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Architect & Director of KPF Associates

Pedro Font Alba is an architect and collector. Originally from Sevilla, he is today the director of a major international architectural practice and for many years has taught design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Artsper interviewed him to know more about his tastes in art and get some advice for our collectors !

1. Could you tell us a little about your career path and background as the renowned architect that you are?
{Pedro Font-Alba}: Thank you for the compliment but I practice architecture as part of a team – I am not a star architect by any means. I studied at the School of Architecture of Seville, and I have continued my education working in London and New York. I then got postgraduate degree at the Bartlett, UCL. I have taught an architecture design unit at UCL for ten years now, and am Director at KPF Associates in Covent Garden.

2. How did you develop an interest in contemporary art?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: Contemporary art is a manifestation of our times – I think everyone should takes part and have an interest in it. Architecture has visual culture embedded in it – we have to communicate our key ideas with images and scaled constructions. We make drawings and diagrams to help digest and give sense to ideas that combine culture, space, and material form. Contemporary art engages with similar tools, but perhaps in a freer mode.

3. What masterpiece impresses you most?
{Pedro Font-Alba}: A masterpiece is charged, electric, and makes the hairs stand out on your neck. It is scary and beautiful at the same moment. Rather than focusing on the work of a master maker, I think it is interesting to think of how the work speaks and how it describes what we are. Maybe another characteristic of what we think of as a masterpiece or master work is that it seems visionary– it feels like it precedes our own understanding. Some works I think of often – and find myself re-reading, if you will.
Gillian Wearing – Dancing in Peckham, 1994, seems to anticipate many aspect of our introspective and yet exhibitionist culture.
Yves Klein – Le saut dans le vide (Leap into the void) plays with a central human belief – “seeing is believing”. Does the artist have the power of flight or is this a leap into oblivion? Cornelia Parker – Measuring Niagara with a Teaspoon uses charged material to explore the value, the weight of representation. It is beautiful and sublime.

4. In 2014 you founded SCAN, a digital platform to promote contemporary Spanish artists in the UK. How did the project begin?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: SCAN began with 4 friends inspired by and at the same time frustrated with the lack of opportunities in London. There are so many possibilities and we wanted to know why nobody was doing anything. Somehow this question stuck with us – and we found ourselves putting something together, layering, connecting strands and building a coherent project. At first it worked with the commitment of the small group, and then as it grew and we found more collaborators, the project was pushed by a real group energy.

5. What is SCAN today?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: SCAN (Spanish Contemporary Art Network) is a platform that highlights the work of the best Spanish and Latin American artists. We are a non-profit foundation. Before last summer we were largely a digital network. Now we have curated, organised, and found funding for an ambitious exhibition called SATURATION.

{Artsper}: How do you choose the artists you represent?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: We highlight artists and artworks, we do not represent artists. With the help of guest curators, we create the SCAN INDEX that forms the core of the SCAN project. Curators are invited by us, and they select artists. We want the selections to be varied and broad in that it both represent the interest and taste of the curators, but also a snapshot of the current Spanish art production. For this reason we intend to rotate the curators –to refresh and introduce new points of view. SCAN is an evolving project.

{Artsper}: On June 25th started SATURATION, an exhibition taking place in three different galleries of London. What is the concept of this first show?

The exhibition examines the persistence of painting in art production. Through the work of 17 Spanish painters showed in 3 different venues in London over the summer 2015, SCAN asks questions about the discipline of painting, its skills and materials, in an age of image saturation.

{Artsper}: What has been the biggest challenge for the Spanish Contemporary Art Network so far?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: Our biggest challenge now is to find and sustain sufficient funding to carry on the SCAN project. Exhibitions and curated publications are important tools for engaging a larger audience for Spanish and Latin artists – and this scale of endeavour needs support.

{Artsper}: Could you name your favourite artist discovered during to the SCAN venture?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: Almost every day I discover a new favourite artist. This reflects the incredible quality of the new generation of Spanish and Latin artists.

{Artsper}: What are your plans for SCAN in the future?

{Pedro Font-Alba}: Onward and upward! We will continue the digital platform. We want to expand and extend our exhibition series and publications. We want to engage with a broader spectrum of the community in the form of workshops and educational projects. And we want to continue to actively support artists – connecting them to collectors, gallerists, curators, and creative and collaborative opportunities.

{Artsper}: What is your favourite place to discover new artworks (fair, event, online platform, gallery, museum…)?
{Pedro Font-Alba}: My favourite place to discover new artists is around a table – we have made our most interesting connections through expanding networks. Great artists hang out with other great artists.

{Artsper}: What do you think about the internet as a way to disseminate art?
{Pedro Font-Alba}: The positive aspect of the internet for disseminating art is the reach and the possibility of transmitting via unpredictable networks. The spread can be surprising and democratic.
Although this can also be limited – or more limited than it can appear. Digital work of course is created for this media, but most works are best seen in the flesh.

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Fernando García Ponce, Composition 3, Print

Fernando García Ponce

Composition 3, 1978
22 x 29.9 inch


Eduardo Chillida, Composition pour les JO, Print

Eduardo Chillida

Composition pour les JO, 1992
35.4 x 24.8 x 0.4 inch


Fernando García Ponce, Composition 2, Print

Fernando García Ponce

Composition 2, 1978
22 x 29.9 inch