Craft experts convene in Madrid

On 22nd January, the LOEWE Foundation and the IED organised a talk on the subject of contemporary craft that brought together some of the most relevant names in design, craft, architecture, journalism, and curation, including Antonia Boström, Sara Flynn, Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Joonyong Kim, and Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, all of them linked to the LOEWE Craft Prize.  Personal experiences, reflections on current creativity, and main sources of inspiration were some of the highlights of this fascinating panel discussion, which took place in English in front of an audience of 120 people.

Anatxu Zabalbeascoa – Journalist, Art Historian, and President of the LOEWE Craft Prize Jury – moderated a discussion among experts as diverse as their roles in today’s craft. The event led to an enjoyable conversation where a number of relevant topics were discussed, including the transition from traditional to artistic craftsmanship, or the importance that beauty and contemporary creation hold in today’s world.

The pieces created by jeweller Ramón Puig Cuyàs, which have been showcased internationally since 1972, are now prominently featured in public and private collections alike. He has been the recipient of the Herbert Hoffman of Munich Award, the Premi Ciutat de Barcelona Special Award or the Danish Craft Bogprice, amongst others. His career, which includes ample teaching experience, has rewarded him with a wisdom he readily transmits in his conversations and speeches.

Antonia Boström –Director of Collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London- spent more than twenty years working in American art museums before returning to the V&A, where her professional career had begun. She has carried out extensive research in the field of sculpture and is a prolific writer in this artistic field. Joonyong Kim is a professor at Cheongju University and a 2018 LOEWE Craft Prize finalist. The work produced by this Korean leading glass artist has been shown in individual and collective exhibitions worldwide. Irish potter Sara Flynn, who was one of the finalists in the first LOEWE Craft Prize, went on to become a member of the Experts Panel in the following two editions. Thanks to her work, for which she is known internationally, Flynn has participated in many artistic retreats abroad, and has had a prolific career as a guest speaker and jury member of numerous craft contests.

A meeting of artists who were not shy in showing their strongest creative weapons. Following their interventions, they answered a large number of questions and received congratulatory feedback from a diverse audience that filled the Aula Magna of the IED Madrid headquarters.

Photo Captions: Antonia Boström talks about her work in the presence of Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Joonyong Kim, and Sara Flynn. Ramón Puig Cuyàs. Sara Flynn and Joonyong Kim © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation.

LOEWE Craft Prize 2019 – finalists announced

The LOEWE FOUNDATION is proud to unveil the 29 artists who have been shortlisted for the Craft Prize 2019. The finalists were recognized for their fundamentally important contributions to the development of contemporary craft, with the submitted works presenting a diverse spectrum of techniques, media and modes of expression.

This year’s finalists were chosen by a panel of nine experts from close to over 2,500 submissions (an increase of 44% from last year) by artisans representing 100 countries. The rigorous selection process culminated with the Experts Panel convening in Madrid for two days, where they judged the most outstanding works on their technical accomplishment, innovation and artistic vision.

Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, Executive Secretary of the Experts Panel, stated: ‘The LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize sets the level of skills, will and artistic ambition for which craft should strive.’

The 29 finalists´ works are being exhibited from 26 June – 22 July 2019 at Isamu Noguchi´s indoor stone garden ´Heaven´ at the Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo, where the overall winner will be revealed.

Find out more at loewecraftprize.com

A year of awards for the LOEWE Foundation

The LOEWE Foundation closes 2018 underscoring the merit of the two prizes it received for the work carried out since it was established 30 years ago. They are: the Born Awards Special Prize and the Prize for the Promotion of Craft of the 4th Premios Interiores.

