Moneo at Thyssen Museum

Praise of discipline


Ever incisive when reflecting on the work of fellow architects and his own, Rafael Moneo knows full well that every architectural exhibition is a metonymy, referring to a truly important reality – buildings – through elements that represent them – photographs, plans, models, and so on. So it is that the exhibition on view until 11 June at theThyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid has been conceived not as a retrospective of his constructions and projects, but as an orderly constellation of the various elements that have given rise to them, and which in turn have been produced by them, with special emphasis on his drawings. The intention has been to make the show an investigation which, more than simply taking stock of the oeuvre of the master from Navarre, sets out to ponder on the tools and instruments of the discipline. This is in fact suggested by the exhibition’s title: ‘Rafael Moneo: A Theoretical Reflection from the Professional Practice.’

Brilliantly curated by Francisco González de Canales, the show presents a total of 52 buildings and projects by means of 121 drawings, 19 models, and 152 photographs, and it originally opened at the Barrié de la Maza Foundation in the Galician city of A Coruña in 2014 (see Arquitectura Viva 159). But the venue of the current exhibition – the Thyssen Museum, one of the vertices of the Moneo trilogy in the Spanish capital’s Salon del Prado area, on the Paseo del Prado – is without an iota of doubt an added value, and in itself a strong statement about the importance of Rafael Moneo, besides an implicit allegation about the artistic nature of architecture.

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