Once again, the Hay Festival officially kicks off with the inauguration of the exhibitions that are part of its visual arts programme. The tour will begin in La Alhóndiga which hosts a retrospective of one of the most famous Spanish reporters, the photographer César Lucas. The exhibition Snapshots Imprinted on the National Retina shows some of the best-known images of a photojournalist who forged his career at dailies such as Pueblo and El País, of which he was a founding member. He later worked for magazines of Grupo Z. Che Guevara’s visit to Madrid from 1959 or the mythical cover of Interviú that marked the passage of the girl Marisol to the actress Pepa Flores are some of the photographs that remain on the national consciousness of several generations of Spaniards.
The tour then moves on to Esteban Vicente Museum to open the exhibition Hágase en mi, según tu palabra by the Spanish multimedia artist Ana de Alvear, who specialized in large-format works. It is an installation that occupies the presbytery and the nave of the chapel inspired by the biblical passage of the Annunciation. A Virgin who shelters herself at the announcement of the Archangel Saint Gabriel and a choir of contemporary angels make up the installation. Ana de Alvear is also an exhibition curator and founder of the VIVA video art project that brings together artists of various nationalities and who has travelled the world from Madrid to Shanghai.
The third stop is at the church of San Juan de los Caballeros where the exhibition The Living Sea presents the images of committed conservationist Hussain Aga Khan. Underwater photographs inspire dialogue about the fragility and beauty of life in the oceans and the danger that climate change poses to species. Specializing in photographing nature, from the Amazon rain forest of Brazil to the oceans of the entire planet, Hussain Aga Khan has exhibited in the US, France, Switzerland, Kenya and his images have appeared on National Geographic blogs. An important part of his activity is channelled through projects and foundations whose mission is to improve the management of natural resources. In 2004, he founded Focused on Nature, which channels funds for the protection of endangered species.
The tour concludes at the Huerta de Félix Ortiz where the Colombian artist Alberto Baraya shows his greenhouse of flowers and plants made of cloth and plastic: Tropical “Mutisian” Greenhouse. Baraya’s exhibition explores natural conservation and a reflection on the relationship between fiction and reality. His participation in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial brought him international recognition. There he exhibited a two-metre-high rubber tree made with latex as a metaphor for the product obtained from said tree.
Free, but ticketed
Photography of Venice: © César Lucas, courtesy of the author
Arcangel Gabriel Altarpriece – Color pencil drawing – Size 70 x 100 cm © Ana de Alvear 2019, courtesy of the artist
Prince Hussain Aga Khan © Shari Plant Plummer
Artificial plant greenhouse – Artistic installation © Alberto Baraya, 2020, courtesy of Fernando Pradilla Gallery
In February Maribel López became the Managing Director of ARCO, one of the most important contemporary art fairs in the world. However, this art historian and curator of exhibitions was no stranger to the festival with which she has been associated since 2102 as marketing director and programme curator. Her career has always been linked to galleries, having run her own art centre in Berlin. She also participated in the Estrany-de la Mota project in Barcelona and worked alongside the curating teams of Creatures and The Office.
Caniche Editorial specialises in publishing artist’s books and the production of “assaults”—disrupting solutions that shatter through conventional circuits, thus enabling contemporary art initiatives from writing to plastic arts, including architecture, photography, installations and performances. The directors Carlos Copertone and Patxi Eguiluz join the conversation.
In case of rain, the event will take place at the same time inside the Torreón de Lozoya.
Photographs of Maribel López and Caniche Editorial: courtesy of Around Art
Coorganised with Around Art. With the collaboration of Arco, Caniche Editorial and Caja Segovia Foundation
European cultural institutions serve as a bridge between science, art and society. Since 2009 and after heading CosmoCaixa Madrid, Isabel Fuentes – who studied biology in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and obtained a doctorate in Museum Studies from the Musée Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris – is the Director of CaixaForum Madrid. Her two lines of work, scientific communication and cultural management, had already come together in a common objective in Residencia de Estudiantes or the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC). A keen student of metaphors in the rhetoric of scientific exhibitions, in 2015 she ventured into fiction with her first novel Un gen fuera de la ley (A Gene Out of Law).
The analysis of various initiatives at the heart of the European Union to generate links between research, culture and society will be the topic of conversation with Valerio Rocco. Since November 2019, this philosopher and writer has been at the helm of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the historic cultural institution in Madrid that has been granted the European Heritage Label. Rocco is also professor of the History of Modern Philosophy at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and has been Associate Dean of Research at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UAM. His lines of research have included Philosophy of Europe and Geopolitical Philosophy of History. He is currently taking part in Horizon 2020 research project “FAILURE”, on the concept and its reversibility.
With the collaboration of la Caixa Foundation, Círculo de Bellas Artes of Madrid and Segovia City Council