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KYOTOGRAPHIE 2021: On strength, resilience and humanity

The LOEWE FOUNDATION is pleased to announce the opening of Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV’s site-specific bamboo installation in the historic Nijō Castle for the Kyotographie festival.

As passionate advocates for art and craft all over the world, the LOEWE FOUNDATION is proud to support the internationally acclaimed artist Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV’s exhibition Connection-STAND during the Kyotographie festival of art and photography. Centred around a series of large, intertwined sculptures made from intricately woven bamboo installed within the 17th century Nijō Castle, a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site, the exhibition also presents a series of specially commissioned photographs and a video documenting the making over the installation, created on-site over four days leading to the opening.

Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV was born in 1973, in Osaka, Japan, into a prestigious lineage of bamboo artists which can be traced back over 100 years. His works assimilate modern techniques with four generations of bamboo traditions to weave large, amorphous installations with the purpose of attracting global audiences to the wonders—and inherent sustainability—of working with the world’s fastest-growing plant.

Exploring themes of circularity, innovation and individuality, Chiku’unsai IV’s artworks embody a simple yet intricate sense of beauty. With each piece of bamboo being unique in their own way, the undulating forms of Chiku’unsai IV’s woven objects and installations are guided by the “different personalities” of each strand of tiger and black bamboo he uses. As bamboo has a stronger tensile strength than steel, his structures, created solely by human hands, support themselves. Often, the artist reuses material from previous sculptures when creating new works, and as such, his practice is as much a meditation on evolution and the cycle of life as it is a demonstration of bamboo’s aesthetic and architectural potentials.

Titled ECHO, the ninth edition of the Kyotographie exhibition explores humanity’s relationship to nature in the decade since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011. Running from 18 September – 27 October 2021, Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV’s Connection-STAND takes place in the Daidokoro Kitchen, Okiyodokoro Kitchen of Ninomaru Palace, in the southwest of the Nijō Castle complex. A selection of his work will then be installed at the LOEWE Paseo de Gracia store in Barcelona in early 2022.

Discover the seven artists receiving the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award

Launched earlier this year, the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award was
established to celebrate talent, individuality and original thinking within contemporary
art practice. The programme aims to increase and strengthen equitable representation
and access, and amplify artistic voices across class, race, gender, sexuality and disability.

The 2021–2023 awardees are: Ayo Akingbade, Ufuoma Essi, Adam Farah, Nnena Kalu,
Djofray Makumbu, Josiah Moktar and Curtly Thomas. The selected artists work across a
range of disciplines and mediums, encompassing a diverse set of interests, experiences
and modes of working.

Each awardee receives a rent–free workspace within Studio Voltaire’s newly developed
buildings for two years, a bursary of £2,000, an individualised programme of mentoring
and professional development, dedicated curatorial and pastoral support and access to
local and international audiences via public events programming.

Developed in direct response to the urgent need for affordable and secure workspace
for artists, as well as the detrimental impact that the COVID–19 pandemic is having on
artist’s lives, the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire award aims to cultivate spaces
where artists can connect in a supportive studio environment that facilitates creative
possibilities, risk–taking, experimentation and exchange.

Awarded artists were selected by a panel of leading curators and artists: Sepake
Angiama, Artistic Director of Iniva; Andrew Bonacina, Chief Curator of The Hepworth
Wakefield; artists Anthea Hamilton and Elizabeth Price; and Studio Voltaire’s Curator
(Studios & Residencies), Maggie Matić and Director, Joe Scotland.

The seven recipients of the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award will move into
their studios from July 2021, joining Studio Voltaire’s community of artists including Ain
Bailey, Lubna Chowdhary, Kaye Donachie, Anthea Hamilton, and Languid Hands (Rabz
Lansiquot and Imani Robinson).

Discover more in our Instagram and in Studio Voltaire’s webpage.

Getting to know better Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero, winners of the XXXIII Loewe Foundation Poetry Prize

Diego Doncel, winner of the XXXIII LOEWE FOUNDATION Poetry Prize, by Yago Castromil.

Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero became part of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Poetry Prize in a year marked by strangeness, but also by the importance of getting to know each other better.

That’s why we chatted with the award winners in the places that inspire them – the Parque del Oeste, in Madrid, for Diego Doncel and his family home in Getafe, Madrid, in the case of Mario Obrero – to get to know them better.

Many people think of poetry as a means of escaping from reality. Do you agree or do you think poetry somehow takes the temperature of what’s happening in our personal lives and society as a whole?

DIEGO DONCEL: In the dedication page I include in my books, I say that we write poetry because we are searching to live with that rare intensity. I don’t think of poetry as an escape from reality but as the place where life manifests itself, where it becomes more intense.