The Born Awards, founded eight years ago by Jean-Christophe Chopin, celebrates creativity in design-based lifestyle with a focus on desirability, functionality, and integrity. The Foundation was the chosen recipient of this year´s Special Award –announced at the beginning of October- for “promoting and supporting creativity”. The theme of the 8th Born Awards ceremony, which was held at the prestigious Design Museum in London, was “Peerless”– as in “incomparable” or “without equal”. The Foundation´s Director, Sheila Loewe, accepted the award in a celebratory and congratulatory atmosphere

Shortly thereafter, the Prize for the Promotion of Craftsmanship of the Premios Interiores was announced. It was with great pride that the LOEWE Foundation accepted the award at the gala held in Madrid´s Westin Palace Hotel. On this occasion, Sheila Loewe´s speech included a special thank you for the recognition given to a discipline -craftsmanship- whose value and exclusivity are on the rise. “In a world where everything is immediate, these artisans manage to stop time, think with their hands, and create something truly admirable,” she declared.

With these two awards, the LOEWE Foundation put the finishing touches to 2018, a year in which it celebrated three decades dedicated to poetry, dance, design, craftsmanship, photography, and architecture.

Happy 2019

Photo Captions: Sheila Loewe receives the Special Prize at Born Awards 2018. Alberto Merlo and Sheila Loewe, at the award ceremony of the Premios Interiores © Alfredo Arias, 2018.

The LOEWE Archives

LOEWE’s oldest store dates back to 1939 and it is located in one of the most emblematic corners of Madrid’s Gran Vía street, in a historic building designed by architect Francisco Ferrer Bartolomé. Its window displays, which preserve a certain century-old aroma, are key in understanding how the splendor of the past has shaped LOEWE’s present.

It is in the store’s basement, a truly magical space, where the Spanish firm decided to showcase the LOEWE Archives. These historical bags, which were carefully curated to show more than a century of innovation in bag design, will be on view until 20th January.

A number of the bags the experts chose were donated to the firm by the heirs of their original owners, in hopes of sharing their historical value with the world. As such, the LOEWE Archives include the geometric lines of the Art Deco era, the rigid shapes of the 1940s, the colourful designs of the 60s and the unstructured designs that came later.

All the time periods that these LOEWE bags represent come together in a historical journey that is worthy of admiration for its attention to detail and respect for tradition, and because it is an excellent sample of the outstanding craftsmanship LOEWE is known for. It is a must this holiday season.

Happy Holidays.

LOEWE Archives, 8 Gran Vía Street, Madrid. Until 20th January 2019 [Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.]

Photo Captions: LOEWE Store, 8 Gran Vía Street, Madrid. LOEWE Archive pieces. Bag purchased in 1958 by actress Ava Gardner in the Gran Vía LOEWE store.

Art Basel Miami: Chance Encounters IV

Chance Encounters is an annual exhibition staged by the LOEWE FOUNDATION at the LOEWE Miami store in the city’s Design District. Unique as a commercial space, it is dominated by a 200 year-old granary building which was transported, stone by stone, from Portugal to Miami. At over 10 meters long and five meters high, the wood and stone pitched-roof structure sat for centuries in the river lands of the Miño, a humble edifice designed for rural industry. It now assumes the grandeur of a temple, its weather-worn surfaces redolent of another place and time.

Anne Low

Contradiction and displacement are key to Jonathan Anderson’s creative approach at LOEWE. His collections challenge notions of beauty, upset gender conventions and push materials and silhouettes to their limits. To be contemporary is to acknowledge the past; dissonance can create moments of strange harmony. This potential has been embedded in the architectural fabric of the LOEWE store itself through the presence of the granary, and has provided something of a guiding principle for the Chance Encounters series of exhibitions that creates unexpected dialogues between historical and contemporary artists and makers. Previous exhibitions have included work by Anthea Hamilton, Lucie Rie, Paul Nash, John Ward, Rose Wylie, William McKeown, Lionel Wendt and Sara Flynn – conversations that have taken place between art forms and across time.

