Baron Thyssen becomes the protagonist of his museum in an artistic tribute to his life

One of the rooms of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.

One of the rooms of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.

Reality mixes with fantasy and art with politics and economics in the universe that the Lebanese-American Walid Raad has created for the exhibition ‘Cotton Under my Feet’, a artistic and performative journey through the life and collection of Hans Heinrich Thyssen- Bornemisza.

From Wednesday, October 5 to January 23, you will be able to visit the rooms that the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has dedicated to this show, in which You can also attend the 70-minute performances that the artist himself will perform on certain dates (from October 6 to 16, from November 14 to 20 and from January 13 to 22).

It is a tour of the rooms entitled ‘Two Drops per Heartbeat’, designed to give an unprecedented and surprising look at the museum, and that Raad will carry out in English, although a translation into Spanish will be available. After three years of research in the collection, the author presents imagined and hidden episodes, intricate connections between the works and alternative conservation protocols in their exploration of various historical realities centered on the acquisition of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection by the Spanish State in 1993.

Family or press photographs, installations and videos are interspersed with the museum’s own works, both pictorial and goldsmith, on this tour specifically conceived for the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum on the centenary of the baron’s birth, without any imposition no limit from the family, according to the artist.

The artistic practice of Raad, a New York resident and art professor at The Cooper Union, has its roots in historical fiction and portrays how violent events are lived, experienced, visualized and narrated.

My father had a very complex relationship with art“, explained the baron’s daughter, Francesca Thyssen, founder of TBA21, the foundation that commissioned the work, in the presentation to the media of the exhibition, together with the curator, Daniela Zyman, and the museum director, Guillermo Solana According to Francesca Thyssen, despite the fact that her father’s profile was not academic, “he did have a deep and extraordinary gaze” that he was able to display in Villa Favorita (in Switzerland), where he received constant visits from art dealers and experts. , many of them trying to sell you works.

Some memories of her childhood and youth in that mansion have been revived with Raad’s project, whose development has been “very exciting” for her, the patron assured. Has remembered that his father was married five times, creating a huge family which is somehow present in this exhibition. “There are people in the families that you have on a pedestal and others that you don’t even want to see,” he said, and that is why there have been some images that have taken him back to uncomfortable moments, while others, he said, have caused him a smile.

“Wallid knows much more about my family than I do,” said the daughter of Baron Thyssen, who at all times has defended the freedom of the creator.

For her part, Raad thanked her for the “personal risk” she took when commissioning this exhibition. “Fiction can be scary or joyful, and when it arises I ask myself why it has not appeared in history “, stressed the artist, who was in disguise during the press conference, although afterwards he has shown himself without hairpieces during a reduced performance for the media, which he has asked not reveal too much about the surprises it hides.


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