What’s important to note is that poems are not pale and simple reflections of life, but rather where life is created. A poem is a linguistic fact that is on its way to becoming an emotion. As such, it’s a spiritual adventure. I like meditative poetry, the kind that Unamuno said thinks the feeling and feels the thinking. Or in Pessoa’s words: the part of me that feels is thinking.

MARIO OBRERO: I might not be knowledgeable enough to talk about how this applies to poetry as a whole, but I can comment on how it applies to poets. Poets, as people, cannot be separated from their circumstances, from the society they live in, from their communities. I would go as far as to say that it’s the desire to take care of, share and widen collective horizons that actually drives the creative process.

Even so, there are times when “escaping from reality” is more commonplace in our day-to-day lives than in poetry. Reality is Woolf’s mist, Pérez Estrada’s bird child or Manuel Antonio’s sea, and yet we pay no attention to them as we navigate our daily routines.


What inspires or drives you to write?

DIEGO DONCEL: I write because it’s what I was destined to do. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was ten was to be a writer. When I turned eighteen, I won a prestigious prize that would have allowed me to publish the winning book of poems, but I turned it down.

Writing poetry carries an enormous responsibility to oneself. It’s important because, as everyone knows, it’s that secret you whisper in someone’s ear. It’s the bridge between the mystery you hold inside and mystery of the other person, the one who reads your work.

MARIO OBRERO: Just as the Fuentevaqueros poplars whispered in Lorca’s ear, I feel the need to write where I can listen to the whispers of my own surroundings and to the possibility of building a house that welcomes and values the utopia and motivation that hope brings with it.


Has sharing personal experiences in your work ever made you feel emotionally naked to your readers?

DIEGO DONCEL: Yes, most definitely. Particularly because the truth of what happened is behind every word, every verse, every poem. And that has determined my life forever. But when you write without hiding from the truth, you take on the act of publicly showing yourself and accept it.

You find there are many readers who will identify with your story, with what you felt: the pain and guilt, the fragility and the search for possible hope. That’s the beauty of literature; the words you write become the reader’s words, so that the act of reading becomes the bridge between different intimate worlds.

MARIO OBRERO: First of all, there is this wonderful invention in poetry known as the ‘poetic I’. I usually try to avoid the personal ‘I’, focusing either on the collective ‘I’ or the ‘I’ conceived where one’s imagination and sense of empathy lie. That said, there are no boundaries or ditches in poetry. As such, my experiences and I happily join the choir.

Mario Obrero, winner of the XXXIII LOEWE FOUNDATION Young Poets Award, by Yago Castromil.

Do you think the pace of modern life is a poet’s ally or enemy?

DIEGO DONCEL: Poems should talk about modern life, about petrol stations, cars, televisions, about what love means today… Things have changed.

Our relationship with nature and with our surroundings is no longer the same. Capitalist society, cities, small towns, everything is subject to new codes and interpretations. The way in which we write poetry must either change with the times, as it always has, or it must challenge it.

MARIO OBRERO: Rimbaud warned us to be “’radically contemporary’ and we should always listen to the rhythm, in as far as it’s a musical and uplifting element of life.

I think we should never succumb to the typical dominant behaviours or attitudes of certain fast-paced social models (poetry is also a type of resistance), but I don’t shy away from dancing to the furious pace imposed by certain agendas, as long as it’s my decision to do so.


Is being a poet a way of enjoying and celebrating the shared aspects of the human condition, or does it make you feel like the odd one out, an outsider?

DIEGO DONCEL: Poetry is a celebration because it’s written for others, but I believe a poet must be a loner in the sense that they must stand on the sidelines in order to be credible. I like those writers who did not succumb to the pomp of their times, who set themselves slightly apart in order to maintain an intimate relationship with things.

Joaquim Manuel Magalhães, one of the great poets I know, comes to mind. He lives in the countryside, far from everything, and he writes such real and mysterious poems. And the important thing is that every word that is said about him is one word too many.

MARIO OBRERO: Here’s a fascinating quote from Rilke’s Notes on the Melody of Things: ‘the person who perceives the whole melody shall be the most solitary and at the same time the most connected to the community.’

I’m quite intrigued by this, by how collective and group yearnings and the poet’s solitude come together. At the moment, I don’t quite know where I fit in. Luckily, everyone has doubts that can’t be resolved and questions that can’t be answered.

Genta Ishizuka wins the LOEWE Craft Prize 2019

Surface Tactility #11, 2018 by Genta Ishizuka wins the Craft Prize 2019

Surface Tactility #11, 2018 by Genta Ishizuka

Jonathan Anderson, LOEWE creative director, commented on this year’s winner: ‘Ishizuka’s work proves that craft can be open and shows the freedom of creation. His use of an ancient lacquer technique in a contemporary form breaks conventions and represents a new sculptural vision in craft.’