 

‘Diver’, woodcut on Japaneese paper 218×117.5 cm
2017

Chance Encounters IV brings together works by Andrea Büttner (b. 1972, Germany), Ian Godfrey (1942-1992, UK) and Anne Low (b.1981, Canada). From different generations and working in various media —from ceramics and textiles to woodcut printing— these artists are united by a fascination for historical traditions of making, exploring the potential for the outmoded to, somewhat counterintuitively, give fresh insights onto contemporary concerns. In their work, history becomes a prism through which the present moment fans out into a spectrum of social, economic and material realities.

Low’s newly-commissioned installation Dust Bed occupies the granary, drawing on the intimate textures of this object and to create an exuberant performance of textile forms.

Woodcuts by Büttner monumentalise simple every objects and fragments of art historical works. Hand-carved and printed, her images speak urgently about notions of shame and humility through works that are wilfully slow and temporally-layered.

 

A major collection of over 100 works by British ceramicist Ian Godfrey occupies museum-like cases throughout the space. His minutely-detailed ceramic sculptures are individual worlds that draw on the art of ancient civilisations. Populated by exotic animals and fantastical architecture, they draw the viewer into their childlike landscapes and transport us momentarily to another time and place.

Ritualistic Sculptures and Vessels

Chance Encounters IV. From 4th December 2018 to 31st January 2019.
 LOEWE Miami Design District, 110 NE 39th Street, Suite #102. Miami, Florida (USA).

Photo Captions: Anne Low ©Dennis Ha; ‘Diver’ ©Andy Keate, courtesy of Andrea Büttner and Hollybush Gardens; ‘Ritualistic Sculptures and Vessels’ ©Lewis Ronald.

Basilio Sánchez, winner of the XXXI LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize

He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes, by Basilio Sánchez (Cáceres, Spain, 1958), has been awarded the 31st LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize by a Jury chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Piedad Bonnett, Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Ben Clark, Antonio Colinas, Soledad Puértolas, Aurora Egido, Jaime Siles and Luis Antonio de Villena. This year’s Young Poet’s Award was declared void. A total of 868 entries from 34 different countries were received, 20% of which came from Latin-American countries.

This morning, at the Gran Vía LOEWE store in Madrid, the name of this year’s winner was announced in the presence of Enrique Loewe, Sheila Loewe -President of the Foundation-, a few Jury members, and winners of previous editions. After Sheila Loewe’s welcome speech, Víctor García de la Concha announced the decision of the jury, whose report highlighted the “investigative approach of a book that shows a deep appreciation for the classical tradition while seeking new approaches, sounds, and meanings”. Next, poet Piedad Bonnett presented the winning book and admitted that “this year it has not been easy to choose the LOEWE Poetry Prize winner because many of the finalist works had sufficient merit to deserve the award”. She explained that the Jury members finally chose He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes for “the unity and consistency it shows, inviting us, through its mysticism, to rediscover the natural world”. Bonnett added that this book of poems, “sets off with a contemplative view of the small things around us –their brilliance and what they reveal– while highlighting both the mystery of the origin of all that is immense as well as the work that poetry requires for an artist who is really a craftsman of the written word”. The Colombian writer went on to explain that the austerity Sánchez shows, “is not exempt, however, of a certain sensuality, visible through images that are tinged with colours, sounds, sensations” and added that this book “reaffirms poetry as an act of faith”.

Following Bonnet’s words, the winner, Basilio Sánchez, thanked the Jury and the LOEWE Foundation and explained that he was “very grateful because this is a book that has required a personal investment of two years and it contains the most essential pieces of the literature I have been writing.” He was also extremely pleased because this award shows that there is value in writing “poetry that is intimately linked to the humanist definition of what a person is and of what it means to exist, and it defends a type of poetry that shows respect for tradition and unity”. The type of poetry that Sánchez writes, “sits at the end of a long rope that has been years in the making,” he added. “It is a source of pride for me to think that I am one of the links in this chain, having learned from the poets who are sitting here today, who I think of, without a doubt, as my teachers.” For Sanchéz, He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes is “a meditative book, a compendium of deep thoughts.” According to the author, it is “a book written by someone who sees words as his raison d’être, as part of who he is, and who uses both poetry and the images that words can conjure to question the world and how he interacts with it. Someone who is fully aware that the society he lives in is extremely meticulous about all material things, but enormously poor when it comes to spirituality; a wallflower in the party the world is immersed in who sits in silent contemplation before the grave of things that could have been, and yet doesn’t renounce the gift of the immense.” Someone who knows, he added, “that there is nothing more beautiful than allowing the night to convince you that everything is eternal.”

