Photography, painting, fashion… A Coruña has always been an inspiring place for artists of all kinds. With its streets steeped in history and its breathtaking landscapes, constantly lapped by the Atlantic, this city in the northwest of the peninsula has been and continues to be home to creatives. Its numerous exhibition spaces, with touring and permanent exhibitions, also make the city the perfect meeting place for lovers of art and culture.
All year round, A Coruña boasts an excellent network of both history and science museums that help us learn more about the city, but also about ourselves. But the Aquarium, the Domus, the Castle of San Antón and even the Tower of Hercules are joined by the different foundations, galleries and newly emerging spaces that hold exhibitions in the city, many of these international in nature and coming to Spain for the first time. And almost all of them are free!
The history of fashion in a unique world exhibition
Steven Meisel 1993: A Year in Photographs consists of around 100 photographs that capture the most prolific year in the life of this fashion photographer. This is the number of photographs that the public can view at the exhibition promoted by the Marta Ortega Pérez Foundation in the Galician city, which continues to establish itself as a leading light in the fashion industry, not only nationally, but also internationally.
The studio of the creator of numerous covers for Vogue and Per Lui, among others, has selected exclusively for this homage the images that occupy the walls of a space that’s worth a visit in its own right. The exhibition is showing at the Muelle de Batería in A Coruña, a port area that is usually closed to the public, but which the team behind the exhibition have made it their business to transform. The port silos are now a café and merchandise shop that respects the urban and port aesthetic, with a modern touch.
As visitors pass an artificial lake and a walkway that appeals to all the senses, they enter some containers which inside take them back to the era of the supermodel. Once inside, videos on the four walls introduce them to the figure of Meisel through the eyes of those who know him best, with contributions from Hamish Bowles, Edward Enninful, Grace Coddington, Anna Sui and Naomi Campbell. In the neighbouring rooms, the history of fashion.
Meisel’s aim was to capture to perfection the soul of the models and the outfits they were wearing, from the most classic to the most subversive and ingenious, whether in black and white or in colour. It was the birth of the supermodel.
The exhibition, the second large photography show to be organised by the MOP Foundation in A Coruña, is open from Monday to Sunday until 1 May 2023.
Discover how instant photography began
Lovers of photography have another must-see very close to the docks; they just need to cross the Méndez Núñez gardens. Right in the heart of the Cantones area is the Barrié Foundation, which is currently complementing its permanent exhibition with the free exhibition Proyecto Polaroid: en la intersección del arte y la tecnología (Project Polaroid: in the intersection of art and technology).
Whilst these days it seems normal to us to see a photo seconds after taking it, it has not always been this way. With the arrival of Polaroid, the instant photo was popularised thanks to a revolutionary technology. Photos went from simply having a documentation purpose to becoming one more form of artistic expression.
Ansel Adams, André Kertész, Dennis Hopper, Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others, are the creators of the images included in this Proyecto Polaroid. It was then that photography started to talk to art and technology, and the exhibition itself displays experimental instant photos, edited and modified in multiple ways, which set the course of photography on a commercial level, but also socially and culturally.
Now, over 300 works tell this story in A Coruña, taking us from the 1940s up to the present day. The Galician city is one of the stops on its international tour, before it goes to Taipei and after visiting cities such as Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin and Singapore. The exhibition is showing for the first time in Spain at the Barrié Foundation until 9 July 2023.
The city of the first Picasso
Maybe today you’re the one photographing the beaches of Riazor, Orzán or the iconic Tower of Hercules. But just over a century ago, a young painter who would leave his mark on the world of art had already portrayed them with an impeccable technique. This painter was Pablo Picasso.
Not many people know that the artist from Malaga spent part of his childhood in A Coruña, specifically between 1891 and 1895. It was here that he began to develop his artistic career, learning from his father and his teachers at the A Coruña School of Fine Arts. Half a century after his death, A Coruña is pulling out all the stops in 2023 with the Picasso Celebration, in conjunction with cities such as Bilbao, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Paris.
Over the coming months, different spaces in the city are commemorating the painter. One of the key venues is the Casa Museo Picasso, which is offering guided tours of his former family home, as well as theatre performances within the Proxecto Vinte (which includes one inspired by the artist’s family life, coinciding with the anniversary of his death on 8 April). It is also hosting the exhibitions ‘Abrindo a nosa colección’, (Opening our collection) with documents and works from the municipal archive, and others such as ‘El Guernica, una viñeta universal‘ (Guernica, a universal vignette), ‘Carteles en homenaje a Pablo Ruiz Picasso‘ (Posters in homage to Pablo Ruiz Picasso) and ‘Na miña casa‘ (In my house).
Alongside this, the city’s Museum of Fine Arts is showing until June the exhibition ‘Picasso, blanco en el recuerdo azul’ (Picasso, white in the blue memory), which explores the artist’s evolution with references to his A Coruña period. Meanwhile, the Kiosco Alfonso is hosting until April at ‘En pretérito seguinte’ (In the following past tense) contemporary artists in the city who, like Picasso, were inspired by A Coruña when creating their works. The María José Jove Foundation is showing until the end of the year the exhibition ‘Ruiz A Coruña 1894 – Picasso París 1922’.
The Palexco convention and exhibition centre is also participating, with the exhibition ‘O vento comezou de novo. O mundo de Pablo Ruiz contado por Villalobo’ (The wind started up again. The world of Pablo Ruiz told by Villalobo) with around 100 works created between 1970 and 2022 by Nelson Villalobo, who pays homage to Picasso in his own artwork. At the Luis Seoane Foundation the series of conferences ‘Amantes, musas, modelos. Picasso e as súas mulleres‘ (Loves, muses, models. Picasso and his women) between February and October, explores the influence and relationship of Picasso with different women in his life.
The International Festival of Muralism in April, various concerts in the city’s concert halls and the WOMEX festival in October are taking place in addition to the Picasso Celebration in A Coruña during this year of 2023.
As usual, the city’s cultural agenda never stops and offers numerous programmes to enhance a visit over several days to the unmissable places in this city on the Atlantic.