On 22 June, the second part of Mexican artist Denise De La Rue’s special exhibition “Angels and Witches” Goya Metamorphose opens at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Madrid. The artist has created a series of mesmerising photographs juxtaposing iconic Spanish actresses with the painter’s work, analysing the dichotomies and similarities between these characters whilst engaging with historical and relevant sites such as the Museum.
The works are imbued with mysticism, magic, life, death, and the powers of creation, transformation and destruction, characteristics which De La Rue has recognised in Goya’s angels and witches and as key characteristics of the acting profession. These paintings therefore create a dialogue between the actresses and Goya’s paintings and demonstrate De La Rue’s interest in researching the capability of women to transform and empower themselves, which historically has been seen as threatening to the conservative preconception of patriarchal societies.
This exhibition is a rare opportunity to experience the full series of Goya’s Witches. Two of the works have been lost and De La Rue has recaptured them by retrieving historic files that include details of the works. Using photography technology, the artist has reconstructed the works and reunited them in the same space for the first time since the pieces left the Dukes of Osuna’s, the series’ commissioner, hands. Two of the works are owned by the Lázaro Galdiano and will be on show alongside Witches.
The first part of “Angels and Witches” Goya, Metamorphose was Angels at the Royal Chapel of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid, where Goya’s remains rest as well as where some of his most recognised frescos are. Having the two exhibitions of Angels and Witches in dialogue with Goya’s work in these pertinent venues is a unique opportunity to see and understand Goya’s interest in witchcraft and the holy, revised by photography and a contemporary perspective.
Video from previous installation "Angelas" inspired by Goya