Guernica, Picasso, 1937
In terms of the non-permanent exhibitions, these were much more contemporary in terms of the challenging, conceptual installation and sculptural pieces. Here are just a few of the best from a pick of several exhibitions on show during my visit.
Metonymy, Christina Iglesias, 6 February- 13 May 2013
From the moment that her work was first exhibited in the mid-1980s, Spanish sculptor Christina Iglesias has employed a wide-ranging aesthetic that is as indebted to poetry, literature and architectural theory as it is to the discourse of sculpture. She has consequently explored key issues relating to sculpture, first, as an art form- an object- designed for presentation in gallery and museum spaces, and, second, in its site specific guises, as a public art, seen for example in the doors she created for the recent extension to the Prado Museum in Madrid. In both areas of her practice, Iglesias is highly attentive to the ways in which space may operate as a repository of memory, and a location for speculation and reverie.
This exhibition includes over fifty pieces, is the largest retrospective of this artist that has been held to date, and it covers her earliest work up through her most recent creations. Over these three decades, Cristina Iglesias has been very interested in redefining sculpture as an expanded field that leads to a questioning of the object in its relationship with space and architecture. Her sculptures integrate with the architecture of the places they occupy, and thus play with the interweaving of reality and appearances. Her artworks generate suggestive fictional worlds and set aside all utilitarian purposes, to become settings conducive to reflective observation. Intersections between the natural world and the cultural world are frequently seen in her work, with shadows, cascades, whirlpools and foliage, in which the idea of refuge is a recurring metaphor.
The artist has displayed unceasing interest in a wide range of materials, such as alabaster, tapestry, glass, resin, aluminium, bronze, iron, cement, wood, concrete… Even water makes an appearance as yet another sculptural element, playing a leading role in some of her public projects, which are discussed in the series of videos entitled Guided Tours. The exhibition is completed by a review of her serigraphs on copper and cloth.
(Exhibition press release)
A constant visual exploration of light, shadow, pattern, colour, and a textural experience in a vast array of materials, this exhibition has given me inspiration in creating installational and sculptural work in my own art practice, and an incite into how sculpture can envelope and encompass the viewer, and become an interactive experience as opposed to just standing back and viewing something three-dimensionally.