Public Art That You Fancy Touching

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Public Art That You Fancy Touching

Public art is well represented in Madrid, a multitude of statues and sculptures can be found all over the city, but they give us the sensation that they have been installed in such a way as to make people feel uncomfortable approaching them, touching or interacting with them. The majority are placed on high pedestals, they are surrounded with many security measures or they have been placed in the middle of gardens, which are prohibited to step in.

A good example of this form of exposure to art in the city is the Museum of Public Art in Madrid, an open air space in which some of the most famous Spanish artists of previous generations display their great pieces of sculpture.

In spite of being robust and compact, appropriate to be touched and used, they are inaccessible to the public, except to view. Their pedestals are high, they are illuminated with powerful lights that convert them into slightly uncomfortable pieces and as a definitively deterrent measure, are posted with signs that warn that the space is under the direct surveillance of the municipal police.

The morning of the 26th of September, we decided to approach various statues of said museum, placing 400 silicone nipples, of realistic appearance, pleasant to touch and similar to those of humans.

The piece was called Touch! Touch! Nothing will happen… and with it we wanted the passers-by who always pass through this area, from big offices and luxurious houses, to become aware of the exhibitive environment and to take time to look and touch without shame.

While we were installing it, the night owls that came out of the nearby discos, attracted by the light that our nipples gave off, came closer and looked surprisedly at these curious objects, so alien to the cold surfaces of the sculptures.

And as if it were due to an act of reflex, nobody could avoid moving their hand closer and touching their soft surface, some of them unstuck the pieces that were closer at hand, to make off with such a warm prize, in spite of the surveillance and the hostility of the environment.

With this effective call, we got the people to approach the art that makes up their everyday environment, which they hardly notice, and devote some time to looking at it and touching it with delight.

We cannot avoid thinking, with a certain amount of glee, in the final destination of these illuminated nipples, sure that the majority will end up in the glove compartment of some sports car, hidden in some dark drawer of an office, in the trouser pockets of some executive or in the brand name handbags of some early rising women.

We hope that these nipples continue to be happily played with by their owners, while they ask themselves what the heck they were doing stuck to the sculptures on the bridge… and every time they pass by this particular museum, they stop to contemplate the pieces of sculpture, with a more fun and playful attitude.

Thanks to Cristina, Oscar and Alex for giving us a hand with the installation and the friends from the Art Channel of Germany that accompanied us and documented the process, with such good humor and patience.


Description from architects.


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