THE ELECTRIC STREETS OF MADRID
ARCO by day, Madrid by night, with Clare Sheppard.
Madrid, an inland empire of electric streets paved with diversion and vibrancy where, as Hemingway remarked, “you don’t go to bed until you’ve killed the night”, and where the following day, in the hue of the city’s post-party drowsiness, Madridleños will persevere to slaughter the day. The Spanish capital has always exuded a doggedness to endure, not just to rue and spite the turbulence which often confronts it, but to actively tackle it. In 1982 when ARCO (The International Fair of Contemporary Art in Madrid) had its maiden year, times were not propitious. Spain was at the latter end of its transition to democracy and with high inflation, and a low growth rate, the country was economically distressed. The idea to administer such an event was met with inevitable scepticism and yet it was a success pulling in 25,000 visitors in its first year.
Now in its 32nd year, ARCOmadrid holds its 2013 exhibition in a climate which has once again turned cold, economically and politically. Despite managing to retain high attendance rates (in 2012 there were reported to have been 150,000 visitors at the event), ARCOmadrid and its participants have not been left unmarred by the recession...