The Marvelous Real

Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Art from The MUSAC Collection

To commemorate 400 years since the Keicho diplomatic mission from Japan to Spain, a wide-ranging program of events is being held in 2013 and 2014 under the banner of celebrating the "400th Anniversary of Japan-Spain Relations." As part of this program, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) and Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) are presenting "The Marvelous Real," an exhibition featuring the works of 27 artists selected from the collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), which focuses on Spanish works from the 1990s to the present day.

Realism has featured in Spanish art since the 17th Century through exponents such as Velázquez and Goya, and this tradition can be seen in the Madrid Realism movement of the 1980's, as represented by the work of Antonio López García. The "real" of Spanish art does not refer to technique in which the subject is replicated in fine detail, but derives from the obsession amongst Spanish artists to depict what they see as the "real." This obsession stems from a desire to grasp even the surreal and the fantastical in the same way that we touch and grasp the familiar objects of our everyday lives--dragging them down to earth and engaging in a dialogue. The result can often be a vivid exaggeration (esperpento) of everyday scenes or things, and arguably this is generated from the unique and highly charged relationship between life and death. The poet Federico García Lorca wrote that "In Spain the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world," and indeed, death is more vibrant than life. The works in this exhibition convey, through realism, the heaviness of life that is underpinned by an activated death. The works include those by Latin American artists, and this in itself reveals to us how the Spanish sensibility of "real" is transformed and developed in the astonishing idiosyncratic tropical culture of Central and South America.

This exhibition hints at where the "real"--the "real" that hasn't been picked up and incorporated into a globalized, networked world--resides, to suggest a way of being, "The Marvelous Real," where the "real" clearly reveals itself in the conflict between the excesses of life and the shadows of death.

Organized by

Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León
Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)

Supported by

Embassy of Spain in Japan

Granted by

Nomura Foundation

In cooperation with

NEC Display Solutions, Ltd.

Exhibition catalogue

"The Marvelous Real" scheduled to be published on February 2014

Highlights of the Exhibition

Contemporary works that carry on the tradition of realism and the exploration of human life and death in Spanish painting

These are works that depict "real" people of today in a way that only paintings can. Loneliness, alienation, the pursuit of identity, love and hate, the joy and the struggle of life, violence and contemplation--these paintings showcase the drama of life in these times, incorporating social and political issues.

Astonishing and soaring imagination

The exhibition showcases the magical transformation of our world and unbelievable creative imagination generated by the country that produced Salvador Dalí, including a room in which every piece of furniture has been sliced in half, a man in a business suit riding a horse that prances through a university building, and a scene in which the stars in the sky appear to have been transferred onto the ground. These are all born from the happy marriage between Latin American magical sensibility and Spanish creative imagination.

Diversity of expression

The exhibition also features a diversity of expression that includes video, spatial installation, painting, and sculpture. From the slow flow of time in a serene painting to the extreme sense of speed in a video that could be mistaken for a documentary, this array of "fast" and "slow" media delivers an exciting visual experience to the viewer.

400th Anniversary of Japan-Spain Relations

The "400th Anniversary of Japan-Spain Relations" is being celebrated by a series of events held between June 2013 and July 2014 to commemorate 400 years since the Keicho diplomatic mission traveled to Spain. As part of this program, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is presenting the exhibition titled "The Marvelous Real," featuring approximately 50 works by artists from Spanish-speaking regions selected held in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC)'s gem of a collection.

MUSAC, which was established in 2005 in the city of León in the autonomous community of Castilla y León in the northwest of Spain with the aim of being a "Museum of the Present," actively collects contemporary art that reflects our times. Through this collaboration between MOT and MUSAC in which the present is examined from two locations--Tokyo and León--our objective is to transcend geographical and cultural distances to create a platform for different ideas to come together.

Photography Policies

Still photography is permitted in "The Marvelous Real" exhibition under the following policies:
  • Please refrain from using flash or tripods.
  • Photography for commercial use is not permitted.
  • Videotaping is not permitted.
  • Please refrain from photographing other visitors, as it may infringe on their portrait rights.
  • The photographer will bear all responsibility concerning the use of photographs. Neither the museum nor artist will bear any responsibility whatsoever.
  • Concerning photography for news coverage, please apply to the museum for permission.

  • Pilar Albarracin, Musical Dancing Spanish Doll, 2001, MUSAC Collection, ©Pilar Albarracín Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Vicente Blanco, Untitled. From the series Paisaje Nevado, 2002, MUSAC Collection, ©Vicente Blanco Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Carmela García, Untitled. From the series Paraíso, 2002, MUSAC Collection, ©Carmela García Courtesy: MUSAC

  • MP & MP Rosado, Like Street Dogs, 2003, MUSAC Collection , ©MP&MP Rosado Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Diango Hernández, Living room pardito, 2006, MUSAC Collection, ©Diango Hernández Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Enrique Marty, La Familia, 1999, MUSAC Collection, ©Enrique Marty Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Marina Núñez, From the series Monstruas, 1998, MUSAC Collecction, ©Marina Núñez Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Arquitectura para el caballo, 2002, MUSAC Collection, ©Fernando Sánchez Castillo Courtesy: MUSAC

  • Javier Téllez, Oedipus Marshal, 2006, MUSAC Collection, ©Javier Téllez Courtesy: MUSAC


Pilar Albarracín
Lara Almarcegui
Sergio Belinchón
Vicente Blanco
Raimond Chaves
Elena Fernández Prada
Joan Fontcuberta
Sandra Gamarra
Carlos Garaicoa
Carmela García
Anthony Goicolea
Diango Hernández
Kaoru Katayama
Cristina Lucas
Jorge Macchi
Gilda Mantilla
Enrique Marty
Julia Montilla & Juande Jarillo
MP & MP Rosado
Marina Núñez
Tatiana Parcero
Jorge Pineda
Miguel Ángel Rojas
Fernando Sánchez Castillo
Martín Sastre
Javier Téllez
( *in alphabetical order)

Symposium: The Present of Spanish Art

Speaker|Manuel Olveira (Director of MUSAC)
Yuko Hasegawa / Kristine Guzmán (Curators of the exhibition)
Enrique Marty / Carlos Garaicoa / Carmela García / Kaoru Katayama (Artists from the exhibition)
Date|February 15th (sat) 14:00-
Venue|Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Auditorium (B2F)

Exhibition Information


February 15, 2014(Sat)-May 11, 2014(Sun)

Opening Hours

*Last admission to the gallery floor is at 17:30


Mondays (except for May 5), May 7(Wed).


Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Exihibition Gallery 1F


Adult: ¥1,100
University & College Student, Over 65yrs old: ¥800
High School & Junior High School Student: ¥600
Free for Elementary School & Under*Free entry to MOT Collection for ticket holders


From Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station on the Hanzomon Line: 9min. walk from the B2 exit.
From Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station on the Toei Oedo Line: 13min. walk from the A3 exit.


  • +81-3-5245-4111(General Information)
  • +81-3-5405-8686(Hello Dial)

Also Showing

  • MOT Annual 2014
  • MOT Collection

Concurrent Exhibition

See Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions