Madrid exhibition reimagines Bosch’s Backyard of Earthly Delights for digital age | Exhibitions

Adam is a busy robotic poring over the codes of creation. The local weather catastrophe has imprisoned the satan in a block of ice. And a social media sinner is lashed to a hashtag for all eternity whereas a Terminator stalks via a charnel home hell.

The Backyard of Earthly Delights is as soon as once more in full, admonitory bloom. Greater than 5 centuries after it was accomplished, Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece is being reimagined and reinterpreted by 15 worldwide artists utilizing the whole lot from sound artwork and sculpture to portray, video, set up, gifs and digital animation.

Bosch’s authentic triptych, which sits within the Prado in Madrid, warns of the hazards of yielding to our baser wishes. Its Twenty first-century descendants, on present in an enormous, transformed slaughterhouse complicated down the street, converse eloquently, and sometimes disturbingly, of expertise, consumerism, the solipsism of social media, bodily id, the commodification of intercourse, and a planet in peril.

The exhibition, staged at Matadero Madrid by the Colección Solo, is the fruit of 5 years of acquisitions and commissions, and 18 months of preparation.

Hell Panorama by Davor Gromilović. {Photograph}: Colección Solo

“One of many drivers was the concept the unique work is type of the Renaissance model of an interactive art work: it’s obtained these gray shutters on the skin and this scene of the world that’s not notably fascinating in its personal proper,” mentioned Rebekah Rhodes, the gathering’s head of analysis and publications.

As soon as opened, nonetheless, the triptych’s dazzling oil on wooden reveals its secrets and techniques and would have provided its viewers each titillation and ethical instruction.

“There’s additionally the thought of Bosch’s backyard as a mirror for the current; taking this concept that the unique could possibly be seen as a information to good behaviour for a noble class,” mentioned Rhodes.

“But when we maintain up a mirror to the Twenty first century, what’s there? Is there a pleasant panorama we see? A variety of the folks we’ve introduced collectively on this present are doing that and forcing us to ask actually related questions on what’s round us.”

Guests to the present enter a darkish corridor soundtracked by Enrique del Castillo’s Umbráfono II, an optical reader that makes use of celluloid movie to create a hypnotic rating by mixing sixteenth century polyphonic compositions with up to date electronics. Then it’s on to Dave Cooper’s Bosco Cooper, scene of a pair driving on a wolf via a forest of nipple flowers. “So long as all these weirdos in my portray are consenting adults, then it’s all OK,” he says within the catalogue.

One of the pieces in the Heaven X Hell series by the animator Sholim.
One of many items within the Heaven X Hell sequence by the animator Sholim. {Photograph}: Colección Solo

Heaven X Hell, a sequence of 4 animated gifs by Sholim, is a shifting medley of pastel colors and the macabre, whereas Dan Hernandez’s GOED interprets Bosch’s work right into a maplike panorama impressed by open world and role-playing video video games. Cassie McQuater’s Angela’s Flood additionally takes its cue from video video games, putting a robust feminine character from a 90s sequence in the midst of a lush and lurid world.

Different artists sort out the sins on the coronary heart of The Backyard of Earthly Delights in a extra head-on style. Filip Custic, recognized for his visible work with the Spanish singer Rosalía, considers lust, delight, and the interaction of expertise and the human physique in his piece Homo-?.

Miao Xiaochun’s Microcosm envisages Adam as a robotic in a world of plastic animals, destruction and battle, above which hovers a Chinook helicopter suggesting the potential for escape for a fortunate few.

Two attribute mashup works by Mu Pan present horse-riding monkeys invading Eden as enterprising mice make off with the apples, and a Chinese language banquet-themed portray that references Goya and options Willy Wonka, Elvis, Louis Armstrong – and Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek fishing collectively.

The present ends with Speculum, a digital triptych by SMACK. Throughout three LED screens, every measuring 4m by 7m, the trio depicts a post-natural backyard of technological horrors. A grotesquely synthetic Eden, populated by large cats and candy-coloured monstrosities, is watched over by Isaac Newton and a flamingo with a satellite tv for pc dish for a head. Paradise is a debauched however surprisingly lonely place of intercourse, self-absorption and the odd popular culture determine, from Kurt Cobain to Batman backstroking down the river. Hell is the hashtag man, and a spot of burning cities, crucifixion, hanging, dependancy, greed and self-hatred.

The organisers hope the present will each deliver the viewers nearer to Bosch’s work and encourage them to take one other have a look at our up to date backyard of delights.

“Taking a look at it now, the unique can strike us as one thing that’s very troublesome to decipher,” mentioned Rhodes.

Bosco Cooper by Dave Cooper.
Bosco Cooper by Dave Cooper. {Photograph}: Colección Solo

“However in its day, I don’t assume it was so troublesome for folks to decipher: there are symbols which might be very apparent and which come from medieval tales and visible narratives. If you happen to’re a late medieval individual trying on the work, you recognize {that a} fish is a penis and you recognize {that a} strawberry’s a reference to getting laid.”

Swapping that symbolism for extra acquainted photographs, she added, “can assist us to replicate on it now, and it will also be good invitation to return and have a look at the unique work”.

However what, one wonders, would Bosch himself have fabricated from all this lurid, hi-tech re-landscaping of his backyard?

“He was an innovator in his day and I really feel fairly positive that he would really feel excited in regards to the vary of various media and the vary of various opinions which might be within the present,” mentioned Rhodes. “I hope so. Or he could be shocked. He may assume we’re all going to hell.”

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