Brenda Lucía Ortiz Clarke invites us to reconsider the idea of “art consumption”, dissociated from its mere economical burden to gain access in a non-educational role. Her project BLOC Art avoids the definitions for not being limited, on the basis of new media as social media to diffuse the Peruvian art internationally, something like a virtual gallery that doesn’t come to challenge the physical ones but proposing a new experience to the worldwide viewer.
In her words, the knowledge must not be concealed but be shared in search of a balanced ecosystem, linking artists to institutions and creating a new crowd interested in visual arts.
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She also tells us about the artists he represents and the next exhibition she brings to Chile: “Des / Bordes del Perú”. It will be held from October 03 until November 02 in CV Gallery.
Brenda What did it make you to be interested in the artworld? What drives you to work in cultural management?
Being the daughter of an art-loving mother and intellectual father, I was educated that the food for my soul was to consume art and books, I finally ended up falling in love more with art. Every time we traveled we knew the country through museums, galleries, artists’ studios very apart from the typical and touristy. This upbringing is one of the pillars that marks my life and therefore generated so much sensitivity to contemplate absolutely everything.
After having spent work experiences in Peru within the Marketing area in different companies and categories I decided to follow the route of full-time entrepreneurship with different brands and projects that I manage to date, including my cocky BLOC Art – The local Art Portfolio.
How was the BLOC Art project born?
Four years ago, one of the artists in the portfolio, Lescano, as we all call him, requests a meeting and proposes it to represent him. At that time I had an annual budget for some works that I was dying to acquire or make to order, it is for this reason that I answer that I was not engaged in representation; Unique as it is Lescano gives me his portfolio of giclées and tells me to try it, I loved the challenge and obviously accepted. That’s how I started, selling giclee prints at USD 120 representing 3 Peruvian artists: Cherman, Kenny Ayon and Miguel Lescano. After 4 years we have represented approximately 40 Latin American artists, 30 Peruvians and 10 from the region including Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. As well as working with one of the largest collections of Latin American art in Peru where we offer works by Roberto Matta, De Szyszlo, among other great names. We are considered as a gallery but in reality we are an amalgam, I do not like labels, so the project adapts to which format it lends; For example, for a fair we can be considered as a gallery or for the artist we can offer a solution in terms of website and portfolio development or for a collector we can be the point of contact with artists who have works of interest. Why bias to be just one thing? That’s what labels do, they skew.
What are you looking for when selecting the artists you work with? And the selection process?
For me, the connection I have with the artist is extremely important, it must flow in an organic way very apart that his work moves me and means. Somehow there is a projection of how I am or could become in each of them. Now, the main curator of the portfolio is Daniel G. Alfonso, art historian and with whom we validate the different options both for local exhibitions and to incorporate them into the portfolio. They usually send it to us digitally, then we schedule a meeting or video call and continue with the creation of a personalized BLOC Art portfolio to display it digitally, in case we see it feasible to incorporate work in one of our two spaces in Miraflores, Lima is also a possibility for Visits that are scheduled by appointment.
How would you define the artistic line of your gallery?
The works you can find can be contemporary as well as modern. We have sculptures, photography, paintings, object art, that is, we do not skew at all. Something that I try to keep clear is that none of the artists compete directly, that is, they can be differentiated by style and even sub-category. For example, Joan Jiménez AKA “Entes”, an urban artist with more than 20 years of experience in the street art scene today works with different media and participating in individual exhibitions such as art fairs but maintaining the essence of street art, This is how we highlight the differential and not only the technique of each of the artists towards our audience.
What is the impact of your gallery on the Peruvian local scene? Understanding that you not only devote yourself to the commercialization of art but also to the participation in international fairs and organization of exhibitions.
