Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Defense of Contemporary Art

In 1958, Yves Klein exhibited Le Vide (The Void) at the Iris Clert Gallery. The exhibition was an empty room: he removed everything in the gallery space except a large cabinet and he painted every surface white. The exhibitions color was blue: the large cabinet was blue, like the windows; a blue curtain was hung in the entrance lobby and blue cocktails were served. Because of the artificial color in the drink, the day after people had blue urine. 

Yves Klein, Le vide, 1958
Thanks to the enormous publicity, 3000 people were forced to queue up, waiting to be let into an empty room and to drink blue cocktails.
A lot of people might think: What has he done?, Is this art?, Where is the painting?, Is there any sculpture?, Why is the gallery empty? 

There isn’t any picture or sculpture. We just have an idea, "the specialization of the sensibility in the raw material state into stabilized pictorial sensibility", and its realization. 

Someone might think that this isn’t art, that it is a joke but no, I’m sorry, this is art. By and large people analyze art from an aesthetic point of view: a work has to have an aesthetic and a formal value, good proportions, an excellent drawing under the colors and, in the majority of cases, represent an important historical or a religious event. This is correct if we consider art of the past (ancient, medieval and modern) but wrong if we refer to contemporary art.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Silent Music

Last year I had the opportunity of attending a conference that, within the program Enfoques organized by the Foundation of Friends of the Prado Museum, was given by Profesosor María Nagora. Entitled "Silent Music", the conference was about the similarities between the work of the painter known as El Greco and the Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria.

The class took place next the the work Adoration of the shepherds painted by El Greco around 1614, and its aim was to show the parallelism existing between this painting and the piece O magnum misterium by Tomás Luis de Victoria, in order to help us seeing the painting's "silent music".

El Greco. The Annuntiation (detail), 1597-1600. Museo del Prado

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Is Art Worth a Life?

Is art worth a life? Is it worth risking your life to safe a work of art? This question, posed by Bernard Taper during an interview, appears constantly through out Robert M. Edsel’s book, The Monuments Men.

The Monuments Men relates the story of a group of art specialists –curators, architects, sculptors and professors- that, enlisted in the army, helped during the final years of the  Second World War to preserve the European cultural heritage and to recover the artworks requisitioned by the Nazis. In the last year they recovered around 5 million pieces.

While performing their duty, logically, the Monuments section had to face the question we are dealing with: is art worth a life? How far can you go to preserve art?

Some of the men who accompanied Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine back to Cracovia in April 1946. College Park National Archive, MD.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sala 12

It all started around a table...

It was the table in which we worked in the Prado Museum, a place where we not only spent long hours in conversation, but also where our friendship began. Little by little, we conceived the idea of creating a blog where we could express and share our reflections about what we know and we love the most: Art and History, that's to say: Culture.

Once the idea had taken shape, we found the first challenge: to find the right name for the blog. After many names and infinite lists, the idea had a name: Sala 12 (Room 12)

But Sala 12 is not just a name, it is the place of a universal icon: Las Meninas. A painting that represents not just a point of reference for Art but also for the place that guards it; the place in which our project started: the Prado Museum.

In this space we want to share everything we have learned through our academic studies and incipient professional career. We believe that culture is not just a group of isolated compartments, but quite the opposite: the unity of different disciplines which speak, ultimately, about humanity. Just like in a swimming pool, where the same water fills all the lanes.. And this conviction is, definitively, what we want to communicate.