Sorolla, Ouka Lele or Tàpies: ‘Art and spirituality’ that crosses time




Spirituality has been very present in artistic creation over time. This idea is what the exhibition intends to highlight. Art and spirituality. imagine the extraordinarywhich includes a selection of the historical and contemporary collections of the BBVA Collection in Spain.

This year the exhibition was already exhibited at the Palacio de San Nicolás, in Bilbao. Now, the works travel, with an expanded repertoire, to the Villanueva Pavilionlocated in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

about 50 pieces They have been distributed in four sections, which propose a meeting between ancient and contemporary art, from the 16th to the 20th and 21st centuries, with a variety of supports and techniques, such as painting, sculpture, photography, projections or video art.

These are pieces that “although they go through different times in the history of art, they seem to have arisen in a new moment in time,” says Alfonso de la Torre, curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition is divided into four parts, which go “from the beginning to the end, like life itself,” he says. In addition, the route can be accompanied by songs through the list ‘Music and spirituality. Hear the extraordinarydesigned by Joan Gómez Alemany, which is accessed through a QR code.

The starting point begins with ‘the origin’, which “is symbolized by the presence of centers in the images”, says Alfonso de la Torre. This concept is represented in various ways, such as the spiral, the whirlwind or the circle, which can be seen in the works of Alfonso Albacete or Salvador Victoria.

“The birth of the image of the invisible could be simplified in Oteiza’s metaphysical box“, emphasizes the commissioner.

Also shown the origin from a religious point of viewwith the presence of the Child Jesus, through the painting The Virgin with the Child and Saint Anne (first half of the 16th century), Jan Van Scorel.






‘The Virgin with Child and Saint Anne’ (first half of the 16th century) Jan Van Scorel / BBVA Collection / David Mecha

nature vs. the desert

The second section includes pieces related to images of the sky, such as paradises, gardens or Edens, which appear in the paintings of David Teniers, The garden of Eden (1685) or Noah’s ark (1684).






‘Perhaps I Was a Fairy’ (1998) Ouka Leele / VEGAP, 2022

This nature can also be observed in the photograph of Ouka Lele, Maybe it was a fairy (1998), in which through watercolors, which color an image, a luminous space is created.

Likewise, abstract art is present with paintings such as ‘Forma gris azulada’ (1955), by Antoni Tàpies and Bishop V’s Garden (1978), by Fernando Zobel. “Zóbel’s nature is somewhat represented by the memory of what he has seen,” indicates de la Torre.

In contrast, this section also includes works that illustrate the opposite, death and desolation, represented with deserts and cemeterieslike the works of Lucio Muñoz, Eva Lootz or César Manrique.

From the earthly to the spiritual world

In the third part, ‘Between pain and ecstasy’, opens the way to a supernatural worldstarring miracles, apparitions or ecstasy.

All that spirituality is reflected in works that are centuries apart from each other, such as the table Resurrection of the Lord (1559-60), by Luis Vélez, and video art Studio for Appearance (2002), of Bill Viola.






‘Study of a Skull’ (1883) Joaquín Sorolla / BBVA Collection / David Mecha

The last part reflects on the transience of liferepresented above all by the vanitas, which can be found in study of a skull (1883), by Joaquín Sorolla, or in a photo by Marina Abramović, from the series Tribute to Saint Teresa (2009).

Sorolla, Ouka Lele or Tàpies: ‘Art and spirituality’ that crosses time