Kidlat Tahimik opens major show in Madrid Glass Palace 2
Inside Madrid's Palacio De Cristal del Retiro, Tahimik, with the help of his sons, put together a show of epic proportions. Photo by Kidlat de Guia
Culture

LOOK! National Artist Kidlat Tahimik unveils epic show in historic Glass Palace in Madrid

The venue was originally built to exhibit flora and fauna, and people from the Philippine islands
ANCX Staff | Oct 29 2021

Madrid's Glass Palace and the Philippines have a history, and Kidlat Tahimik is addressing it in a major way this month. The National Artist for Film just unveiled a major exhibition at the famous Palacio de Cristal del Retiro, or The Glass Palace, the almost all-glass structure inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Retiro Park. 

Kidlat Tahimik
Kidlat Tahimik
Palacio de Cristal in Retiro, Madrid
Palacio de Cristal in Retiro, Madrid. Photo by Jim Anzalone on Wikimedia Commons

Tahimik’s large-scale installation work was created specifically for the location. The largely glass structure was built in 1887 to serve as a greenhouse/venue to showcase flora and fauna from the Philippines, back when we were still a colony of Spain. Apart from tropical plants from our islands, that show, called Exposición General de Las Islas Filipinas, famously exoticized other facets of our way of life and culture—in the form of artifacts and, yes, our people, specifically the Igorots who were told to act as if they were in their native village. This human zoo would reportedly enrage Rizal, who was then in Madrid. 

Kidlat Tahimik
The show is called “Magellan, Marilyn, Mickey and Fray Damaso: 500 Years of Rock Star Conquerors.” 
Kidlat Tahimik 

Set against this historical background, Tahimik has woven an epic three-part visual narrative in the form of sculptural ensembles. Together, they tell the history of colonialism in the Philippines, from the time the Spanish first stepped foot on our shores to the 1887 “human zoo” exhibition up to present day cultural imperialism. The show, which runs up to March 2022, is called “Magellan, Marilyn, Mickey and Fray Damaso: 500 Years of Rock Star Conquerors.” 

Kidlat Tahimik
The show is composed of three parts, each addressing three key moments in Philippine colonial history.
Kidlat Tahimik
Kidlat Tahimik

Apart from the sculptural installation, the Museo Reina Sofia is also presenting Tahimik’s latest film Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux IV, which is described in the museum website as “a new edit of a project spanning thirty years on the circumnavigation of the Earth and Western accounts of the ‘discovery’ of the New World.” There will also be a film-making workshop with Tahimik and Sally Gutierrez from November 2 to 6. 

[Photos by Kidlat De Guia]