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Exhibition

La Quinta del Sordo. Philippe Parreno

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 6/3/2022 - 9/4/2022

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This 40-minute audiovisual work, made in collaboration with the Beyeler Foundation, has been created by the contemporary artist Philippe Parreno.

It will be shown until 4 September in an installation produced by Acciona Cultura in Room 64-65 of the Museo Nacional del Prado.

Using cutting-edge image and sound technology, Parreno brings to life Goya’s now vanished home, the Quinta del Sordo, where he created his disturbing “Black Paintings”.

This project aims to enrich visitors’ experience of the original “Black Paintings”, on display at the Museum in Room 67, in a new and previously unexplored way.

 

Access

Room 64-65. Villanueva Building
Time pass: during the purchase please select a time pass for the film. Please make sure that the time selected for your visit is prior to the time to the film.
Duration: 40 minutes

La Quinta del Sordo
A film by Philippe Parreno
Cinematographer: Darius Khondji
Editor: Ael Dallier Vega
Sound designer: Nicolas Becker

A project organized by:
Museo Nacional del Prado
With the collaboration of:
Fondation Beyeler
Produced by:
Acciona Cultura

Exhibition

The exhibition

The exhibition
La Quinta del Sordo

© Philippe Parreno

With this production by Acciona Cultura and in collaboration with the Beyeler Foundation, Room 64-65 of the Villanueva Building has been transformed into an intimate space for the projection of “La Quinta del Sordo”, a work by Philippe Parreno which offers visitors to the Museum the chance to travel back in time and experience the “Black Paintings” in the setting for which they were originally painted.

The project describes an invisible space, the Quinta del Sordo, where Goya lived before he left for exile in Bordeaux. Between 1819 and 1824 he executed a series of fourteen works known as the “Black Paintings” directly into the walls of the two floors of his house. The building was demolished in 1909 but the paintings remain associated with their original location.

The fourteen “Black Paintings” are on permanent display in Room 67 of the Prado’s Villanueva Building while Parreno’s “La Quinta del Sordo” can be seen in Room 64-65 where Goya’s two paintings that commemorate the popular uprising of 1808 against Napoleon’s forces are normally displayed: The 2nd of May 1808 in Madrid and The 3rd of May 1808 in Madrid (both of 1814). These have been temporarily moved for the duration of Philippe Parreno’s project to Room 75 where they will establish a striking dialogue with Velázquez’s painting The Surrender of Breda.

In Parreno’s “La Quinta del Sordo” the house is almost unoccupied and the air flows silently through it. The year is 1823, or perhaps 1825: this is not clear. Nor is the season of the year; it could be winter or summer, day or night. The images in this project establish connections between the paintings, forming a cosmology or universe which they themselves have created. As mythology has taught us, behind all cosmologies there is a cosmogeny, a process of the creation of universes, an attempt to order chaos. The original nymphs were associated with topography as both beings and spaces. This science-fiction film aims to represent that “space-existence”, a process in which Goya’s house becomes anthropomorphic so that it will forever remain a sublimation of the place in which the work of art was present.

To reproduce that space we have to travel in time. Parreno makes use of exceptionally fast cameras (500,000 frames per second) to record the paintings. Time makes contact with them and stops. The camera desperately scans the space in search of signs. Parreno reconstructs Goya’s house and garden in three dimensions in order to find its original acoustics. Where previously there was relief, now there is sound: that of fire and light traversing this forgotten space. The reflections of the lights in the paintings appear like lighthouse lanterns on the screen, intermittently illuminating what has long remained unlit. Here in the gallery visitors become immersed in a hidden world in which we find ourselves face to face with Goya’s “Black Paintings” in a rediscovered intimacy between the images and the ghost of a vanished space.

The painting are located on the right while on the left a fictional space appears in a film. Parreno guides visitors through the ritual of the projection. The film is shown several times each day at precise moments with a musician introducing each showing. Lamp light flickers in the gallery and the seats are arranged in a curve around the screen. Headphones allow for a binaural experience of the sound track which guides us into this interior world. The musician introduces himself before performing an original cello composition by J. M. Artero which leads into the film. This music is not audible with the headphones but it already disturbs the limits of this complex space. Interior and exterior combine, as do the imaginary and the real. The lights flicker and vary in intensity before fading into the darkness of the gallery.

