I love art. I love museums. I like the way shoes echo through the open space. I like the clean walls and beautiful typography. I enjoy looking at the masterpieces inside, but I have never before felt any sort of life changing revelation until I went to Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Their permanent collection was beautiful: the Elly Strik exhibit haunting, the Picasso’s Guernica was way bigger than I thought and made me think of a thousand different situations all at once, and the Salvador Dali showcase was way more detailed and colorful than you can see on a computer; but that’s not the one that stuck.
The exhibition “Biographical Forms. Construction and Individual Mythology,” was without a doubt the most beautiful collaboration of art I had ever experienced, and it was an experience.
The exhibit focuses on the human identity as one based on subjective construction and reconstruction. The art, paired with the artists’ notes and ramblings, depicts the human condition as one based on biographical legend and a muddled construction of individual mythology, the dark place we think we feel, the realm of potential in this life, and the relationship of the soul to art, culture, and social belonging. These artists display humanities’ deepest flaws through their own torment and confusion in an experimental juxtaposition of self-proclaimed identity in relation to mythology and personal legend. Some were silly confusions, corky reminders that one’s destiny is what you make of it.
Others made me think of nightmares, the ones you have over and over that you know you’re dreaming but the dream is so real it’s almost as though it’s really happening. These are the nightmares that bring us back to some primitive space in our souls that we purposely forget exists. These artists embrace the darkness and it’s almost like they evoke it onto the canvas and into their words, forcing us to reconcile that truth within ourselves, to acknowledge our connection to a piece that we are afraid to know.
Some were heartbreaking. The below was a mirage of photography and showed scene from a bunch of nameless individuals. There was so much pain, so much sadness: a prostitute giving head, a decapitated bird, a woman on her deathbed; and intermingled with them the hope of redemption: a mother recovering from knee surgery, a boy in the snow, a jetstream with the word “choose,” a colorful birds nest. I stared at this one for a while, trying to make sense of it all and I felt so sad. My heart was bursting at the imagery and the whole piece seemed to scream out that the world is exactly how you make it.
Museo Reina Sofia is my favorite museum of all time. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to feel a real intimacy with art.
“The time is right – To re-do the history of man.” – Orientation