Madrid's brand new space

15th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Yesterday saw the opening of seven-floor CaixaForum

15 February 2008

MADRID - Nearly four years after the foundation stone was laid, Madrid's new CaixaForum finally opened to the public on Valentine's Day after being formally inaugurated by the king and queen a day earlier.

The Central Eléctrica del Mediodía, a former power plant on Paseo del Prado, has been converted into a massive 10,000-square-metre cultural space in the spirit of the other CaixaForum art centres in Barcelona and Palma de Majorca. This venue also replaces La Caixa's modest-sized exhibition gallery on Calle Serrano, which had been one of the capital's leading art space since the 1980s.

Designed by the prestigious Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, CaixaForum has seven floors of public space, including two underground floors, as well as an auditorium with seating capacity for 300 people, a museum shop, a cafeteria and a restaurant.

The star of the exhibition space, at least until 6 April, is a selection of La Caixa Foundation's collection of contemporary art, which was begun in the 1980s. The collection focuses on arte povera and neoexpressionist painting by European and North American artists that include Miquel Barceló and the US artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

But the centre will not just house contemporary art. From March to May, visitors will be treated to a rare collection of Italian works belonging to the Uffizi gallery in Florence. The 45 religious artworks created between the 15th and 17th centuries include pieces by Botticelli and Luca Giordano. Many of these paintings are rarely exhibited and have been brought together especially for this show, which is titled El pan de los ángeles (The bread of angels).

CaixaForum is also offering a film seminar analysing postmodern cinema through eight talks by national and international film critics and screenings of key productions, including David Lynch's Inland Empire and Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma.

The final exhibition opening this week is related to the foundation's social work abroad. Entitled 10 años de cooperación internacional (10 years of international cooperation), it focuses on La Caixa's work with non-profit groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and includes a series of photographs of Rwandan refugees.

CaixaForum, Paseo del Prado 36, Madrid.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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