So, let me tell you about my first couple of days in Madrid, simply because they were beautiful… My connecting flight was from London. Flying over London was gorgeous! Or maybe it was just the funny Salmon sandwich they served inflight, which had a ‘magic mushroom’ effect on me. I was looking at pretty London housing from me window and the next thing I saw was surreal Spanish fields with those equidistant, tiny trees that I would like to believe are ‘Olive trees’ just because Spaniards eat a whole lot of Olive Oil, don’t they? They also eat a lot of jamón (ham), I soon found out.
‘Cuantos Cuesta’ (roughly meaning ‘how much’) are probably the two most important Spanish words one needs to know, if in Spain. I, of course, didn’t remember them. Instead, I confused them with ‘Quince’, which means the number ‘15’, and ergo wanted to pay 15 Euros for everything, be it a 1.20 Euro sandwich or a 5 Euro bottle of wine!
Anyway, after I was settled in and used to the idea of people drinking beer at noon at the roadside cafés, I started doing rounds of museums and stuff… well, at least for one whole day I did! As I was walking around that morning I saw this wall at the Caixa Forum—a postmodern art gallery, somewhere near Atocha station and along Paseo del Prado. Thought you might like it!
And right below this wall… I saw the most intriguing public art exhibition I’ve ever laid eyes on… not that I’ve laid eyes on many but still.
Las Meninas, 2005, Bronze – inspired by a 1656 painting by Diego Velásquez’s as part of the public art exhibition—‘Art in the Street. Manolo Valdés in Madrid. Monumental Sculptures.’
Valdés is a Spanish artist, who works in paint, sculpture, and mixed media. He is heavily influenced by old masterpieces and in 1983 he started working with sculpture in a big way. Today, he is hugely celebrated for his work using materials like alabaster, bronze, marble, granite, ceramic, silver, and wood. The massive bronze female heads adorned with hats in the following photos are inspired by the paintings of Matisse. In the last few years these works have travelled through Europe and North America with the Meninas being exhibited in Paris in 2005. Amongst other places, in 2007 the women and the Meninas travelled to New York, in 2008 to Barcelona, in 2009 to Andalusia, and in late 2009–I unknowingly caught up with them in Madrid.
And do join us for a coffee at the Kunzum Travel Cafe in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India.