After an extra festive edition celebrating the 35 years of ARCO the 36th edition of the fair was a challenge even before its start. It was difficult to get as many blue chip galleries as last year (they were invited with booths free of charge) but some of them came back, as Lisson Gallery, Jan Mot or Sprüth Magers. So this time the floor was for the “usual suspects” of ARCO and also for the newcomers in the Opening section, curated by Stefanie Hessler and Juan Canela; the focus on Argentina as a guest country, curated by Inés Katzenstein and the new Dialogues section, dedicated to two-artist presentations curated by María de Corral, Lorena Martínez de Corral, and Catalina Lozano.
Among the best booths in the fair, as a general presentation we could highlight the duo presentation of Jan Mot & Sprüth Magers, part of the Dialogues section that were displaying the work of Argentinian artist and Conceptual Art pioneer David Lamelas, that was showing an interview with French writer Marguerite Duras in 16mm film and a series of black and white portraits of the writer, accompanied by texts. Another great presentation was the one by Amsterdam based dealer Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS, presenting a dialogue between a 2013 installation by Falke Pisano, The Body in Crisis, Prison Work, where she explores the privatization of American prisons and the impact this can have in society at large and a double channel video by Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz. Galerie Crèvecœur was presenting another of the most instagramed booths of the fair, with a duo presentation of Ad Minoliti and Shana Moulton, the first one also designing the booth that was working perfectly with the themes and the palette of both artists. To finish we could name the Mallorca based gallery L21, that went for a different style of the classic grey booth with a site-specific work by Álvaro Gil and the rest of the artist dialoguing with the installation.
At the Opening section we could find two Dutch galleries, both from Rotterdam: Joey Ramona and Cinnnamon Gallery, this second one presenting a solo installation of Portuguese artist Priscila Fernandes that was showcasing the work she presented in the last Sao Paulo Biennial. Other highlights from the Opening section are Romanian gallery Sabot, with the hilarious work of artist collective Lucie Fontaine or the Argentinian gallery Slyzmud, displaying the documentation of the work that Mercedes Azpilicueta presented in the last OPEN of the Rijksakademie in 2016.
To close up I would like to mention some individual works, like the fantastic piece that Asier Mendizabal made for the last edition of the Sao Paulo Biennial, presented in Carreras Mugica and Project SD booth; the work of Amsterdam based Spanish artist Carlos Irijalba, that gives a new layer to his Zechstein sea, some new big works by Gwenneth Boelens at Klemm's or the paper mache balls of Cristina Garrido, made comparing the amount of content and advertising found on different art magazines. Last but not least we can name some painters, like Alain Urrutia at Casado Santapau, Antonio Ballester Moreno at Maisterravalbuena or Juan Tessi at Nora Fisch.