When entering the Galería La Cometa (C/San Lorenzo 11, Madrid) one feels the feeling of being entering some heaven. The light, the layout of the works and the smile of Paloma Jaramillo form that ensemble that one can only find in places that shine with their own light. We talked with the gallerist about the perception of art, elitism, and artistic language that, she claims, is universal.
Meik Magazine.- How does one decide to be a gallerist?
Paloma Jaramillo.- Well in my case I didn’t decide to be a gallerist, life took me, brought me to this place. My father founded La Cometa Gallery in Colombia 35 years ago and now we have three spaces. Here I came…
MM.- In Spain we say that from “caste comes to the greyhound”…
PJ.- (Smile) Something like that, something like that… Somehow in my teens I was kind of rebellious, being independent and so on… But art was always part of my life, from a young time my father always took us to the gallery, to visit artist spaces, museums, so yes, somehow it was always part of it, I can’t imagine life without art.
MM.- Is there a future in art?
PJ.- Absolutely, absolutely. Art has always been somehow a witness and the language of history. It’s a way of understanding what we’re going through, what we’re feeling… then it’s definitely going to be. And it’s going to be part of us.
MM.- is it a catalyst?
PJ.- Between other things. I think so, that for the artist definitely and for the viewer, for the collector, for those who believe that they do not understand art there is always a message. Definitely.
MM.- The way you define the Comet is as a place designed to facilitate dialog between the viewer, the work of art and the artists. What language do you speak in order to understand these three vertices?
PJ.- Every artist is a very particular universe. Each artist has a language, but finally it is a universal language and Gallery The Comet is shown as a platform for speaking these languages.
MM.- With this in mind, I suppose choosing which projects are going to occupy a space in the gallery is complicated. What criteria do you follow when finding what to exhibit?
PJ.- La Cometa focused on the promotion of contemporary Latin American art, more and more we focus on identifying, focusing, contemporary artists, especially in Colombia, which is where we started. But when you approach an artist there are different criteria but above all you have to feel a connection on a personal level. Beyond a criterion it is a connection, beyond the professional subject it becomes a spiritual connection as well.
MM.- Is it necessary to understand art to value it?
PJ.- It is not necessary, I think that it has happened to all of us that it generates some emotion. Let’s say that art as an industry, as a sector, has been done a bit … people feel a bit intimidated when approaching a gallery. You feel like you don’t understand. And I have always thought that it is important – and that this is a task between all of us – that museums, curators, galleries … make art more inclusive and that people feel invited because this is ultimately for everyone. Anyone can achieve a connection beyond understanding.
MM.- Do you think people think it is something elitist?
PJ.- I think so, and you really need a certain purchasing power in commercial terms, but there are so many other ways to interact with art. And I think it is the job of the gallery owner to make it inclusive for everyone.
MM.- Do you notice that participation of governments when it comes to projecting art as a commonplace?
PJ.- Fortunately there is a lot of support from the government and strong institutions, the Reina Sofía, institutions that support galleries, exhibitors, there are many works in public places. We hope that in Colombia we will reach that point at some point.
MM.- You work between two cultures that, although in a certain way they are twinned, are different. What differences do you find between Colombian and Spanish art? Roughly.
PJ- Since I have been here I think that for the viewer, for the public there is a sensitivity that can be felt much more here in Spain. In Colombia we are getting there little by little. More appreciation and value to all artistic manifestations and that gives pleasure. As for the artists, I feel that finally the artists talk about what they see and what they are going through that greatly influences their historical context and in Colombia we have had quite a few years at the level of violence, war and of course these have been issues that the Colombian artists have developed a lot in recent years. Spain has experienced a different historical context, so from that point of view, the manifestations are completely different.