It sounds like a very simple thing to do, but in fact it is radical, even revolutionary. Because in the midst of a health and economic crisis, the true dimensions of which are still barely known, with the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the short and medium term, what made a young woman, qualified in architecture and fine arts, who trained in Madrid and Florence, open a contemporary art gallery on the outskirts of a town which is some distance from a big city? "Because," says María Rosa Jurado, "nothing else makes me happy".
Her enthusiasm has been matched by her determination to open Eldevenir, the online project she created five years ago which has now moved into physical form with the inauguration of the gallery in Torrox.
"I have done things the other way round," she says. "I spent five years learning, seeing what art galleries do, and I found that the virtual space wasn't enough for me, I needed more contact with the artists and the public."
For her first exhibition, María Rosa is featuring Marbella photographer Jesús Chacón, in a display called 'Acompaño a mi sombra', a look at the last 20 years of his works, which range from nude portraits to snapshots in a staged setting.
"For me, photography always starts in the form of a dialogue. In the case of the portraits there is a connection with the person in the image, while in the works with a staged setting, that relationship tries to establish itself with the whole of the context represented and, in both cases, I always make bridges for the spectator," says Chacón .
The exhibition, which will continue until 14 February, brings together Chacón's works from his vocational and diverse aesthetic series. If the initial 'Kabilia' denotes a certain haunting surrealism with its documentary appearance, 'Instantes/Invisibles' isolates the subjects in scenes with a greater affiliation to the pictorial. From the colour and saturation of this series, Chacón travelled to the subtle black and white of 'Miradas de una ciudad', in which he took the pulse of the cultural life of Marbella through different photos of some of its protagonists, among them the portrait of David Delfín which became one of the most popular pictures of the designer, who died in 2017.
That individual isolation portrayed in the images of 'Instantes/Invisibles' returns with 'Ausentes', where Chacón portrays personages self-absorbed with their respective mobile phones, the only source of light in the scenes in this series, which then gives way to the aesthetic and conceptual turnaround brought about by the photographer's most recent works in 'Fotogramas'.
Here, those featured in the portraits share the protagonism and the carefully staged settings which, in a way, close Chacón's creative circle through the same dreamlike, almost surrealist, air of those images of Kabilia taken two decades ago.
The Andalusian setting
María Rosa has also agreed exhibitions at Eldevenir with Jesús Zurita, José Luis Puche and Simón Zabell. She has a particular interest in Andalusian contemporary art, which also represents one of the essential lines of work in her project, and she has also been attending art fairs such as Just Madrid, Just Lisboa and Arte Santander.
"The project has been asking for this step," says this young entrepreneur, who from now on will be combining her online activity with the programme for her gallery on the eastern side of Malaga.
"Torrox can be as good a place as any other. I am convinced there is a need to delocalise art, because I believe that what mobilises people is the quality of the project, and of the artists. I have never gone to a gallery because I just happened to be passing," she says. "The physical relationship between the spectator and the work is essential. Most works are created to be appreciated in person, not on a screen in the same way as video art."
It is this conviction that led María Rosa to open her gallery and she explains her general strategy: "You need to have very good communication, professionalism and good collaborations. This is a time when the galleries should be joining forces and all pulling together, like a rowing team".
But is it so easy to all pull together and row against the current of the ongoing crisis and a general sense of dejection?
"You mean because this is a difficult sector?" muses María Rosa. "But they are all difficult. Every Monday I have felt like dropping out of the race, but every Monday I just carried on anyway".
Why? Perhaps it was because it really was the only thing that made her happy.