Coppel Collection...


03/13/17 - Three Latin American private collections left their birthplace to be exhibited in Madrid. We have already posted  about the  Costantini Collection and the Hochschild Collection. Today we'll review the third one: that of Isabel and Agustín Coppel, from Mexico, which was presented at the Sala de Arte Santander, located at the Fundación Santander, some 30 km from Madrid.
Curators Patrick Charpenel and Magnolia la Garza chose 120 artworks from 58 international contemporary artists, which were divided into 5 curatorial chapters: Pedagogy, Identity, Territory, Economy and Community.
Museum-worthy, the exhibition opens to the visitors with two pieces by Tunga (Antonio José de Barros Carvalho and Mello Mourao), entitled "The Beauty and the Beast" and "Holy Ghost", both belonging to the chapter Identity. Of large dimensions, polished material and rather totemic, both artworks blended with the place in perfect welcome.
Holy Ghost, by Tunga (2007)
Materials: melted steel, iron wired covered in nylon, epoxi resin and zinc-galvanized iron fabric.   
The Beauty and the Beast, by Tunga (2001)
Materials: Bronze, iron, copper spheres on stools with canes.
Tunga welcomed and led the way to the second curatorial chapter, called Education, where American artist Gary Hill surprises us with a video-installation. Hill asked himself how long does it takes to learn a second language or to surf. "Learning Curve" is an approach to the way we obtain new knowledge. The furniture used in the installation refers to those traditionally used for teaching, while the video shows a wave breaking over and over again, since constant practice is key to all learning process.

Learning Curve, by Gary Hill (1993)
Technique: video-installation
Together with "Learning Curve", Argentine artist Santiago Cucullo and Korean artist Do Hu Suh complete the room. The first one proposes a group of ghostly figures, barely visible, against the wall, while the second offers a series of tiny individuals who, with their own hands, hold a see-through plate on which we can walk. With "Otherwise, enter", Cucullo recreates an image of the 1979 movie "The Warriors", about a New York gang. Cucullo was born in Buenos Aires but currently lives in the US. His images, between abstraction and representation, question limits while resembling illegal graffitis. Do Hu Suh's artwork represents the strength of a community in a simple, yet direct way: the tiny men and women bare the weight of the visitors, as they walk over them.
Otherwise, enter, by Santiago Cucullo (2004)
Materials: paper on wall

Floor Module, by Do Hu Suh (1997- 2000)
Materials: 4 glass plaques with PVC figures
The chapter Economy includes the group Superflex, with the artwork "Bankrupt Banks", an interesting piece that looks like a memorial. It's made of 17 rectangular black panels where you can read the names of the banks that went bankrupt in 2008. With the same solemnity used to remember the victims of a tragedy, we perceive here the havocs of the financial crisis. The group Superflex was created in 1993 in Copenhague by Bjornstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen.

Bankrupt BanksAugust 23, de Superflex (2013)
Materials: 4 glass plaques with PVC figures.
Within the same chapter, Abraham Cruzvillegas offers a sculptural collage with different found materials, which ironically represents Poverty and Global Economy. 
Self-portrait giving a generous tip Forgetting about the oil crisis, de Abraham Cruzvillegas (2012)
Materials: acrylic paint on ironing board, copper, bottle drainer, cotton yarn, shopping bag and leather ball.
The curatorial chapter Commuity includes artists Allora & Calzadilla, from a previous Venice Biennial, and Michal Rovner.
Allora & Calzadilla, with an engraving done on linen, show American soldiers celebrating Halloween in their headquarters during the invasions of Irak and Afganistan. We see them wearing iconic superhero costumes, and so we get to think about the boundaries between war and amusement.
Michal Rovner placed 12 Petri dishes on a table, all of them with microorganisms in movement.  However, as we draw nearer, we see that the microorganisms are in fact tiny human figures. This "human colony” represents the big cities in which individuals are shaped according to the laws. The Petri dishes represent how our data is obtained while being observed in society.
Intermission (Halloween Afghanistan 1), by Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla (2011)
Technique: engraving on linen

Data Zone (Culture table N. 1), by Michal Rovner (2003)
Technique: Installation
Finally, the chapter Territory offers an artwork already seen at dOCUMENTA (13): a carpet that reproduces, in monumental proportions, a forest with drug and poisonous plants, plus a video. In the original artwork, the forest was real and it included a sculpture with a beehive, a pile of cement tiles and a white Podenco dog with a pink leg. The artwork in display at dOCUMENTA allowed visitors to witness how an entire ecosystem was able to survive and self sustain with little human intervention. 
Plan for Untilled, by Pierre Huyghe (2012)
Handmade pure wool carpet
A way in Untilled, by Pierre Huyghe (2010 – 2013)
Video - 14 minutes
The Coppel Collection exhibition was an explosion of quality artworks, enhanced by the categorization in chapters. The Sala de Arte Santander proved to be an excellent venue and Paloma Botín was truly generous towards the visitors. 
General View - Fundación Santander

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Liliana Wrobel

Production & Translation

Carla Mitrani