Reina Sofia, Round Three

4 11 2010

[[round one can be found here]]
[[round two can be found here]]

I’ve been looking forward to the third floor of la Reina Sofia since Leah gushed to me about a German artist featured in the temporary exhibit area that she adored. This Sunday is the Day of Destiny.

The sparsely populated terrace of the museum, recommended to me by Fausto, is dotted by ergonometric benches and lined by the faux-peril of glass walls. I get a new perspective on the black and white bacon.

The intriguing German artist turns out to be Hans-Peter Feldman, whose exhibit is full of clippings from newspapers and magazines. Collages! I love collages!

My personal foray into collage work focused on advertising copy, particularly the attention-grabbing headlines (“Fairies! But Don’t Be Fooled,” “Now Tell Her Where The Thermometer Needs To Go,” “Famous Blowhards,” etc). Feldman works with images, playing with commercialism and sexuality, the extraordinary made banal. I dig it immediately.

Feldman’s photo work is a striking catalogue of the everyday. I’m reminded of Edward Weston’s famous pepper photography.

He’s most successful, though, when he works with the human body and its bits and bobbles.

This room contains portraits of 100 friends and acquaintances of Feldman, each at a different year of his/her life and arranged accordingly. Walking from one end to the other invites an eerie awareness of the progression of age, of our own inclusion on this blown-up lifeline.

“¡El arte tiene derecho a ser malo!” – Hans-Peter Feldman
(“Art has the right to be bad!”)

Sequestered behind a foreboding curtain lies a cavern illuminated with swirling shadow: the myriad forms of a spinning cavalcade of plasticky toys and utensils of all sorts are projected onto the long wall.

The other half of the third floor belongs to José Val del Omar, a famous Spanish filmmaker. The exhibit doesn’t call to me as much as Feldman’s, but it does have lasers.

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Reina Sofia, Round Two

4 10 2010

[[round one can be found here]]

In constrast to the rotating collections housed on the first, the Reina Sofia’s second floor is much more of a study of various historical phases of modern art. I pass the nippy Sunday morning in the company of Picasso and Dalí.

It’s fascinating to me how aesthetic appeal is so fluid, how certain forms and colors captivate the eyes of one while being completely glossed over by anothers’. I might argue that the masters of this floor understood this in a much more intense way than anyone before them ever had.

Yeah, there’s also Guernica. It’s totally incredible, yes, way way more so than the postage-stamp-sized Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I still don’t like crowds. Someone could do a study of how Guernica changes from being observed so much, reproduced so often. So many camera flashes, instantaneous iterations of “great art.” Barthes would have a word or three.

Her. This. This I just love. Her pose, the colors, the light, the plant-object in the back, her fingers touching hair, the hint of abdominal muscles, the folds in the sheet. “I would have this in my house.”

I still don’t like you, Joan Miró.





Reina Sofia

24 09 2010

El Prado may be masterful in many ways – you gotta love Goya’s Black Paintings, and it’s jaw-dropping to picture the labyrinth of scaffolding required to attempt some of the 10+-foot-high works casually displayed along its hallowed halls. But look – and I’m well aware I’m a philistine in this respect, thank you very much – room after room after room of solemn portraiture alongside bleeding Christ figures bums me out.

Because we’re all about un poco de todo here at con tomates, it is overtly obvious that the even closer Reina Sofia coyly beckons for our patronage. In a manner of speaking, anyway; Sunday late mornings from 10 AM – 2:30 PM offer totally free entry to seekers of the disturbingly bizarre, the beautifully macabre, the subtly unsettling, and the straight-up funky.

Gargantuan B&W bacon informs us that we are in the right place. Our grupito consists of Leah, Emily, Marta, Hannah, and myself, and we agree that we ought to take advantage of the proximity of our piso to the museum, and as such take it slow. We’ll try for just one floor today, and aim to reconvene next week to explore the next.

Museums don’t tend to work so well with this large of a group, and we quickly part ways – which is dandy; this way each can view con calma the works she finds most intriguing. A small selection of what I feast my artistic (non)sensibilities on:

The following three are all details from the same enormous canvas:

Genuine!