In the artist’s words: “The principal issue in this work is that of image and space, regardless of the priority between the two, given that these two elements which constitute our realities stand out among all the other information, forming an indissoluble connection. This is an act of legerdemain between a space which becomes lost in its game of becoming an image, and images which aim to produce a space. ‘Hidden’ and ‘invisible’ beings appear and disappear in the film.”

For the making of this film Philippe Parreno worked with the internationally renowned director of photography Darius Khondji, the film editor Ael Dallier Vega, the Oscar-winning sound designer Nicolas Becker, and with Lexx, a music producer, sound engineer and co-inventor and co-founder of Bronze, a music-generating and AI platform and format.

Philippe Parreno: Biography

Philippe Parreno: Biography
Philippe Parreno. Photo © Ola Rindal / Paris.

Philippe Parreno is one of the most influential artists of his generation. He rose to prominence in the 1990’s by radically redefining what it means to ‘experience’ art by turning the dynamics of an exhibition into a situational process. He has transformed museum and exhibition spaces around the world in a series of blockbuster shows. His world has the ‘immersive, compellingly creepy feel of a good dystopian science-fiction movie’ (New York Times).

The artist is best known for his feature length film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which he made with Scottish artist Douglas Gordon. The two directors trained 17 cameras on legendary French midfielder, Zinedine Zidane, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, throughout his farewell match for Real Madrid against Villarreal in front of 80,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Ronaldo and David Beckham make cameo appearances and Scottish post-rock band Mogwai created the now iconic soundtrack for the film. The film premiered out of competition in 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, and in its first week of release it sold 49,686 tickets across France. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it ‘a hypnotic experience to which you must abandon yourself’ in his 4 star review and the NY Times’s Manohla Dargis described it as ‘a pleasure the movies have been cultivating since Muybridge’s 19th-century locomotion studies’. The film went on to win the New Vision Award (2006) and was also nominated for a César Award (2007).

Parreno worked with Iranian-French cinematographer Darius Khondji on Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and their collaboration has continued throughout his artistic career. In 2009 they worked together on June 8, 1968, a re-enactment of the scenes of people who lined the tracks to pay their respects as the train that transported Robert Kennedy’s body from New York to Washington for burial, ‘creating moments of indelible beauty and poignancy’ (2009, New York Times).

The pair famously collaborated on Parreno’s film Marilyn, where the artist conjured up the presence of the dead actress Marilyn Monroe, recreating the suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, where the actress stayed in the 1950s. The film debuted at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel in June 2012. Both June 8, 1968 and Marilyn continue to be presented in galleries and museums throughout the world to this day.

In 2007 Parreno co-curated the critically acclaimed Il Tempo del Postino, a time-based theatre performance, with Serpentine Gallery artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist. Premiering at the Manchester International Film Festival, the duo invited fifteen of the world’s most important artists including Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Carsten Holler, Olafur Eliasson and Tacita Dean to perform a work of no longer than fifteen minutes each. Il Tempo del Postino has since been recognised as the world’s first ‘visual arts opera’.

Over the course of his artistic career Parreno has received countless honours and awards.

Parreno has been honoured at the Locarno Film Festival multiple times over the years for his outstanding contribution to film. In 2014 the artist was appointed as an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts. 2015 saw the artist honoured by the Sculpture Center in New York, where then chief curator Mary Ceruti praised the artist’s collaborative nature. In 2019, Parreno was invited to participate in the 48th International Film Festival in Rotterdam (IFFR) where he presented the film work No More Reality Whereabouts (2019).

In 2021, LUMA Arles Foundation will open a permanent gallery designed by Frank Gehry, dedicated to the work of Parreno. The artist’s works are held in some of the most important art foundations in the world, including the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Pinault Collection.

In 2013, Parreno became the first artist in history to be given creative carte de blanche of the entire 22,000 square metre gallery space at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Here, Parreno showcased his monumental exhibition Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World. In 2016 Parreno unveiled Anywhen at Tate Modern in London, an immersive experience that challenged viewers perception of time and space to international acclaim.

In 2019 Parreno was commissioned by the MoMA in New York to create a long-term, site-specific artwork to mark the museum’s extended campus opening. Parreno’s installation Echo, remained in the museum’s Samuel and Ronnie Heymann lobby until 2021. The installation is a multi-part automaton which moves in response to live data culled from its surroundings. Parreno collaborated with Venezuelan record producer Arca to produce two years’ worth of soundtrack as well as coders to programme the installation to function continuously over the two-year programme of the commission.

