Madrid, 27 June 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The first edition of Summa Art Fair, dedicated to contemporary art and photography, will take place from 19 to 22 September 2013 in Madrid. Art Media Agency met with the President of the Fair Enrique Polanco, in order to know more about this new event.
The first edition of Summa Art Fair will be held in September, what makes the event stand out from others ?
Firstly its atmosphere. Summa is an intimate event which exists outside the mainstream, or more renowned fairs and festivals. We attract an emerging collector who is curious, cosmopolitan, interested in innovation, and who wishes to invest – we want to offer a forum for this type of buyer, so that they don’t disappear from the market.
Secondly, the organisation of the fair differentiates us from other events. The committee responsible for curating the event consists of five international galleries (Baudoin Leon y Mor Charpentier from Paris; Filomena Soares from Lisbon; Oliva Arauna y Espacio Mínimo from Madrid) with very different aesthetics. The event merges their approaches, giving the whole event its own, unique personality.
Finally, the fair offers a varied programme which places a focus on projects whose ambitions are precise and innovative.
What are the guidelines for artists/galleries participating in the fair? What are the selection criteria?
We do not want curiosity cabinets but an artistic space in which every gallery can highlight its artists. The ideal participant would present a solo project, featuring only one artist. The selection of participants was based on presented projects, and favoured those which were focused on contemporary artists and recently produced works.
Could you give us some more information about the ‘Transversal’ and ‘Emerging Transversal’ programmes which are held during the fair?
These projects were created with the help of international curators including Agustín Pérez Rubio, former director of the MUSAC and Alexia Tala, artistic director of the Plataforma Atacama. They both managed to create very different projects with strong individual characters. Tala invited artists whose works are linked with to a specific place, whilst Pérez Rubio, paid tribute to female artists over 65, who had not received renown during their careers, but whom he felt deserved international recognition.
You have decided to exhibit contemporary art alongside photography, and are integrating Madridfoto into the new fair – how do you feel the two disciplines link together?
Both events focus on contemporary art, and have sections devoted to both established and emerging galleries – it seemed natural to join Summa Art with MadridFoto. Over the past five years, MadridFoto has seen artists produce both still and moving works which act as vehicles for artistic expression – with many of these artists having revolutionised the medium. Some of MadridFoto’s most interesting participating artists are to play a part in our fair.
Do you think working in partnership with a pre-existing fair will allow you to attract more members of the public? Do you think that this partnership will allow you to further establish your credibility?
Summa has to be seen as an event that started from scratch. We want to establish our own character and be independent from any other art fair or similar event. Previous editions of Summa were focused exclusively on contemporary art, in the same way that JUSTMAD focused exclusively on emerging artists and MadridFoto focused exclusively on photographers. Summa was about filling the hole between them and becoming a relevant feature in Apertura at the beginning of the Spanish capital’s art season. Summa is a long-term project.
Who is your target customer? What is the price range of works in your participating galleries?
Summa’s ambition is to become a benchmark event in the international art market calendar – not just the Spanish one. We put a lot of effort into making sure this goal is realised. Lots of collectors are attracted to the idea of coming to Madrid in September, especially emerging collectors who are always at risk of disappearing – our event is really tailored to them.
We also began with the intention of changing the relationship between the gallery owner and collector, providing a meeting platform for both of them. We don’t set any guidelines on prices, so it’s possible to find artworks starting from around €2,000.
Some might say it is risky to launch a new fair given the current economic climate. Is there still a solid demand for art in Spain, or do you mainly rely on international customers?
The crisis deeply affected Spain and, consequently, a lot of collectors, but they do still exist. There are still people interested in art who are able to invest. Likewise, we are interested in international collectors, and very much value the attention they give our projects. We very much rely on their participation.
What is the price for a sqm of exhibition space?
Around €140 for one square meter.
Have you received a lot of applications from participants?
Yes, we are very pleased, even surprised, with the number of applications. The selection committee has a lot of work on its hands to select participants! We are a small, but high-quality art fair.
The fair is to coincide with Galleries Week end Apertura. Have you planned to collaborate with either of these events? Or do you hope to benefit from running at the same time as these events? What’s your relationship with Arco Madrid?
Our timing is not a coincidence: both events are very important for the capital’s arts scene. Eventually, we would like to work together so that Madrid becomes a real hub for contemporary art in September. ARCO is aware of our intentions, but Summa has nothing to do with ARCO. It is a small event with a different character: we wish it to be a focal point for contemporary art during Apertura in Madrid, and the timing of the fairs is perfect.
There are quite a few new fairs being created at the moment – the first edition of Est Art Fair, for example, is to be held in Portugal in Spring 2014. Do you think the market is big enough for all of these fairs to exist together?
The contemporary art market is now more international than ever and it is very interesting to organise events, get out there, and to meet curators, artists and galleries. We certainly have seen the number of art fairs multiply, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It merely represents the art world’s ongoing desire to develop and find new ways of selling art. Collectors are travelling too, and understand that a deal at an art fair is different from a deal in a gallery. It is collectors who create a standard. And, in the end, the events that survive will be the most interesting ones.