The IVAM and Gillian Wearing

A visit to the great Valencian Institute of Modern Art (the IVAM) is one of the unmissable destinations in Valencia. Due to its revitalised programme, now is the perfect moment to see what it has to offer, in particular the interesting temporary exhibitions such as that of British artist Gillian Wearing.

There are many unique museums to visit in Valencia, such as the Histórico Militar (the military history museum), the Museo Taurino (the bullfighting museum), the Fallas Museum, and the Casa Natal de San Vicente Ferrer (the childhood home of Saint Vincent Ferrer). However, never has one of these great museums merited a visit to the city in themselves, as happens in Madrid or other great capitals of the world. The MuVIM and the San Pío V have their following, but regarding ambition perhaps the only one that transcends the city is the IVAM.

julio gonzalezLocated on Guillem de Castro, on the corner facing the river, the Valencian Institute of Modern Art was created in 1986, and has an important background in contemporary art; it houses the works of Miquel Navarro as well as reputed Catalan sculptor of the early twentieth century Julio González and Valencian impressionist painter Ignacio Pinazo. It also boasts important design and photography pieces from the Avant-garde period.

The exhibitions currently on display are the perfect excuse to visit this museum, which has renovated both its shop and its library; it also offers a pleasant outdoor terrace that hosts open-air concerts in the summer. The exhibition ‘Colectivos artísticos en Valencia durante el franquismo’ (valencian art during the Franco period) is a review of ‘cartelismo’ (poster art) and the variety in graphic production during an era of creative expansion. It includes legendary collections such as the ‘Equipo Crónica’.

wearing-self-portrait-20001However, the most emblematic exhibition of the season in Valencia is without a doubt that of British artist Gillian Wearing – the first in Spain since 2001. Wearing won the Turner Prize in 1997, and the construction of personal identity in a tumultuous world is one of her predominant themes. In the IVAM one can browse until January 2016 a gallery of portraits that are very representative of her style, as well as eight large installations and even one of her rare sculptures.

In her video works a group of people describe their personal experiences whilst hidden behind masks in a characteristic game by the artist. The exploration of the self and the burden of family legacy has always played a central role in her work, and in this exhibition we witness the artist recreating old photographs of her own family, and adopting the role of her brother, father or mother, or indeed her adolescent self.

This fascinating exhibition has not been lost on the students of Taronja Spanish School, as their sociocultural programe includes all interesting events taking place in Valencia – an ideal city for learning Spanish and enjoying the lifestyle and culture. If you are a lively and inquisitive student do not hesitate to visit their website, or that of the Spanish Federation of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language in the region of Valencia.

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