More than 50 international galleries have landed in London this week unfurling a vast collection of Latin American art for the opening of “Pinta”, a four-day exhibition showcasing the best of the region’s modern and contemporary art. Set in London’s Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the usually dull depot is crowded with crisscrossing stands packed with artwork by established and up-and-coming artists from everywhere from Argentina to Venezuela.
“It’s a great space to promote our art,” says Alejandro Zaia, the Latin American PR mogul that teamed up with Diego Costa (co-founder of Argentina’s Arte al Día Internacional art magazine) and Mauro Herlitzka (member of the Tate Modern and MoMA councils) to give birth to “Pinta”. The fair started in New York in 2007 before launching a London edition last year. Testament to how seriously the market takes LatAm art now, the organizers made themselves at home in London – the art world capital – instead of the more obvious gateways for Spanish speakers such as Madrid. “Currently collectors and institutions are spanning their attention globally in search for new prospects – that’s where Latin American artists come in,” says Zaia.
The hunt for Latin American art is undoubtedly on the rise and record sales in auction houses worldwide have illustrated the fact that it’s a good time to buy some arte. The bar was raised in May, when works by Colombian artist Fernando Botero sold for a collective sum of $7.5m at Sotheby’s Latin American sale in New York, an evening that garnered $26.9m altogether. With 70 solo exhibitions and over 200 collective shows, Felipe Ehrenberg is one of the most prominent artists attending the second edition of “Pinta” London. “The high-calibre Latin American art displayed in this show makes it one of the most interesting globally,” says the Mexican master. “Being a sudaca – a South American, a third-world citizen – used to be embarrassing but is now an important matter.
“Brazil’s economy, Colombia’s stability and Chile’s success have the continent swollen with pride,” he adds, optimistically perhaps. “The region’s prosperity has drawn people’s attention towards our art, it’s empowering us.”
“Pinta” not only showcases Latin American art – it’s also pervaded by a Latin American attitude. “A smaller fair like this allows a direct and personal interaction between the artist and the seller,” says Marta Ramos-Yzquierdo from São Paulo-based Baro gallery. “Clients become friends,” she concludes. The friendly atmosphere doesn’t get in the way of hard business, though. It’s never been a better moment to buy, and “Pinta” delivers the best homemade talent from Latin American art to the world.