The Jury also agreed upon two special mentions:

Harry Morgan, for the work ‘Untitled’ from Dichotomy Series, 2018. The jury commented: ‘This radical work by Harry Morgan is a paradoxical confrontation of materials which don’t belong together. He brings a craft spirit to common materials.’

‘Untitled’ from Dichotomy Series, 2018 by Harry Morgan,

Kazuhito Takadoi for the work KADO (Angle), 2018. The jury admired the work for ‘being a craft without a name’ and applauded the fact that Takadoi is involved in the piece from conception, from growing the material in his garden to creating an object with a very powerful form.

KADO (Angle), 2018 by Kazuhito Takadoi

Jennifer Lee, Winner of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2018, observer of this year’s prize said: ‘This year’s finalists prove that old traditions of making continue to surprise us and be radical and contemporary. The prize makes you inquisitive and opens your mind to new ways of making and working with materials.’

From the 26 June to 22 July, Genta Ishizuka’s winning piece and all the finalists’ works will be showcased at a free exhibition at Isamu Noguchi’s indoor stone garden ‘Heaven’ inside the Sogetsu Kaikan building in Tokyo. From ceramics, furniture and glassware, to basketry, jewellery and blacksmithing, the show demonstrates the artists’ quests to reconcile the ancient with the avant-garde.

The free poetry of Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Víctor Rodríguez Nuñez’s most ardent wish is that people read despegue, the book that won him the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize. “That is the ultimate dream,” he admitted.

Víctor, who was born in Cuba, but has lived in the US for several decades, says that “when I lived in Cuba I was just a Cuban poet; now I am a Cuban poet specialising in Cuban poetry.” He admits that he had submitted his work for the LOEWE Prize on numerous occasions because it is “the most prestigious Spanish-speaking award in its category; not the one that pays the most, but the one everyone wants to win,” he explains. “The rigour, the jury, and the roster of winners are impressive. It is an honour to be among them.”


Laughing, he recognises that “each time I finished writing a book I would send it to LOEWE and only when I found out I hadn’t won would I submit it elsewhere.” That is why he is “so proud to have finally won” and is grateful “to all those who have made it difficult for me, because I am a better poet for it. Struggling benefits all artists.”

This is, without a doubt, a career highlight for Rodríguez Nuñez, but he finds it difficult to define the type of writer he is. “One is not always the same poet; we are constantly changing. What is important is to recognise when the change is taking place. It’s a serious problem when one tries to resist change; it is detrimental to one’s work. Identities don’t actually exist. The only thing that exists is change. One’s identity is linked to the Spanish verb “ser”, ‘Being’ with a capital B, and that state is nothing but an illusion. The verb “estar” is more expressive of one’s present ‘state of being’. The distinction between these two verbs, one that doesn’t exist in other languages, is representative of the richness and nuance of Spanish.”

He is, however, very sure about one of the traits of his poetic personality: his independence. “I don’t belong to any group and I don’t know anybody. I am neither an official nor a dissident Cuban writer. I am an independent writer,” he explains, “and one pays dearly for that. I have been excluded from anthologies and other publications….I don’t have an editor. I have been able to publish my work by submitting entries to different contests and, in the long run, that has given me a lot of confidence because I have won important prizes without knowing anyone.” He explains that “what I write has been well received for its own merit” and “that gives me immense satisfaction,” so “I am very grateful to Spain for the recognition I have received here because it has been an outlet for me.” Without hesitating, he adds, “I have found myself as a poet.”

With regards to the media coverage the Prize has received, he explains, “the announcement was published in all the most important newspapers in Latin America.” So he warns with humour: “if last year there were eight hundred entries, this year there might be a thousand!” And as to his presence as a jury member in next year’s edition, he says, “I will have to do my part to find the winner among that jungle of poems!”

Photo caption: Víctor Rodríguez Núñez in the Prize Ceremony of the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize  © Uxío de Vila for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.


The CND shines with Don Quixote

The premiere of the ballet Don Quixote by the Compañía Nacional de Danza and its Artistic Director, José Carlos Martínez, has become the most awaited dance event. Last time this company performed a full-length ballet it was over twenty years ago. This version of Don Quixote by Martínez has become an absolute recognition of his artistic project. He has been very respectful towards tradition, emphasising the Spanish roots of the piece. The anniversary of the publication of the second part of the novel Don Quixote by Cervantes and the centenary of his death, makes 2016 the perfect year for the CND to present this ballet and to tour it internationally.


