Matadero Madrid and Colección SOLO present a group exhibition exploring the inexhaustible appeal of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Contemporary artworks by 15 international artists, across media including AI-art, sound, digital animation, painting and ceramics bring the Renaissance masterpiece firmly into the 21st century, celebrating the original and inviting reflection on our present-day.
The Garden of Earthly Delights (1500–1505) is one of the world’s best known artworks, a treasury of imagination, symbolism and social commentary which has been captivating viewers for five centuries. Housed at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Bosch’s triptych, which famously influenced surrealists such as Miró and Dalí, continues to invite critical debate and provide inspiration for contemporary artists. Colección SOLO—an international project to support contemporary art, based in Madrid—has been collecting and commissioning artworks inspired by Bosch’s masterpiece since 2016; these are brought together in this exhibition, co-produced with Matadero Madrid.
The Garden of Earthly Delights through the artworks of Colección SOLO comprises six areas, each reflecting different approaches to the original. An Invitation for the Senses centres on experiential works and includes Enrique del Castillo’s optical sound reader, a site-specific installation by Carlus Padrissa-La Fura dels Baus, and an AI-powered experiment on perception by the German artist, Mario Klingemann. Delicious Temptation features sculpture and painting by Lusesita and Dave Cooper, humorously sensual works which counter the moralistic focus of Bosch’s original. Meanwhile, animated GIFs by the Serbian artist Sholim and a short film by the creative duo, Cool 3D World, make up Surrealist Links, connecting Bosch’s fantasy world with uncanny aesthetics and modern-day symbolism.
Microcosms and Utopias includes a nine-panel installation and video by the Chinese new media artist, Miao Xiaochun, a collage sculpture from Dustin Yellin’s Psychogeography series, and a meditation on the fluid nature of human identity from the Spanish-Croatian artist, Filip Custic. Video-game aesthetics are employed by Dan Hernandez and Cassie McQuater, both of whom take inspiration from Bosch to create possible utopias. Cultural mash-up characterises the pencil drawings of Davor Gromilovic and action-packed acrylics of Mu Pan, in The Garden Recast. The exhibition comes to a close with SPECULUM, a monumental digital triptych by the Dutch collective SMACK, which sees The Garden of Earthly Delights transformed into a crude mirror of contemporary society. Digital identity, tech-obsession and mass behaviour are all addressed in a major work presented on three LED screens totalling 21 metres in length.
Nave 16 at Matadero Madrid has been completely transformed for this show, designed by the award-winning architects, estudioHerreros. Visitors journey through a labyrinth-like space, built entirely of cardboard, an accessible, recyclable material which contrasts with the cutting-edge technology employed by various of the participating artists. Colección SOLO has published a large-format book to coincide with this exhibition, including exquisite reproductions, extensive details and thoroughly researched texts on each piece. A dedicated website also features interviews with artists and regularly updated information on the exhibition and events programme.