Swab Barcelona is back after the pandemic, presenting a format that combines the on-site with the virtual.
The Barcelona contemporary art fair will take place from 7 to 10 October 2021, recovering its on-site format in the Italian Pavilion of Montjuïc and presenting online content and digitalised activities in parallel.This new edition pays close attention to Eastern Europe, presenting galleries and artistic proposals that are coming to Barcelona for the first time.The fair’s curated programmes, such as Swab on Paper, Swab Ephemeral and Swab Performance are consolidated. This year, in addition, Video Box welcomes galleries from the Caribbean under the curatorship of Kino (Mexico City/Madrid), presenting audiovisual discourses on sustainability and climate neutrality.The General Program remains the core of the fair, complemented by its sub-section Swab Emerging, which presents galleries with less than five years of experience.This edition incorporates a Latin American Focus, curated by Santiago Gasquet, artist and co-director of the PIEDRAS gallery, which brings to Barcelona the most relevant spaces on the Latin American scene.The satellite sections of the General Program return with renewed strength, supporting disciplines and alternative formats: Swab Seed, Swab Reading and MYFAF.
Swab Barcelona confirms that its next edition will take place from 7 to 10 October in the Italian Pavilion of Montjuïc. Barcelona’s contemporary art fair recovers its on-site format in a clear declaration of intentions: to present the freshest artistic proposals to emerge after the pandemic. The return of the city’s cultural event par excellence will take place in accordance with the pertinent security measures to claim that culture can and must be safe.
This edition aims to recover the human factor of culture, to restore the city’s enthusiasm for art and to regain its status as a meeting point for the sector and for citizens. Swab’s mission is to support Barcelona’s cultural fabric and place its creative circuit at the epicentre of the international scene, all through the exchanges and interrelationships generated at the fair.
The General Program remains the hard core of the fair’s program, and the subsection Swab Emerging takes on special protagonism with the incorporation of a Latin American Focus curated by Santiago Gasquet, artist and co-director of the gallery PIEDRAS (Buenos Aires), importing to Barcelona the most effervescent of the Latin American scene.
In this line, the special program of the edition, always focused on a localised geographical area, sets its focus on Eastern Europe and presents proposals that land in the Catalan capital for the first time.
On the other hand, Swab consolidates its fixed curated programmes, such as Swab Ephemeral, presented in collaboration with Barcelona’s creative factories (Hangar, Fabra i Coats and La Escocesa). Swab Ephemeral presents installation projects by artists residing in the factories, and this year it does so by crossing the walls of the fair and exhibiting work in spaces of La Rambla, a significant approach to the citizens and a revaluation of this area that is so historically and artistically relevant to Barcelona.
The fair also maintains Swab on Paper, curated by Carolina Diez-Cascón, a programme that explores paper as an artistic language, and Video Box, the video art section of Swab, this year curated by Kino (Mexico City/Madrid). The latter will welcome six Caribbean galleries with audiovisual discourses that revolve around sustainability and climate neutrality.
Another interesting point of the edition is Swab Seed, the section dedicated to independent and self-managed spaces. This year, following the initiative launched in Swab 2020, the Vila Casas Foundation is sponsoring the participation of four local projects in this programme, promoting the visibility and internationalisation of the Catalan cultural fabric.
Finally, in parallel to the fair in person, Swab will maintain the digitalisation of content launched in 2020 and propose online activities that make the exhibition accessible internationally, such as specialised talks and video tours of collections from all over the world.
As every year, SWAB Barcelona promotes an international collecting programme that aims to expand the private collections of its participants and to encourage new collectors by introducing them to the knowledge and acquisition of contemporary art works. This year, the programme will take on a hybrid format, promoting on-site visits to private and public exhibitions in the local context and, at the same time, publishing video tours of relevant collections on the international scene.
The aim of SWAB is for the collector to live an intimate and satisfying experience, to grow during the fair and to get to know artists, gallerists and projects that they had not previously contemplated.
Each edition, SWAB Barcelona rewards its participants for their contribution to emerging talent and contemporary art. In 2021 it will continue to award the Fundación Vila Casas photography prize; the MIA prize for the best proposal by a female artist; the Espronceda residency prize; the DKV prize for the best Spanish artist, the MANGO prize for the best emerging artist and the Diezy7 Collection drawing prize, whose winning work is selected by a jury made up of curators and contemporary art critics.
Another classic feature of the fair is its acquisitions programme, which this year is made up of the Cornex Capital Collection, the Civit Collection, the Lluís Coromina Foundation, the Manuel Expósito Collection, the Bassat Foundation and the Sorigué Foundation, which joined the fair last year.
After a 2020 of changes and reinventions, Swab Barcelona is clear that the new edition must focus on sustainable cultural production, which is why Swab Barcelona insists on working with local projects that offer KM0 products. That is why this year, like the two previous editions, Swab Picnic will once again be headed by Flash Flash, a gastronomic institution with a long Catalan tradition.
Swab Barcelona is a fair that, throughout its 13 editions, has always worked on the same philosophy, that of reflecting the new trends in contemporary art and being a platform both for established galleries and for young, independent spaces that are starting out on the fair circuit. We propose, therefore, a fair with an open objective that presents a select and specialised proposal of the latest on the international art scene.
Swab 2021 Selection Committee
Domenico de Chirico
Jose Luis Lorenzo
Marie Elena Ángulo