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[NEWS] Aesthetica Magazine Interview | FIABCN Art Fair Director

Fira Internacional d'Art de Barcelona (FIABCN, Barcelona International Art Fair), due to take place this spring, has announced new dates and big plans for 2021 – bringing together artists from around the world for an unmatched celebration of talent, creativity and innovation. Founder and Director Natal Vallvé speaks about being inspired by Antoni Gaudi, and what the fair has to offer for its next edition.

A: What is the origin of the art fair? How did it start? NV: Born in Barcelona, I have always been fascinated by Antoni Gaudi's architecture, especially the Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia. In 2010, I had the vision of holding the first-ever art fair in a UNESCO Heritage Site: the architectural jewel of Antoni Gaudi, the Casa Batlló. The idea was to showcase contemporary art placed in a masterpiece; to join contemporary art with a creative atmosphere. The experience of viewing and enjoying the best international talents within a masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi makes the experience extraordinary, memorable, unique and engaging.

In December 2011, I held the first Barcelona international art fair at the Casa Batlló, branded Barcelona Showcase. More than 120 exhibitors from more than 40 countries and 14,500 visitors made the art fair a success. After two successful editions (2011 and 2012) I decided to export the same concept around the world, so I co-founded The Global Art Agency Limited in 2012. We organised the same idea across the globe: Amsterdam, Vienna, Oxford, Miami, Shanghai, Rotterdam, Tokyo and Dubai. Later, I founded ICM Group Ltd, a composition of numerous companies, foundations and enterprises which are fully engaged in working for international culture. ICM Group will organise FIABCN 2021 and I am very happy to be directing my sixth edition of the art fair.

A: What’s new for FIABCN 2021? NV: The most important part of organising an art fair is the curatorial process. The Curator Committee are members of a globally significant art community, and they set the high standard of the fair – ensuring that visitors can learn and buy from our artists with the confidence that they are investing in the best of emerging and established talent.

This year, we also introduce the Premi Internacional d’Art de Barcelona, the Barcelona International Art Awards. The awards ceremony will be held at the historical hall Atlants in the Reial Cercle Artistic de Barcelona, recognising the most talented artists in painting, sculpture and photography. After the event, a network art gathering will be held in the same hall.

As part of the program, we will hold curated actions by local artists such as Manu Algueró, Conse, August Vilella, CONSE, Eduard Llobet and Luna Lliro.

A: How many artists are exhibiting, and what types of media are they working with? NV: A selection of 120 artists from 37 different countries will be exhibiting at FIABCN. They will display a selection of artworks in different media such as painting, illustration, mixed media, photography, sculpture, digital art and installations.

A: Can you give some examples of featured practitioners? NV: Jian Kwon is an established artist from South Korea who creates her paintings through performance. As she is a well-known K-Pop singer (Solbi), she fuses the music, choreography, colours and painting together. The music paints the canvas through her body, which is her tool instead of a brush. The result is an abstract artwork – perfectly balanced with a beautiful colour combination and texture.

August Vilella is an award-winning artist from Barcelona whose artworks are now in many art collections around the world, especially in Asia. He creates oil paintings by means of a surreal-intuitive method. The results of this practice are figurative – evoking a dreamlike aura and a magic, metaphoric and even philosophical language, which invites the observing visitor to reflect.

Finally, Danic Lago is an artist based in London, UK. Her work is particularly focused on portraits, approached through different collage techniques and expressing a range of emotions. Each image tends to generate different audience reactions and feelings, depending on their background and life experiences.

A: How does the presentation respond to the key themes of our times – including technological innovation and cultural diversity?

NV: One of the aims of the art fair is to offer the visitor a resume of all that is going on in contemporary art around the world. The art fair presents a wide range of styles from many different countries and cultures – putting across a variety of expressions, messages, themes and techniques. Each year, we exhibit more and more artists using new media innovations to create their artworks. Technology is opening a new language of expression and communication.

A: What are your highlights from this year’s programme? NV: FIABCN presents a dynamic programme that celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of Barcelona’s contemporary art scene. One of the highlights of this year’s program is the Curated City Project, a 12-meter long painting art installation curated and created in Barcelona. We will also hold live performances, such as the live painting performance by the established street artist Cosme.

19-20 February 2021. Find out more here.


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