Articles and Features

The Digital High Five


Luis Adelantado

The Digital High Five is Artland’s interview series which is published bi-weekly and features one of our partner galleries. We have created this series to connect with galleries, share insight, and shed light on initiatives that are taking place within our community.

This week we had the opportunity to speak with Olga Adelantado who is the director of Luis Adelantado which is located in Valencia, Spain. Founded by Luis Adelantado in 1985 the gallery has championed and focused on promoting and disseminating contemporary art. Over the course of the last 35 years, the gallery has represented and exhibited work by a wide spectrum of national and international artists and has developed a powerful roster of established as well emerging artists.

How has the pandemic encouraged you to think outside the box in regards to; collaboration, exhibition design, curation and public art projects?  

This has been an unprecedented period, one that has favored a time of reflection, encouraging us to develop new strategies and insights and at the same time enabling us to widen the scope of our project in this new reality; one that we have fully taken on board.

The pandemic pushed us to review our past in order to look into the future and this has been the most important development during this time. Exploring the archives of the 35 years of gallery history resulted in the creation of the ‘Viewing Room’ on the Gallery’s website. The ‘Viewing Room’ presents new proposals parallel to the physical exhibitions at the gallery. Thus adapting our gallery to a new format in order to optimize the contextual and conceptual possibilities. 

Intimate Accounts is the name given to this cycle consisting of three exhibitions serving as the opening of our on-line program. Intimate Accounts show some of the key names and works that have been exhibited at Luis Adelantado since its beginnings, being part of our history and what we are today. 

The Viewing Room will evolve into individual projects presenting our artists, where a more intimate approach towards their process can be seen. This cycle will begin in October with Álex Marco and his beautiful large scale drawings. 

Has there been certain initiatives that are taking place within the art community in Spain that as a gallery you are excited to see develop and or be a part of? 

Serving as Vice President to the Consorcio de Galerías de Arte Contemporáneo (the National Association of Contemporary Art Galleries) has given me the opportunity, together with other gallery owners, to develop strategies to help the art community by working together with the Ministry of Culture, in order to obtain financial assistance, as well as highlighting the need for of acquisitions made by the public art collections. We have also achieved funding for the digitalization and online presence of the galleries.

With LaVac (the Association of Galleries in the Valencia Community) we have revamped the logo and website to strengthen its online presence, with views on the upcoming event, Gallery Weekend taking place on September 25th, which marks the beginning of the new season. These are new times, where the usual and online public, will be able to approach our projects from different perspectives while we implement new and better tools.

What excites you the most when it comes to the use of technology being used in your gallery? What is your biggest concern? Biggest surprise? 

We are very excited with Artland´s 3d virtual tour and the response we have had from the public, as we mentioned before, our space is very important to the exhibitions, the dialogues between each room and the momentum it creates. So this tool has proven to be the one we needed to truly offer the virtual experience we wanted.

Our biggest concern is that the online experience will become the most used approach towards art, living behind physical exhibitions and a whole generation of public, which is not used to using technology for these purposes, especially when it comes to art fairs. Artists, collectors and galleries look forward to the experience of the fairs, the networking, seeing old friends and now, with what is happening by virtualizing all the fairs something is missing and not really working. The platforms have not had enough time to fully develop, in order to create a real interaction, which unfortunately means that sales are not as expected. It should work as a tool to back up the fairs and not to replace them.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Untitled art fair which it was thought from the begging as a virtual fair and it gave the public the idea of a walk through the stands, and not the boring catalogue of available works, as seen in other fairs.

Installation view from exhibition, Destroy All Monsters , featuring artist, Folkert De Jong and and Javier Palacios.
Photographer: David Zarzoso
Courtesy of: Luis Adelantado Valencia

Over the last few months how as a gallery, have you encouraged growth amongst your artists and staff?

During this time of global pause, we have had the chance to dedicate more time and develop an even closer relationship with our artists, and it has giving us as a team a chance to research new paths. By using social media, we have been inside the artists’ studios, giving visibility to their surroundings, in order to better understand the character of their work.

We have focused on making sure we inform collectors, artists and the general public, of our online activities, sharing new projects with thoughtful posts, making sure we do not oversaturate our public.

Managing an online digital presence can be overwhelming – what is some advice that you have for other galleries around the world who are looking to develop their digital strategy?

We would encourage them to have an open dialogue with their team, in order to plan online strategies. To choose only the platforms which will be effective to the gallery and the artists. Only by choosing the platforms that the gallery will really benefit from, and making sure to have the time to update them, will you confirm the return on investment and see real results.

Since everyone is now communicating online, the updates shared on social media and through direct emailing of your contacts should not be overwhelming, you need to make sure all the information shared is precise, relevant and thoughtful. 

Since the pandemic, the trajectory of galleries participating in external events has come to a pause, been cancelled, or is moving more towards the digital side of things. Do you feel that this is for the better or are you apprehensive? Or are you embracing the digital realm with open arms? 

We are aware the future is now and digitalization will be part of the art world from now on, there’s no turning back. We will continue to use digital platforms and take part in the digital events, but we believe that the online experience will not replace the physical one; instead they will work together hand in hand. 

Nothing can really replace the physical experience of seeing art live and not on a screen, with the exception of works, which are meant to be seen on screens. We therefore believe that this is just one more challenge we need to overcome as part of the art community. We will carry on working hard for our artists, because art is meant to be seen, and we will be showing it.

To view Luis Adelantado‘s past and current exhibitions, click here.

By Meghan Corso