To celebrate this version of Open Ch.ACO digital, we’ll carry out through Artsy from May 20th to June 20th. We talked with the directors of each galleries, Patricia Ready e Irene Abujatum, with the aim of making known the view of each one on the current situation, the development of the art market in the context of a pandemic and the projections they make for the Chilean art scene.
By Ch.ACO Team
Galería Patricia Ready and AFA -Art for Art-, are two Chilean galleries with long history in the world of contemporary art. Inserted years ago in the circuits of international art fairs, they have been part of Ch.ACO uninterruptedly, since its creation in 2009.
How do you see the present in the world of culture and the arts, and particularly in the art market? How do you project the scenario will be like after the pandemic?
Both gallery owners agree that these are rough and highly uncertain times. "I think this is a state of greater contingency, especially in our country where we had two very strong contingencies in a very short time," explains Irene Abujatum, and added "the market is very discouraging, which is what I am responsible directly. There is no open gallery at the moment, we are companies that work a lot with each other and the virtual world in art is very complex”. The same reflection is made by Patricia Ready, “art works fundamentally from the experience that has with an interlocutor. It's not a mystery art is explored and dimensioned only when you can see it live and direct”.
However, the most important thing at the moment for both gallery owners is to take the necessary security measures and adapt to new ways of interacting. For example, Patricia explained how they plan to make their openings “without an opening cocktail, but advising all the artists and our database that the exhibition will be on display for a month and a half and then switch to the next. In this way we will avoid the congregation of people and the public will have the option of going to the gallery (...) we will gradually adapt so they don’t miss the sensory experience that interacting with art implies”.
"What artists need is the permanent support of their gallery and now it must be felt much more strongly", Patricia Ready.
“I am concerned that artists have money to pay their rent, to be able to buy their materials and to be able to eat. That is my concern today, as a gallery owner”, Irene Abujatum.
Regarding the question: What do you think is the attitude of a gallery owner in front of this scenario? What do you propose, how will you continue?
Patricia explained "what artists need is the permanent support of their gallery and now they must feel much more strongly." For which, they have taken special measures to support them, such as yielding the gallery's percentage of profit. "It has been a great effort, but we are sure that concrete actions must be taken, this has helped us to maintain our sales in a sustained manner during these times of crisis," she says.
For Irene, the artists in the gallery are extremely important “I’m concerned the artists have money to pay their rent, to be able to buy their materials and to be able to eat. That is my concern today, as a gallery owner”. In addition, she said they have developed a communication plan on social networks (@galeriaafa) with the aim of “keeping the project alive, of exciting and stimulating the purchase through these platforms. Which means it goes to a different target, perhaps the one wasn’t naturally sold, who were collectors. So, I’m also betting on opening ourselves to other groups of people, I’ve been talking one by one with my clients, telling them a little about what there is, what we are doing. Looking for ways that they support too”. Something they are also doing at the Galería Patricia Ready (@galeriapatriciaready), who have also continued to send information and catalogs of their exhibitions to different collections.
"I think Artsy is very visible, because if three foreigners arrived, which we did not know, it is already an achievement", Irene Abujatum
During the lockdown, Have you had any particular thoughts? Are projects born or do you feel like doing new things with artists?
"At this time we have had to communicate much more than usual both with them (the artists) and with the clients, which has been very good" explains Patricia and comments that these conversations have been intensifying given the context, which "It sparked a desire to do special things that have had a very positive effect for both them and us”.
Likewise, Irene immediately stated she is creating "a great great project" that she intends to launch at the end of the year. “I hope we can be out of isolation to be able to do it, because it has to do with the relationship. It’s going very well, I have a whole team working behind it, I have activated many thinking heads”.
Finally, we asked these two gallery owners about which are the expectations of being online on the ARTSY platform through Open Ch.ACO.
"I think it is a good platform (Artsy)" says Irene and evaluated her experience in the online version of ArteBa, where "we were contacted for three people we didn't know, who are international art buyers and now we are with them one by one one talking. Thanks to Artsy they saw our work and now we are in a relationship where we already speak by mail” and added "I think Artsy gives a lot of visibility, because if we reached three foreigners, who we didn’t meet, it is already an achievement”.
For her part, Patricia expressed "the virtual right now is a very good alternative, being present on a digital platform helps to enhance the visibility of our artists, new audiences are generated and excellent commercial opportunities are produced". In addition, she emphasizes her optimism "I think over the time, when everything calms down, the digital will return to its usual place, with more presence of course, but it will never replace the physical encounter with the artwork, we must not lose the sight of the fact that art is a face-to-face experience and a screen is never going to compete with the real artwork, I’m also sure that in a while, when all this has happened, we will be able to return to the usual normality”.