MADRID - THE PONCE + ROBLES GALLERY AND THE CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS THEY FIND DAY BY DAY
The gallery owners Raquel and José tell us a little about their work and answer some questions asked by the curator Max Hernández Calvo (Lima)
How did you decide to have a gallery?
In my case, Raquel, my family has been linked to the art world since the middle of the last century: they were and are owners of an art foundation and a gallery. Since I was a child I have lived with artists and when I was old enough to work I joined the gallery combining my studies in Art History until, finally, I opened my own space in 1991.
In mine, José Robles, I start in another professional career: law, foreign trade and business administration. Subsequently, my concerns, interest and direct relationship with the world of contemporary art through trips and visits to museums and galleries, led me to develop a passion for this world that led me to open the first gallery in 2000.
When you started as gallery owners, what idea did you have of the art market?
In our beginnings and during the years when we worked separately, we shared a more national vision of the market.
When we planned the merge of the two Ponce and Robles galleries, one of the main ideas was to tackle the international market as a team, with the incorporation of non-Spanish artists with an international presence and Spaniards who were willing to commit to this goal with us.
To what extent did that initial idea change, compared to the reality of the gallery's day-to-day life and over the years?
Our initial idea has not changed at any time. In this way, we have been expanding our relations with all the international agents in the sector since our earliest beginnings and have gone from being known in our country to gaining more visibility outside of Spain.
What milestone would you highlight in your experience as gallery owners?
After 7 years together and with a thousand projects in hand, our main milestone has been the consolidation of our personal and professional relationship as a Ponce + Robles gallery. But we are confident that our best and most important milestones are yet to come.
What criteria define your program as a gallery? What artists do you represent, what kind of art do you spread, what kind of exhibitions do you organize, and what are the events in which you participate?
From our first meetings to discuss our merge, we thought that our main strength as a gallery was our historical and emotional connection with the Ibero-American countries. In this way, we believe that Spain’s job of is to build a bridge between our common culture with those countries and that which we have with European countries and the powerful Anglo-Saxon context.
In this way, we were looking for a relationship with artists and cultural agents to whom we could contribute something. We began developing wonderful relationships with countries such as Ecuador or Peru, which have later spread to other places such as Brazil, Mexico or the United States.
In this way and one by one, we have been incorporating into our project artists whose main characteristics are both the quality of their work and their commitment to work both with the gallery and with the rest of the artists represented.
In the face of this global quarantine situation, what are you doing to keep your spirits up, the outreach activity, the commercial activity?
We are working with similar hours to those we have in the gallery. The technologies that we currently have are allowing us to be in permanent contact with our artists and collectors, as well as the different cultural agents, so that we can transmit that both the gallery and its artists remain active throughout this period to continue with the visibility of the projects, none of which has been stopped, but temporarily postponed.
What changes can this crisis generate in the functioning of the artistic scene?
Many, for sure, but almost all will be creative and constructive. There was already a review of the art fair system, which, no doubt, given this current situation, will continue to deepen. New sales systems and new ways of approaching the visualization of artists' work will be generated. And, as has always happened in times of great change, some agents will be strengthened while others will not be able to adapt and will weaken or even disappear.
Raquel and José