The crystal glass cube “El Cubo”; has been transformed into a multi-coloured chequerboard with the sunlight shining through to project the colours downwards onto the white walls of the space below. Paris’ Centre Pompidou has arrived in Malaga with 6,000 sqm of space as part of the revitalisation of the port area, its first branch outside of France.
The space below the cube is one of the visual anchors of the new gallery. It provides a backcloth to the entrance/reception area and allows daylight to percolate down into the building complementing the other visual anchor, the main double height gallery space at the lower level, into which visitors also gain views from the upper level.
On show are a selection of works from the permanent collection by artists from the 20th and 21st centuries exploring different representations of people – individuals and groups – in five themes: Metamorphoses, Self-Portraits, The Man without a Face, The Political Body and The Body in Pieces. More than 90 works in all media are on display including work by Francis Bacon, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, Joan Miró, George Segal, William De Kooning and Pablo Picasso and large sculptural works in the central double-height space by Thomas Schutte and Kader Attia.
The upper floor, connected to the lower by architectural timber staircases, has temporary exhibition galleries which currently display over 150 photographic prints from 1920 to 1920 by major female photographers including Laure Albin Guillot, Marianne Breslauder, Florence Henri and Dora Maar.
The only disappointment is that the bottom of the glass cube is closed off to visitors who have to peer like lost souls through the glass walls and locked doors. This is a space which should be used and enjoyed, not just looked into.
Designed by the Spanish architecture firm L35, the new gallery opened on March 28 and is currently there for five years. It is a great addition to the cultural attractions in Malaga. Hopefully it will be a success and become a permanent partnership between Centre Pompidou and Malaga.