Visitors to El Matadero
A slaughterhouse-cum-art center, Madrid’s El Matadero surprises from the very beginning. The pale stone, red brick, and teal-tiled façade are admittedly pretty considering such a bloody history, but what strikes me most, apart from the contemporary art, is the vast amount of space. El Matadero spans so much ground that one can’t help but wonder how it wasn’t simply swallowed up into modern-day Madrid. It is so vast as to feel lonely, yet the creative juices that keep this powerhouse running don’t let it reach that point.
While certainly not the only establishment to receive this type of face-lift, El Matadero isn’t merely a venue but also a point of reference and a springboard for inspiration Concerts, plays, and art exhibits are on constant rotation, often complementing each another. For example, when we visited there was an exhibit about that famous villain, Dracula, which corresponded to a play under the same name.
Entrance to one of the working spaces / art galleries
New signs guide visitors around the old slaughterhouse
The cineteca, dedicated to AV art
In addition, the center attempts to foster imagination and collaborative projects. Long-term projects have set areas and even formal titles. For example, one of the buildings held a community garden, and we saw a huge map of Madrid with information on local seed swaps. There are sprawling work spaces for individuals, too; we spied locals camped out, doodling in drawing pads, scribbling notes, and typing up a storm.
One of the many workspaces
Creativity takes root with cacti chairs
A peek at the gardens
This installation piece was housed inside a van!
And then the art! When we went over Semana Santa there were a number of interesting art exhibits, many of them larger-than-life installation pieces. One entire building was dedicated to “contemporary archaeology of present-day ruins,” offering up found objects, comic books, traditional Mexican festival costumes, and more. It wasn’t what I was expecting to find, but then again, what could really be assumed about a slaughterhouse with a new lease on life?
Art exhibit featuring children’s books
Interactive art in the Ilustrarte 2012 gallery
Read more about our time at Ilustrarte here. Check out the exhibit in Madrid until September 29, 2013!
Nave 16, one of the handful of galleries
Matadero Madrid Specifics
Address: Plaza de Legazpi, 8
Saturdays- Sunday: 11-21:00
Tip: If you are in Madrid before April 21, check out this intriguing installation piece, Candela, which evokes the feeling of a fire. Not for the faint of heart!