While many countries in Europe are keeping arts venues closed due to Covid-19, Spain is doing its best to make sure people can still go to art galleries.
In Madrid, surrealist works from artists including Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Gaudi have gone on show in an exhibition at the Caixaforum.
It aims to show how surrealists of the 20th century are still relevant today.
The exhibition’s curator is the Vitra Design Museum Director, Mateo Kries.
“Of course, it’s not a coat hanger, it looks like a cactus, but they think you can hang your coat here, and then they also made this miniature of this coat hanger,” explained Kries, holding up an exhibit by Italian designers Studio65. “So, what is typical and surreal about this is that there is an irritation between the image of an object and the function. It looks like a cactus but it has a function that you have to discover while using it. So, there is the element of surprise and of irritation.”
Kries is amongst many who back the importance of art in helping people improve their mental health during this time.
“We are all confronted with stress and with frustration,” he explained. “Culture in general and also this exhibition can bring us away for a while from that world and it can allow us to recover, to recover mentally, to discover another world.”
Among the 279 works on show are Shiro Kuramata’s 1970 curved Chest of drawers and Horse Lamp by the design couple Front in 2006. Marcel Duchamp’s 1913 Bicycle Wheel is also featured.
For the organisers, it’s important that people can access art even in the middle of a pandemic.
“I know there are countries that have closed museums while shopping centres are open,” explained the Caixa Bank Foundation’s Exhibition Director Isabel Salgado. “Here at Caixaforum, we are committed to culture. Culture forms our imagination, it explains ourselves. Therefore we are open, keeping the safe distance, all hygiene measures, and we have experts on hand who help to make it a more rewarding visit for people.”
To help ensure the safety of visitors Caixaforum has reduced the capacity and number of visits by offering specific time slots for entry and masks must be worn.