The CND, sponsored by the LOEWE FOUNDATION, has a full repertoire which explores all dance styles and now includes one of the most famous works in Dance History. Don Quixote first premiered in Moscow in 1869 as a ballet inspired by two chapters of the second part of the novel by Cervantes, in which the original choreographer Marius Petipa left a strong Spanish imprint in all the characters.SehYunKim

José Carlos Martínez has built his choreography after that first work by Petipa and Gorsky’s later revision, as well as after the versions he performed during his brilliant career as a dancer. His priority, however, has been to emphasise the Spanish dances beyond what Petipa himself could do in Russia. Martínez plays with the Spanish folklore and underlines the character of our bailes.  He has invited choreographer Mayte Chico to collaborate in his creation in order to achieve in this Don Quixote an authentic flamenco flavour.

Guest dancers Elisa Badenes, Cristina Casa, Joaquín de Luz and Maria Kochetkova are welcomed these days in the cast playing the lead roles alongside the dancers of the CND: Aitor Arrieta, Esteban Berlanga, Moisés Martín, Haruhi Otani, YaeGee Park and Alessandro Riga.


The performances of Don Quixote will continue throughout the Holidays at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, until next January 3rd.

More information: 915 245 400, and at the box office of the theatre.

Photographs: Corps de Ballet, She Yun Kim with Iván Sánchez and Joaquín de Luz with YaeGee Park in Don Quixote © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

Goodbye Carlos Bousoño

Back in the spring of 1988, when Enrique Loewe and I were creating the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award, we thought Carlos Bousoño would be a necessary and crucial member of the jury. Carlos accepted and went on to contribute first in an active and most brilliant manner and then taking on an honorary role – as President– when his deteriorating health prevented him from continuing on. Carlos Bousoño (1923-2015) has been, though sadly silent in the last years of his life, one of the most outstanding poets of the postwar generations – a description he liked to use himself – and an outstanding poetry theorist, upholding the most profound sense of irrationalism and surrealism, that is, that the magic of the irrational can be understood. What Freud believed, though in another field, was not much different. He was the author of award-winning books of such tall order as `Oda en la ceniza´ or `Las monedas contra la losa´, and we also think of him as the genius who wrote `Teoría de la expresión poética´ with its ramifications on irrationalism.…

Enrique Loewe, Luis Antonio de Villena y Carlos Bousoño

Discussing poetry with Carlos, whom I had met fifteen years before, was a veritable pleasure. He was not one for gossip or unnecessary criticism and liked nothing better than agreeing with others if their discourse was convincing. Carlos savoured and discussed the submitted books at length during the jury deliberations and was always clever, clearheaded and reasonable in equal measure. A staunch admirer of Aleixander’s superrealism, for example, he loved lucidity and clarity above all. Like Caillois when he explained Saint-John Perse. That’s how he explained Lorca or Aleixandre or the books that were seemingly more complex and that the jury couldn’t agree on… We’ve missed Carlos for the past few years. Saying goodbye now is easier or harder. He leaves us his immense knowledge, his cordial and open disposition and his need for light, more light, always reasoned and thoughtful. Such a gifted talent, my friend.

Luis Antonio de Villena
Poet. Jury member of the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize

Photographs: Enrique Loewe, Luis Antonio de Villena and Carlos Bousoño ©Loewe Foundation 1991

Brooches of Ramón Puig Cuyàs in Barcelona

PuigCuyàs1Jeweler Ramón Puig Cuyàs, accompanied by art critic and historian Daniel Giralt-Miracle, participated in the LOEWE Talk “The human factor in current creation” that took place last week in Loewe Barcelona. This store now houses Ramón Puig´s brooches, fostering a unique opportunity to admire and learn about the work of the Spanish jeweler and his link with the new LOEWE collection.

Ramón Puig explained that from the very beginning he has tried to “make jewelry that would appeal to people who do not like jewelry”. “The value of materials”, so important in this field, is not a priority for him. He believes in modernising jewelry which means “connecting the pieces with their origin, with their symbolism, and avoiding ostentation”. A true artistic “creation is the act of doing it all by yourself, of participating in the whole process”, and “doing things well really makes you happy”.


The jeweler says that “reviewing the past to build the future is key”. He insisted that “in order to transform something we must be aware of where we come from” and he defended the idea of ​​”recovering old traditions by inserting them in different time frames”.


That was precisely the goal of Jonathan Anderson in his collection created from these jewels. T-shirts feature abstract prints inspired by the work of Ramón Puig Cuyàs, a perfect metaphor for LOEWE’s creative spirit and philosophy.

Exhibition of brooches by Ramón Puig Cuyàs, throughout October 18 at the LOEWE Store in Paseo de Gracia, 35, Barcelona.

Photographs: Ramón Puig Cuyàs and Daniel Giralt-Miracle, brooch by Puig Cuyàs and T-shirt from the LOEWE Fall Winter Men’s Collection 2015 © Poncho Paradela for LOEWE, 2015.