Parreno’s collaborations extend into the fashion world in collaboration with Phoebe Philo’s Céline Fall 2017 show, where the artist created, according to Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks ‘the sound, the set and the SFX. The sound was a drone that steadily built from a hum to a jet engine roar, before splintering into musical melancholia. And the SFX? The audience revolved while the models walked around and around, defining the space. Very Parreno’.

The artist and his work have been the subject of documentaries and films internationally and he is regularly featured in global news, art and fashion publications including the covers of Paris Match, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, ArtReview, and Wallpaper* magazine. Born in Algeria in 1964, Parreno was raised in Grenoble and has lived and worked in Paris since the early 1990s. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble from 1983 until 1988 and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en arts plastiques at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris from 1988 until 1989. Based in Paris, France, Parreno has exhibited and published internationally. Parreno is represented by Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, Air de Paris, Paris, Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin, Barbara Gladstone, New York, and 1301PE, Los Angeles. Parreno has presented solo exhibitions at Watari-Um, Tokyo (2019); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018); Jumex, Mexico City (2017); The Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2017); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2017); ACMI, Melbourne (2016/17); HangarBicocca, Milan (2015/2016), Park Avenue Armory, New York (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014/2013); CAC Malaga (2014); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2012); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010-2011); Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (2009–2010); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009–2010); Kunsthalle Zürich (2009) and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009). Parreno’s work is represented in numerous major museum collections, including Tate, London; MoMA, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Kanazawa Museum of the 21st Century, Japan; Musée d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris, Paris; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. His work was also presented at the Venice Biennale (1993, 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2015, and 2017), Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), Lyon Biennale (1997, 2003, and 2005), and Istanbul Biennial (2001).

The paintings from the Quinta del Sordo (the “Black Paintings”)

The paintings from the Quinta del Sordo (the “Black Paintings”)
Asmodea
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
1820 - 1823. Mixed method on mural transferred to canvas
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

These mural paintings executed in oil covered the walls of two rooms in the so-called “Quinta del Sordo”, a house on the outskirts of Madrid that Goya purchased in 1819. Their modern title refers to the use of dark and black pigments and to the sombre nature of the subjects depicted. Their interpretation still remains unclear despite the explanations proposed by art historians, the art-historical literature, writers and even psychologists.

Prior to his departure for France, in 1823 Goya bequeathed the Quinta to his grandson Mariano, who sold it ten years later to his father Javier. It was Javier who commissioned the painter Antonio de Brugada (who like Goya also went into exile in Bordeaux, from where he returned to Spain in 1834) to draw up an inventory of the house in which the paintings were recorded. After Javier Goya’s death the house had successive owners: in 1859 it was bought by Segundo Colmenares; and in 1863 it was acquired by Baron Émile d’Erlanger, a Parisian banker who commissioned the painter and restorer Salvador Martínez Cubells to transfer the murals to canvas. The paintings were removed from the walls using the strappo technique, after which they were cut down and the numerous losses restored. The paintings were shown at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878, then in 1881 d’Erlanger donated them to the Prado where they were placed on display in 1889.

About Fondation Beyeler

In 2022, the Fondation Beyeler celebrates its 25th anniversary. The museum in Riehen near Basel is internationally renowned for its high-calibre exhibitions, its major collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as its ambitious programme of events. The museum building was designed by Renzo Piano in the idyllic setting of a park with venerable trees and water lily ponds. It boasts a unique location in the heart of a local recreation area, looking out onto fields, pastures and vineyards close to the foothills of the Black Forest. In collaboration with Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, the Fondation Beyeler is constructing a new museum building in the adjoining park, thus further enhancing the harmonious interplay of art, architecture and nature.

This year, the Fondation Beyeler’s exhibition programme focussed on the museum’s 25th anniversary. It launched with a major retrospective on Georgia O’Keeffe, followed by the summer exhibition “Mondrian Evolution”. In the autumn, the Fondation Beyeler will present “Palimpsest”, an exhibition project by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo charting the dramatic global migration crisis as well as its most comprehensive exhibition to date of works from its collection.

Further information

Artworks

La Quinta del Sordo
1

La Quinta del Sordo

A film by Philippe Parreno

Cinematographer: Darius Khondji

Editor: Ael Dallier Vega

Sound designer: Nicolas Becker

Duration: 40 minutes

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