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Vuelta // Arte

In June, we organized the project Vuelta//Arte on the occasion of the Spanish cycling race La Vuelta which starts in the Netherlands this summer. Our program took place in the three cities that are the main host of La Vuelta: Utrecht, Breda, and Den Bosch. The program consisted of lectures in which the exchange of ideas between contemporary Dutch and Spanish art and culture was key. Artists and curators from the Dutch and Spanish art world reflected on their artistic practice and their experiences of the migrant-artist. In addition to these lectures, we hosted a full-day program in which we visited local exhibitions, artists and their studio’s, enabling exchange between all parties while getting to know these cities a little better, cycling through them, and learning about their history.

In 2020, at the invitation of Stedelijk Museum Breda and Witte Rook, the Spanish artists Carme Nogueira and Elena Prado investigated the memories of the Spanish community in Breda, workers who left the Spain of dictator Franco in the 1960s to work in the Netherlands. During their residency, Nogueira and Prado collected images, objects and personal stories to visualize this forgotten history, which were brought together in the publication Letters from Spain. This resulted in three presentations in 2021 and 2022: in Breda (Stedelijk Museum Breda) concerning the role of the archive for the city; in Rotterdam (Kunstinstituut Melly) focussing on the role of the artist as an activist and in Utrecht (Insituto Cervantes) on the impact of migration on culture and identity.

As a follow-up, Stedelijk Museum Breda and Witte Rook are collaborating again through a residency project with Spanish-Dutch artist Sarah Rose Guitian Nederlof, continuing with the theme of migrant-artist. She will work at Witte Rook for two months, starting this July. And in addition to this residency, the project Vuelta//Arte was born. Various Spanish artists live and work in the Netherlands, and they too have to deal with the (unwritten) rules of our culture and society. At the same time, they bring with them new insights and habits, which inevitably also affect their work as an artist. During the lecture series we organized for Vuelta//Arte, the theme of the migrant-artist was further explored in more detail through discussing personal experiences by the lecturers, as well as through addressing the consequences of colonization and power relations in this light.


Utrecht [June 17th]
In Utrecht, we started the day with a reception in the Domtoren organized by Utrecht Marketing. After climbing the tower, we visited the exhibition ‘De Belofte’ at Kunstliefde. Following, we visited several artist studio’s and presentations in De Nijverheid. After dinner, we continued to Instituto Cervantes for lectures by Elena Prado and Vanesa Abajo Pérez.

Elena Prado
Elena Prado studied Fine Arts at the University of Salamanca, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Elena Prado has lived in the Netherlands since 2003. In her work Prado focuses on investigating changes in our social thinking within the multicultural society. Image analysis and photography play an important role in this.

Vanesa Abajo Pérez
Vanesa Abajo Pérez is a Spanish documentary maker living and working in the Netherlands. She has won several international awards for her work in which migration is an important theme. In the work ‘Life is Dream’ she dissects her parents’ immigrant dream and how she became entangled in it as a child. This film can be seen via NPO start in the context of

Breda [June 18th]
We started our day in Breda with reception and lunch at Witte Rook. After that we cycled to Stadspark Valkenberg for a short historical tour, whilst discussing the Prado exhibition and the to be installed artwork by Jennifer Tee. This brought us to Stedelijk Museum Breda, for lectures by Sarah Rose Guitian Nederlof and Agustin Pérez Rubio. Sarah also received the first Stipendium 01 from the KLEIO Foundation. Following these inspiring talks, we cycled some more to visit artist studio’s and ended the day enjoying some homemade food – even cocktails were served at ‘De School’.

Sarah Rose Guitian Nederlof
In the work of the Spanish-Dutch artist Sarah Rose Guitian Nederlof she explores the differences and similarities between her two cultural backgrounds. By observing people’s behavior and the often overlooked traces they leave in public space; she practices this as a form of self-reflection that is expressed in various media such as photography, video, sound, text, sculpture and performance.

Agustin Pérez Rubio
As historian, researcher and curator, Agustin Pérez Rubio gave a talk in which he focused on two important projects that took place under his curatorship which mirror, reflect and complement each other in their relationship to the colonial context. Pérez Rubio showed how, along with the rise of scientific positivism and modernity, neocolonial discourse was perpetuated in relation to economics, culture and art.

Den Bosch [June 19th]
During the final day of our program we visited Den Bosch. The day started with lectures at Het Noordbrabants Museum by Susanna Inglada and Fernando Sánchez Castillo. Before lunch at the Werkwarenhuis, we had a brief stop at Fernando’s artwork ‘Anamnesis’ which is found in public space. And after lunch, city guide Anneke Mulder shared some interesting historic details with us about the relation between Den Bosch and Spain. Following, we visited several artist studio’s again at Studio Boot and Willem Twee Kunstruimte, and saw the exhibition ‘Beyond Printed Matter’. We toasted to a great weekend.

Susanna Inglada
Susanna Inglada is an example of a politically engaged artist whose work is formally refined, rich in connections to art history. From masters like Goya, among the contemporaries Leon Golub, she has learned not to turn her eye away from violence and abuse of power; and from William Kentridge and Paula Rego she was taught about the inherent complexity and ambiguity of human nature. Susanna Inglada is a Spanish artist living and working in the Netherlands.

Fernando Sánchez Castillo
In his work Fernando Sánchez Castillo analyzes the relationship between art and (political) power. The artist presents us with a different view of, and interaction with, reality in his work. Sánchez Castillo often uses existing ‘traces’ from the past as a starting point for his work and as material for his analysis and transformations. He does so—on the basis of strong social commitment—in a playful and humorous manner. The work of Sánchez Castillo is an attempt to rewrite history to show that this is a story that is constantly being constructed.

To read more about all who contributed to or participated in the three-day program, see the pdf below:

Eef Schoolmeesters

Witte Rook, Stationslaan, Breda, Netherlands

This program was part of the activation program of La Vuelta Holanda and is a collaboration of Witte Rook with Stedelijk Museum Breda, Het Noordbrabants Museum, Willem Twee Kunstruimte and art historian Krista van der Bron, with support from Instituto Cervantes, Kunstliefde and De Nijverheid. This program was made possible by La Vuelta Holanda, KLEIO Foundation, the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Municipality of Breda, the Municipality of Utrecht and Utrecht Citymarketing.

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