The Youth Institute (Injuve) is one of the bodies which earnestly tries to disseminate and promote the work of young artists, with the aim of facilitating their professional incorporation into the Spanish artistic scene. In Spain there is a large number of young artists doing things, and an enormous amount of interesting proposals, but support for this newly emerging art by public institutions is still weak.

This is the twelfth time this event has been held, and almost two hundred young artists entered, out of whom twelve have been selected. It has been impossible to divide the show into specific forms such as painting, sculpture, photography… The mixture of mediums and concepts is maybe one of the few characteristics which the selected twelve have in common. The selected candidates are: Menchina Ayuso, Sergio Belinchon, Naia del Castillo, Oier Etxebarria, Susana Garcia Romanos, Diana Larrea, Juan Jos* Lesta, Maider Lopez, Moises Manas, Joan Morey, Valerie Prot and Pepo Salazar.

The proposals take in fashion, as in the case of Joan Morey who displays the image and the advertising spot of a new perfume; photography, where Sergio Belinchon’s sequence about the suburbs of urban areas, places with neither history nor memory, attracts attention; advertising, where Menchina Ayuso recreates a fake television programme set to criticise advertising forms and Pepo Salazar builds a set, where pop culture and advertising objects and images circulate. You can also see installations – reflections, paintings artistic works for the net…

This year the show also has an added attraction, in that it will go to Latin America, where it will travel to different locations.

Juan Guardiola, who together with Rosa Pera, is one of the commissioners of this, the twelfth show, has made a few comments about it.

What are the advantages for a young artist to be selected in this show?

On the one hand, there is the recognition which comes from being selected, you have to remember that the INJUVE show has been, since its creation, a privileged observatory, where you can catch a glimpse of where the present artist production is going, and in the case of the artists, a valuable stepping stone. On the other hand, it allows the artist to work in a different way, that is to say, once they have been selected, they begin working on their cultural production with other, like-minded people, and a dialogue, and exchange of ideas is started that bears fruit in works produced and financed by INJUVE, apart from the purchase of the individual work. Once the exhibition has been shown, they are offered the opportunity to continue their work through scholarships or residence abroad, by means of agreements with other institutions. In a sense, this show begins where the majority of youth art competitions leave off.

What criteria has been followed when selecting these twelve artists?

There is no one single criteria, you could rather say that we have followed a series of guidelines, which have served us as a guide, when pre-selecting the different dossiers. In one sense the artist’s development and working life have been very important, and special emphasis has been laid on the projects which were sent specifically for the show. We have preferred to tackle the selection process beginning with the finished work, while also opting for an individual, in-depth, speech by the candidate.

Do the artists selected have any characteristics in common?

Yes, the most obvious one is that they all share an interest in working with very diverse mediums, which serve as new ways of understanding social reality and contemporary culture, a far cry from the more traditional formats such as painting or sculpture. So there is an abundance of works undertaken in photography, video or the net, as well as installations which make use of different types of strategy, which range from advertising or club subculture to the manufacture of toys or … bombs.

Almost 200 artists entered, what is your opinion of the standard of the young Spanish people today?

It is difficult to talk about standards. What exactly are we referring to? Or to put it another way, what exactly do we mean by quality? Of course a wide range of artists exist who produce outstanding work, although they are little known, if at all, abroad. But in my opinion, these young artists, full of potential, are going to see their professional future put in danger, as in the recent past, due to the current national outlook. This show is only an aid, not a solution.

Date: From the 6th of September until the 1st of October.
Place: Circulo de Bellas Artes. c/ Marques de Casa Riera, 2.

Text: Terevision Ruiz from Neo2 Magazine

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Ricky Powell