep Swab relevant and embrace Barcelona’s contemporary art scene has also managed to paint the festival into a corner. How do you define a city’s art scene when the urban tribes which roam our streets – who often become the trappings of our own SoHo by the sea – are so diversely drawn? In a city where locals burn through trends so quickly, is it really possible to define which galleries have their pulse on the contemporary art scene? Over the last few years we have seen a creative tug of war between the clinical spaces with pristine white walls of the galleries north of Diagonal or on Consell de Cent and the ever-evolving roster of artists of the painfully hip galleries of the Born and the ethnic street scene of the Raval.


Despite rumors of high-end galleries placing pressure on Swab to focus solely on promoting “official” galleries, Swab has managed to appeal to both high and lowbrow collectors by offering a wide selection of activities allowing a cross-pollination of styles. This includes Swab Urban, devoted to Barcelona’s urban art scene, and Swab Music, an initiative organized in collaboration with Razzmatazz that will serve as a sort of indie soundtrack for festival. Confirmed artists so far include Arponera, Boreals, Doble Pletina, Hidrogenesse, Lasers, Internet 2, Sölna, That Girl With Dark Eyes. A new section this year, Swab Off will see a program of activities organized with collaborators around the city which aims to increase the visibility of contemporary art and bring it closer to the general public.

This year the festival will also present a panel series aptly called Talking Artists, an open table discussion of some of the most relevant and challenging issues facing today’s contemporary art scene, both locally and globally. The series, presenting ten artists selected by curators specializing in emerging art, will allow artists to explain their work, connect with a wider audience and focus on how to make Barcelona the place to turn to when looking for the next big thing.

This edition also marks the return of My First Art Fair, an area of the show embodying the spirit of Swab which invites a handpicked selection of galleries committed to showcasing the newest, most original artists putting brush to canvas. Here you will definitely not find gallery representatives dressed only in black with tiny eyeglasses and no smiles. Participating in MYFAF this year will be Barcelona’s new kid on the block MUTT, the city’s most artistic showspace and bookstore, showcasing a capsule collection of ten of their most interesting artists. MUTT’s curator Juanjo Fernández tells us, “I think Swab is an amazing platform for emerging artists as well as a fantastic concept which represents Barcelona,” but point outs that “it is important that the festival keeps growing and maintains its youthful appeal and nonconformist attitude; the great thing about Barcelona is its passion for design, music and art and these are the things which set this festival apart from the others.”

Echoing the importance of the festival’s evolution, Swab co-founder and director Joaquín Diez-Gascón is proud to inform us that this year Swab expects “over 20 thousand visitors and a selection of 65 galleries from more than twenty countries.” Not bad for a festival which started out five years ago with six thousand attendees and not so much of a second glance by the press.

This year will see Swab slowly coming into its own. According to Diez-Gascón, “This is a festival which has caught the art world by surprise. Swab has managed to distance itself from the parameters of what an art show should be.” When asked to comment on current trends in the art world, Diez-Gascón’s answer is quite simple: “Youth – right now it is all about young artists. Most of the artists at the festival were all born after 1980.”

While the rest of the world focuses on the established, it is great to see a festival reaching out to a generation which has come of age with the Internet and should have plenty to say in a post-digital age.

Inaugural concert: €8 (advance) / €10 (door), 1-day: €10 (advance) / €20 (door), 2-day: €15 (advance only), 3-day: €25 (advance only)



La Fira de Barcelona– s/n Av Reina Maria Cristina , Barcelona

Phone 93 233 21 98


Originally Published in : MINIGUIDE (MAY) by David Naveira

Portfolio_ Christian Tartarini – Minimalist Art With Soul

17 Oct

 In a city where everyone is either an Artist, a DJ, a Social Media Director or all of the above. It is not enough to have talent, one must have  something special  in order to stand out from the crowd. Christian’s solution: TEXTURE-and lots of it…. it takes a closer look in order to appreciate his work and see an artist who is creating art in the 21 st century.

Christian Tartarini, is quickly become a favorite among  art critics, Interior designers and private collectors in Barcelona. His understated work done in a monochromatic color palate have raised eyebrows across the city. The subtle beauty of his technique and his strict attention to detail  have made his pieces a  must have in Barcelona’s ever evolving art scene.