AMO lo que se hace lentamente,
lo que exige atención,
lo que demanda esfuerzo.

 Amo la austeridad de los que escriben
como el que excava en un pozo
o repara el esmalte de una taza. 

Mi habla es un murmullo,
una simple presencia que en la noche,
en las proximidades del vacío,
se impone por sí sola contra el miedo,
contra la soledad que nos revela
lo pequeños que somos. 

El poeta no ha elegido el futuro.
El poeta ha elegido descalzarse en el umbral del desierto.

Basilio Sánchez
LOEWE Prize 2018
He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes

The award ceremony and book presentation will take place in March 2019. Winning books are published by Editorial Visor.

Photo Captions: Basilio Sánchez, winner of the 31st  LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize. Moment of deliberation of the Jury. Jury of the LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize, with Enrique Loewe, Sheila Loewe and Chus Visor © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation, 2018.

LOEWE Craft Prize 2019 – Submissions period now closed

The deadline to enter this year´s LOEWE Craft Prize passed at midnight on October 31. We have been utterly overwhelmed by the response and quality of the work submitted, receiving more than 2500 entries from over 100 countries. We would like to thank everyone who has participated. If you were unable to enter, there is always next year.

Now we hand over the reins to our esteemed Experts Panel who will be reviewing the submissions over the course of the next three months, after which the shortlist of finalists will be officially announced.

The sincere poetry of Luciana Reif

“In my mind’s eye, this prize was something so unattainable that I had subconsciously eliminated it from my memory”, explains Luciana Reif (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1990), winner of the 30th LOEWE Foundation Young Poets Award. When she received the call from Spain, for a few minutes she naively thought ” it must be some kind of joke”. Fortunately for everyone, it wasn’t; and her book of poems Un hogar fuera de mí is now included in the list of winners and has been published by Editorial Visor.

“I had a special kind of faith in this book, an intuition of sorts, that made me wish that something special cross its path; I pondered the decision over and over again… until I finally submitted it. The book had something, and I didn’t want that something getting lost among a multitude of voices. ” A collection of poems where, Reif recognizes, she poured a lot of herself; “I don’t know if that’s good or bad, because it’s very autobiographical, it’s a reflection of my life’s journey, the transition from adolescence to adulthood, what it means to be a woman … issues that, in my day-to-day, I find problematic. “Reif has turned those conflicts into poems in which sometimes” fears become bigger than what they really are. The poetic self is quite deep, dark, and complex. I found that if I wrote two or three poems in a row, the level of anxiety I felt was such that I had to stop”. So, with this book, Luciana Reif has allowed herself to “play a little more than in real life, because one has to live, go to work, have relationships with one’s partner and one’s friends; in real life one has to be more level-headed”.

Reif wishes to preserve a creative authenticity that has her thinking that “it is inspiration that pushes a poem out, in that the verses emerge from things that may have been doing a dance in my head; and then suddenly they shoot out and then it’s like a domino effect.” She hopes “the prize helps me work better or helps me manage that authenticity. Otherwise, when the poem becomes something very rational, it appears when it so wishes, and one doesn’t see it before. I would like to keep that freshness, to feed it. I don’t want to see the poem before it exists”.