We belong to the new generation of gallery and I don’t think it is only locally but rather globally. We address all that art consumer, not necessarily a buyer but can become a potential one. I feel the responsibility of educating, as they did with me, and sharing the different range of artists that are available at the country level and now incorporating proposals from the region. I think we form an important role as agents within a market that is still in full formation, it is vital to build a healthy ecosystem gearing between the different agents: government entities, private companies, collectors, managers, gallery owners, curators, critics, art dealers and artists based on a great objective: to promote art by and for the country.
For spreading you use social networks a lot. Do you think that “virtual” galleries allow democratizing the spreading of art? Understanding that there is always the prejudice that people do not visit the galleries.
Definitely, social networks are an essential tool in the new art revolution. The access that these give through the brand personality that each space / project can provide to the followers, is necessary point of contact generating empathy, connecting in an intangible way and creating “lovemark”. From this the rest is a consequence. I understand that the galleries are closed because there are many expenses to assume and it is not profitable either because of the political, economic situation or how the country is generating recession since acquiring art goes to the background or third level when it is necessary to prioritize in that kind of scenarios. Now on consuming art, this can be fought by educating from home, at school, universities but the effort would be less if working together with the Government and Municipalities. For example in Holland, there are annual subscriptions to Museums, where you pay an annual fee and you can access all the Museums that are registered with the Government (most of them) and it is free for children, why not do something like that in your own country? The key: organization and engage under the same objective.
How do you see the panorama of the Latin American scene? Are there specific characteristics you want to enhance or failures to face?
We are very powerful as a region, I would believe so much that we do not even realize the potential we still have to polish. Leaving a little and looking globally we still have work to develop, precisely because of this my interest in working exchanges with sister countries, being so close we can unite through art. Do not forget that this is food for the soul and healthy, why not join with something so great?.
There is always a lot to fight but there is the challenge but it would be very easy and boring. I love the flexibility that our proposal presents, I have fun since it was created under that conception. Regarding the shortcomings I better call them opportunities, there is always a lot to learn and those who have the knowledge and do not know how to share it because of misgivings or insecurities, it is better to step aside because that only damages the ecosystem. It is good to be competitive but you have to know how to be competitive in the right context, with specific people, when you deserve it and maintaining the appropriate ways.
Tell us about your next exhibition in Chile, why were you interested in Chile? How was the connection with CV Gallery born?
The exhibition is called “Des/Bordes del Perú”, which tries to link topics that despite the distance we share as sibling countries but this time under the perspective of 10 Peruvian artists represented by BLOC Art, including Christian Bendayán, Alfredo Márquez, Ana de Orbegoso, Rember Yahuarcani, Patica Jenkins Gibson, among others. The curatorship is in charge of Elisa Massardo and we have the collaboration of the Embassy of Peru and Isabel Aninat Gallery, incorporating the work of the 4 Peruvian artists that the latter manages, you can also see works by Fernando de Szyszlo, Ramiro Llona, Alberto Borea and Fernando Gutierrez Huanchaco.
My interest in organizing proposals in Chile was born after my visit to the last edition of the Ch.ACO fair where I met new artists, spaces and enjoyed it very much. It was then I returned to my Peru thinking how to engage with this brother country. Soon after and working correctly it was given. The connection with CV Gallery is born from a relationship with the curator, for whom finally all this gear happens. The space is spectacular, located precisely next to Aninat Gallery. I can say that from now I feel a lot of emotion to be in the assembly of this first project and share what we have been working for months with such dedication.
What can we find in this exhibition? and when will it be carried out?
The exhibits include paintings, video installation, photography, prints, that is, a wide range of different proposals that highlight the technique and style of each participating artist. The exhibition will be open to the public from October 3 until November 2 in CV Gallery – Alonso de Córdova 4355, Vitacura (Botanical Level). We will have a guided tour on Saturday October 5th to which everyone is invited.
What are the future ambitions of BLOC Art?
Keeping working collaborations both locally and internationally, maintain our participation in art fairs and as a short-term objective I have planned to participate in Abu Dhabi 2021 but there is still a long way to go.