Building Cultural Milieu

Swab Barcelona brings together galleries from around the world through curated projects and collection programs to showcase young, emerging talent in contemporary art. The international fair returns for its 10th anniversary edition, welcoming 80 galleries from 5 continents. Founded in 2006, the event sought to combat the perceived “elitist” values of the arts industry, promoting a wider sense of accessibility and diversity in recognition of new voices. Since then, they have continued to strive in promoting opportunities for emerging talent, initiating the process of new collectors reflective of the 21st century landscape.

Separated into a number of strands, this year’s edition includes Ephemeral, Seed, Focus Mediterranean and Swab on Paper. The first offers new perspectives on the very notion of art, using multidisciplinary methods and throught provoking media, including performance, installation and video-game platforms, focusing on time as a material that can be harnessed and expressed. Using audience interaction and participation, the pieces encourage audiences to think about a singular moment within an increasingly capitalist, global and over-accelerated world.

The second aforementioned exhibition, Seed, returns for its third year, featuring six independent, self-managed and experimental spaces, reinventing the contemporary art scene through experimentation, proposing new ideas about the use of gallery spaces. Those included in 2017: Dienstgebäude Art Space, Zurich; Scotty Projekt Space, Berlin; La Trastera, Calafell; and Casa Hoffman, Bogota. Curated by Xavier de Luca, Focus Mediterranean looks at artistic development through geographical location. Offering in-depth research into the North Africa and Middle East region (MENA), the strand attempts to widen audiences’ ideas about new practices, linking with Swab’s overall interest in digging deeper, year after year, into new contexts and artistic disciplines.

Recognising the importance of cultural identity, and the connection of international topographies, Joaquín Díez-Cascón, Founder, comments on the inception of the event: “Swab Barcelona was born out of a need to join two of my passions: my home city of Barcelona and contemporary art. I wanted to create a space where I could share the artistic ideas that fascinated me at the time with Barcelona and its citizens.” The 2017 edition proves that, past its locality, the reach of the event has grown to support a wider cultural milieu of imaginations and connections.

SWAB Barcelona runs 28 September to 1 October. For more information:

1. Dionisio González, Interacciones 20, 2013. Digital print on cotton paper Galería: Richard Gallery, París. Courtesy of SWAB Barcelona.