Among the poets Reif looks up to are Paula Jiménez España -who helped her edit the book-, Susana Thénon, Alejandra Pizarnik, Idea Vilariño, Marosa de Giorgio… “I read more women than men,” declares the Argentine poet, whose training in Sociology has given her a particular vision of the world. “Women are always portrayed from a more intimate perspective… their thought processes are portrayed to incite poetic discourse and there is an almost immediate need to transform that which is so deep and profound, such as motherhood or the bond with one’s partner. That is something that really speaks to me and that inspires me to write as well.” Thinking on the current moment, she adds: “I hope this prize doesn’t change my understanding of what poetry is, because if there is something that I recognize in Un hogar fuera de mí, is that it came out of something that was very sincere”.

La tarde que me acosté sobre mi mamá,
la tarde que apoyé mi cabeza
sobre su pecho y sentí
sus senos flacos y sus muslos
cansados debajo de las sábanas,
pensé en su torso tendiéndose con desgano
sobre el de mi papá; ella, la mejor gimnasta,
balanceándose una y otra vez
sobre la misma barra, el miembro viril
entre sus raspadas manos.
Mi madre, la gran equilibrista,
capaz de caminar sobre la cuerda floja
y mantenerse en pie.
Yo tenía ocho años ese mediodía
que volví a casa llorando, un chico
del colegio me arrinconó en el pasillo
me agarró fuerte de las muñecas
y besó mis labios.
Cualquier ser es un demonio
si no es una la que decide abrir
Las puertas de su cuerpo.

Luciana Reif
Un hogar fuera de mí, XXX Loewe Foundation Young Poet’s International Award.

Photo Captions: Luciana Reif at the presentation of the XXX LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Award © Álvaro Tomé for Fundación Loewe, 2018.

Ida Vitale, FIL Prize in Romance Languages

Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale has recently been named as the winner of the 28th FIL Prize in Romance Languages awarded by the Guadalajara (Mexico) International Book Fair. “Her clear poetic voice, closely tied to the natural world, artistic expression, and the passage of time, is able to bring new life to tradition and affirm her presence in the modern world”, stated the judging panel in its decision. With poems such as The Light of this Memory, Procurement of the Impossible, Dictionary of Affinities, Constancy’s Dreams and Each in His Own Night, Vitale has become a point of reference in today’s poetic creation and is an integral part of the group of writers known as the Generation of 45.

Ida Vitale was a member of the 27th Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize jury and was asked to introduce the book Contratono by Colombian poet María Gómez Lara, winner of the Young Poet’s Award. In 2014, Vitale participated in a Loewe Talk together with writer Soledad Puértolas, who is also a member of the Loewe Poetry Prize jury.

Born in Montevideo in 1923 – as the fourth generation of Italian emigrants – Vitale grew up in an intellectual environment that inspired her to study Humanities; a disciple of José Bergamín and a faithful follower of Juan Ramón Jiménez, Vitale crystallized as a poet, essayist, professor and literary critic; no less important are her translations of works by such authors as Luigi Pirandello or Simone de Beauvoir, amongst others. In 1974, fleeing the dictatorship that hit Uruguay, Vitale sought exile in Mexico, where she remained for ten years. She currently lives in the US. A collaborator of numerous newspapers and magazines, her link to Mexico had her serve on the advisory board of Vuelta magazine and be a member of the group that founded newspaper Unomásuno. She has an honorary PhD from the University of Uruguay and some of the many awards she has received throughout her career include the Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize (2009), Spain’s Queen Sophia of Ibero-American Poetry Award (2015), the Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize (2016), and the Max Jacob Poetry Prize (2017).

Ida Vitale will accept the FIL Award in Romance Languages next November in Mexico, a few weeks after celebrating her 95th birthday.

Photo Captions: Ida Vitale at the presentation of Contratono, by María Gómez Lara, winner of the 27thLoewe Foundation Young Poet’s Award. Ida Vitale with Sheila Loewe and Soledad Puértolas at the Loewe Gran Vía store © Uxío da Vila, 2014.