The Belgium born artist originally set out to become an architect  however, along the way he found himself gravitating toward a more ethereal medium; allowing him to express himself through his textured pieces and signature brush strokes.

Not only is his work  hanging in the dining rooms of Barcelona’s most elegant homes, Christian, was also recently commissioned by  Barcelona legendary retail king LA COMERCIAL  to create a site specific piece in their latest showroom in the Borne.

Bringing together  an urban color tone to the canvas, his work transmits a sophisticated edge reflecting a city constantly in change.  His latest work can currently be seen in the cutting edge  design studio/showroom of AMATO SOLE in the Raval.

For more information on Christian Tartarini’s work please visit his website at



*Images By : David Naveira

Angels & Insects by Dani Torrent

13 Apr


 Tuesday april 13th at 20.00h at  Galeria Tuset, delve further into the wonderful world of Dani Torrent, as the Catalan illustrator presents his latest series  Angels & Insects. 

 A body of work that dives deep into the psyche exposing the duality of  fables and fairy tales, these are the messages that have inspired Dani to create a world where it is always twilight. The meeting of day and night, where power lines, androgynous characters and nocturnal insects share the same space and become intertwined with themes  dealing with the individual’s relationship to the subconscious.

Painted in a  highly stylized hyper-dream like environment Dani leaps into the unknown and blurs the lines between what is attractive and repulsive.

If the butterflies are messengers of love & kitsch, the moths represent familiarity with the dark, and by extension, of the secrets of death.  These are the themes that Mr. Torrent explores while giving the viewer a glimpse into the world that with a flick of a paintbrush can load a canvas with a plague of symbolism.

His paintings, which are framed in gold gilded frames, which Dani handpicked from the old antique shops of the gothic quarter to the vintage shops of the Raval, are a perfect foil for his haunting subjects.

 Children so self-absorbed with their newly found companions, the subjects, seem almost surprised to find themselves being spied on as they retreat  into their secret world of dreams and imaginary friends.

 To find out more about Dani’s award winning works and see a broad collection of his work check out his BLOG

Àngels & Insectes,
pintura de Dani Torrent>Tuesday April 13th 2010                      Galeria Tuset – C/ Muntaner 187 bis de Barcelona

The Art Of {THS}_Sex, Canvas and Rock & Roll:

24 Nov


Nov 24, 2009 – Dec 18, 2009 

  “To Study Design Is To Be Brainwashed”    -{THS}

The pursuit of truth, absurdity of morality and irony of inhibition is the content of   {THS} ‘s new show titled:  ‘FOR ALL IS VANITY’  which follows his ‘Trash urban warfare porn dirrty pop’ style. His new canvases are the continuation of his ‘Gluebooks’, a selection of sketchbooks containing collage and filled with handwriting, rawness, dirt & pornographic images. His new work feels like a gigantic resized version of his Gluebooks from paper to canvas. An enlargement both in size and insanity.

Thomas Schostok aka {ths} was born in 1972 and started his career as a salesman for bathroom tiles. In 1999 he founded and represented himself as ‘{ths}’, working in his own studio as a designer/artist for international and national clients. He never studies design because he always thought, to study design is to be brainwashed. {ths} released three monographs/books: ‘Hard Blow’ (Rojo Editions, 2008), a book about the pornographic artwork in his so called ‘Gluebooks’ (Sketchbooks); ‘Mr. Trash’ (self published), volume one of his art and design works during the last 10 years of his career.

{ths} had exhibitions in the USA, UK, Spain, Italy, Australia, Germany and Taiwan. His love for typography can always admired in his art and design work. In 2002 he founded ‘The Cape Arcona Type Foundry’, a type foundry that produces and distributes digital typefaces. {ths} is without anger or hate, because it’s fondness for Elvis Presley and Barry White records, that continuous playing during working, make him nice and merry. – Hail to the King, Baby.

[Special Thanks to Aprile @ Notpaper]

®artspace Barcelona
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online: www.rojo-barcelona.com