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Artists and designers analyse the concept of the beautiful over the course of history.
Through their texts and works, leading writers, artists and designers analyse the concept of the beautiful over the course of history. A multitude of different aspects that Matador once again presents in the most original and aesthetically refined manner. A more beautiful Matador than ever seen before.
Beauty as concept Matador begins with a series by Frank Thiel. Huellas (Marks) is the title of a project created in industrial buildings in East Berlin, interpreting their time-worn walls as metaphors for the power of cities and of progress. The text by art critic and independent curator David Barro complements Thiel’s images. Ángel Gabilondo, Rector of the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, reflects on the use of the concept of beauty from classical antiquity onwards in his text Somos nuestro deseo (We fulfil our own Desire). The theologian Amador Vega discusses the relationship between beauty and good in Sin razón (Without reason).
Océano sin orillas (Boundless Ocean) is a video installation based on a text by Birago Diop, a 20th-century Senegalese poet and narrator. It was shown in the church of San Gallo in Venice at the last Art Biennial. Its creator, Bill Viola, describes it as an infinite work that deals with the presence of death in our lives in a series of encounters at the meeting-point between life and death, on the threshold that separates and unites both existences. The text La visibilidad de lo invisible (The Visibility of the Invisible) by the contemporary art expert Armando Montesinos complements the images.
Curator María Corral offers a definition of beauty through some of the greatest works of art of the past, devising an aesthetically beautiful and utopian imaginary exhibition. From Piero della Francesca to the bullfighting of matador José Tomás, classical artists share ground with cutting-edge names. Utopia in beauty The work of American photographer Lynn Davis conveys the grandeur of landscape through her powerful images that emphasise the importance of the unchanging. A conversation between the artist and Arthur Danto, Professor Emeritus at the University of Columbia, clarifies the key points of her style.
A selection from Poems of Love and Rebellion by the great poet Allen Ginsberg opens and closes the series El Viento (The Wind) by the Korean photographer Bae Bien-U, whose images provide the front cover for this issue of Matador. Shigeo Chiba’s text discusses the aesthetic of Bae Bien-U’s work. Alison Crosby, director of Nazraeli Press, writes on the series El frío (The Cold) by Michael Kenna, a work that reveals how the Far East hides within it the most sophisticated, refined type of beauty. Kenna has constructed a visual haiku from his images of the island of Hokkaido (Japan) in which cold is an invisible presence in his work. Javier Vallhonrat constructs narratives devoid of the element of chance. Here he recreates his series Nómadas (Nomads) in which man as the principal element survives in the landscape. Elena Vozmediano provides the words for these images.
The German photographer Mona Kuhn explores human relationships through the genre of the nude, in which the body is the focus point. Using colour photography, her series Paraíso (Paradise) consists of images taken in a nudist colony on the French Atlantic coast. Gordon Baldwin, a curator and creator profoundly familiar with numerous aspects of art, discusses Kuhn’s delicate work. Matador K ends with photographs of Olafur Eliasson’s installation that transformed the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003, now considered a classic of beauty in art, meditation through the experience of light. An extract from the unpublished interview with the artist and Susan May, creative director of White Cube Gallery and curator of the exhibition, complements Eliasson’s images.
Three texts by Christian Dior, Antonella Broglia and Estée Lauder offer their respective viewpoints on beauty in fashion, advertising and image. In addition, texts by Pablo García Casado, Dennis Cooper, Guillermo Fadanelli, Laurent Gaudé, T.S. Eliot and Chuck Palahniuk offer further reflections on this issue’s subject.