Did you know that...?
Questions, with and without answers
Didaktika gives visitors the opportunity to explore key ideas of the Museum’s exhibitions, presented in Educational Spaces and through special activities.
On this occasion, Didaktika asks questions about the concept of space in different fields, from science to art. In order to help visitors understand the art exhibited, these issues are approached through statements, questions, and images that invite the audience to reflect and find answers, aided by texts, comics, animation documentaries, and science fiction movies, together with information about the works on display in the Art and Space exhibition.
What is Space?
To occupy a place, without measure: isn't That What Space is?
Many 20th-century artists and thinkers drew up lists of adjectives to describe space. Here is a selection of terms used by artist Eduardo Chillida in his Notebooks (n.d.), mentioned in 1974 by philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre in his book The Production of Space and in that same year by writer Georges Perec in his text Species of Spaces.
On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon for the first time, just one year after Stanley Kubrick astonished the world with his film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which humans travelled through space, lived in space stations, and had colonies on the Moon.
Flamingo Capsule, a work by James Rosenquist from the Museum’s Collection, reflects on an incident during the Space Race that ended in a fire, and recalls the metallic aspect of spacecraft through the use of aluminized Mylar.
What is Space-Time?
In the early 20th century, Albert Einstein formulated the Theory of Relativity, which changed our way to understand the universe, space, energy, and time. Here you can watch an animation short film, The Great Relativity Show, which explains this revolutionary theory that changed the world.
The perfectly balanced, interconnected lines and forms of Pablo Palazuelo’s sculpture illustrate the logical conclusion to Einstein’s theories: that the world cannot be studied as different independent parts, because each one involves the others, space is in time and time is in space.
In The void, in nothingness... ? Where are we?
The space between the stars and the galaxies, and between the nucleus of an atom and its electrons is seemingly empty. This latter space is occupied by a very powerful electromagnetic field that keeps the particles together without collideing. Matter at the atomic scale seems almost an empty space.
The sultuptures by Basque artist Jorge Oteiza illustrate his investigations into the representation and capture of matter and void.
Do parallel universes exist?
The adventures of the “old” and “new” Flash, characters of the emblematic Flash of Two Worlds! comic book, published in 1961, surprised its readers over 50 years ago with the possibility of travelling in space and time through multiverses. There have been recent discoveries, such as the Higgs boson (2012), and experiments with particle entanglement at the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics on the Canary Islands of Tenerife and La Palma. Other studies hint at the possibility of the existence of parallel universes.
The infinite number of compositions made with string in the works of Sue Fuller evokes questions such as these.
Instructions to find your way... and get lost
The measurement of time and space on the Earth’s surface and on a satellite at 20,000 km are slightly different due to the gravitational field. Some tools of our day to-day life, such as Wi-Fi and GPS, which provides us with the best routes to our destinations on our mobile phones, would lose accuracy if they didn’t take into account the corrections imposed by general relativity.
The works by Richard Long, Ángela de la Cruz, and Julie Mehretu take different points of view to explore human movement through space and time, and its influence on urban development.
Is space the main feature of architecture?
In his book Architecture as Space: How to Look at Architecture, Bruno Zevi says that what’s most important in architecture is neither the dimensions nor the aesthetic qualities of constructive elements, but rather the space, the void they contain. Therefore, a dialogue between container and content exists, as established here between the works of art and Frank Gehry’s architecture.
The words of this Italian architect resound in the architectural sculptures of artists Cristina Iglesias and Isa Genzken, works that feature architectural fragments and also dialogue with the spaces of the Museum.
The celestial vault as screen
Since antiquity, many civilizations have strived to understand and represent the celestial vault. In order to determine how many stars exist, scientists calculate how many there are in our galaxy, The Milky Way, and extrapolate this quantity to the entire universe, taking into account its dimensions. And even though this is still the subject of speculation, it is currently estimated that there are thousands of billions of stars.
In this video, discover how artist Vija Celmins meticulously creates the pieces in the series Night Sky, which depicts the starry firmament.
Imagine a black hole!
Current astrophysics knows that black holes are not empty, but instead are full of higly compressed matter in a very small space. Scientist Stephen Hawking recently said black holes may even break into an alternate universe.
This theory is reflected in the intention of Italian artist Lucio Fontana when he rips or pierces through his canvases: “I pierce [the canvas]; infinity passes through,” he said.
How much space fits into a painting?
Throughout the History of Art, painting, understood as a two-dimensional surface, has been presented as a window to the world and real space. One system of representation in technical drawing is dihedral projection, in which three views of an object (plan, elevation, and section) are drawn, allowing us to understand the form and the space it occupies in relation to other objects.
The series of mobile panels in Sequence of Dihedrals, by Sergio Prego, reveal this Basque artist’s study of the transformation of an object and the space around it through the slight movement of its planes.
Signals saturate our space
Within the millions of signals carrying information that riddle our space, we find the data of business and financial transactions, often of a speculative nature.
Suspended in the air, Agnieszka Kurant’s meteorites reflect on a virtual space that recently has become an object of speculation: air rights. In some countries, real estate property interests include both rights over the land and the intangible space that rises vertically above it.
Cosmicomics, a series of short stories by Italo Calvino written between 1963 and 1964, takes on some scientific concepts of the time, but from a lighter, less abstract perspective. The Meteorites, for example, with its characters Qfwfq, Xha and Wha, proposes an amusing genesis for Earth in which fragments of celestial bodies play an important role.
Encounter with Artists: Art and Space
Saturday, December 2, 10:30 am–1:15 pm
Encounters with the artists included in the exhibition Art and Space, such as Marcius Galán, Agnieszka Kurant, Asier Mendizabal, Ivan Navarro, Damián Ortega, Sergio Prego, and Alyson Shotz, moderated by Manuel Cirauqui, curator of the show.
*English-Spanish simultaneous interpreting
Space film evenings
Saturday, January 27
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A classic sci-fi movie by Stanley Kubrick. A landmark in special effects, scientific realism and avant-garde techniques.
Sunday, January 28
Space Is the Place (1972)
An extravagant and hilarious sci-fi film in the characteristic style of the 1970s, written by and starring Sun Ra about the adventures of the jazz musician and composer on a planet from outer space.
Audio guide and adapted guides
The audio guides, available at the Museum entrance, provide further information on the works in each exhibition.
Ask at the Information desk for audio/video guides for people with cognitive, hearing and/or visual impairments.
Free quick tours on the artworks exhibited. Check times, topics, and available languages at the Information desk.
Schedule: Tuesday to Friday, 5 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm. There are no express tours on holidays (except Sundays) Length: 30 min.
Tickets: Free admission. Min. 5 people, max. 20 (first come, first served; no prior reservation). Groups will not be admitted