Insanity or Genius? – Deciding for ourselves at Museo Reina Sofia

Having student cards in Madrid either proved to be really lucky (if you ask me) or really unlucky (if you ask Daniel). I had heard through the grapevine that the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, housing modern artists such as Picasso and Dali, was supposed to be world class and when I heard it was free, I was more than a little excited to go.

I am by no means an expert on art and even when I studied it as a year 12 student my art teacher was worried about the end of year score I would get. So with this in mind, please don’t take anything of what we say about art too seriously because bottom line, we have no idea what we are on about.

Entering the museum was a good start for Daniel. He wasn’t too excited about going to an art museum and didn’t really try to hide it. He really didn’t try to hide it when we entered one of the exhibitions to find four pieces of steel set out in a room…

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After this, Daniel was about ready to leave, worried that the rest of the museum would turn out similarly.

The next exhibition we went to was by a man called James Coleman who does some really freaky audiovisual stuff. We had to go down in to the basement to enter one piece and as soon as got to the door I couldn’t enter. As you walked down the stairs all you could hear was this loud “Thump” that would sound every five seconds and when we reached the bottom, the noise was so loud we couldn’t really hear ourselves talk and the room you needed to go in was pitch black. I was instantly paralysed with fear and refused to go in. When Daniel came out he actually admitted that it was really scary. The room was completely pitch black except for a projector playing snippets of two boxers on each of the thumps and then it would freeze while someone was whispering in the background “Break it….Break it”. I cant even describe to you how freaked out I was.

The rest of his exhibition was similarly odd. One projection was just of a clock flickering and the other was a flickering movie that showed a lot of trees.

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Moving on to another room we saw some minimalist works and works that demonstrated a period where artists started being more politically aware.

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Daniel was definitely a bit fed up by the point, neither of us really understanding the significance of checkerboards on the floor and a wooden window stuck to the wall.

We then moved on and saw some Dali and I was excited to see the whacky film he made playing on the projector as I studied this in a literature unit at university. Having forgot all the significance of the movie though I just sort of sat there gawking as I remembered how strange it was. The rest of his work was quite cool and I really enjoy some of his work.

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The massive draw card of this museum is Picasso’s most famous work “Guernica” which was his visual protest of the Germans and Italians bombing the little town of Guernica with the permission of Franco during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. The painting shows the tragedy of war and depicts how often those who suffer the most are innocent civilians. The painting became huge after being shown at the World Fair in 1937 and raised awareness of the Spanish Civil War. The painting then became synonymous with suffering during war and when it was kept in a New York Museum during the Vietnam War many people held anti war vigils near the painting.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any photos of the painting but it really was an amazing sight. It was massive, very striking and I’m definitely glad I saw it!

What do you guys think of modern art? Love it, or hate it? Insanity or Genius??

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