The Palacio de Cristal and Palacio de Velázquez in Madrid’s Retiro Park are both parts of the National Reina Sofia Art Centre. We visited two really conceptual exhibits and loved both.
First up is the giant nest of flowers by Petrit Halilaj, the first solo exhibit in Spain for this Kosovo born artist. He has turned the Palacio de Cristal into a giant nest that connects the interior with the exterior, linking visitors to their surroundings by opening windows, installing structures, and setting up feeding areas to attract the birds and other creatures inhabiting or transiting through Parque del Retiro. He draws inspiration from the bowerbirds’ courtship ritual, which makes elaborate nests and decorates them with colorful objects to attract a mate. The experience of walking through this giant flower nest was so extraordinary that we also created an abstract carpet pattern inspired by the art installation. You can check it out here.
The second exhibition in the park is a retrospective on Italian artist Mario Merz. The focus is on his works that are suspended in pre-historic times and use organic materials such as clay, branches, wax, and coal. He often associates with pre-modern imagery such as the igloo, ancestral animals, the rival, or the spiral.