For Beauty and the Spirit in Art: 1st Neo-Symbolist Salon, Madrid 2013

I’m honoured and proud to be participating in the first Neo-Symbolist Salon to be held in Madrid at La Corrala Cultural Center (belonging to the Autonomous University of Madrid) between October 31st-November 30th 2013, with three of my recent illustrations from the Péladan project.

My (invited) paper on Péladan’s aesthetic theory is included in the exhibition catalogue, and I will also be delivering the closing address of the conference via video link on November 30th at 12 noon (more information on that soon).

flyersalonNeoThe official website for the exhibition is here, and the full colour, lavishly illustrated catalogue including two more articles by Lourdes Santamaria, Professor at Miguel Hernandez University, and Pedro Ortega, PhD Autonomous University of Madrid, is available for pre-order here. Please note that the catalogue will be produced in a very limited print run and all proceeds go to further the cultural activities of the Cultural Association Mentenebre and Herejia y Belleza (Heresy and Beauty) for Madrid Gothic Week V. 

The Salon description is as follows (read original in Spanish):

The late nineteenth century saw the flowering of a kind of art full of great and profound significance: symbolism. An art of beauty and purity of forms under whose veil there was always a deeper meaning: these images symbolized the ideal. So they were called at the time “the painters of the soul”. But the advent of the Avant-garde overshadowed this rich and evocative artistic movement, to be revived only by surrealist ambition, and it was not to be studied until the 1980s.

It is significant that a century later, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, a number of artists have recovered the aesthetics and images of  fin-de-siecle Symbolism to depict new ideals. The femme fatale , the dandy, the androgyne, now represent new concepts and ideals,  within the scope of the counter-culture. Within this contemporary art movement is what we call Neo-Symbolism, new artists of the soul.

For their nineteenth-century heritage we look to Decadent Paris, where the Salons were the main way of presenting new artistic developments to the public. But we do not try to emulate the grand salons of the Louvre, or even the Salon des refusès where the Impressionists made ​​their mark; rather we look to the adventure of a visionary, the self-proclaimed Sâr Péladan who founded the Salon of la Rose + Croix which involved mainly the current Symbolist artists. While somewhat removed from Péladan’s eccentricity, but following some of the principles that inspired its aesthetic taste, over a century later we present this Neo-Symbolist Salon.

Artistic proposals for exhibition should be based on Symbolist iconography but reinterpreted within the parameters of counter-culture, anti-art, in opposition to the market and the establishment . For the true essence of the art of our time is quite far away and must be found in the underground.

The salon aims to be open to all artists who revisit symbolist imagery. The final selection of works is made by Dr. Lourdes Santamaría Blasco and Pedro Ortega Ventureira, curator of the exhibition, together with Professor Miguel Salmeron and the Curator of the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions of the UAM.

A list of selected artists & works, and a brief description from the co-organisers can be found here.