Berta Jayo (born in Santander, Spain, in 1971) presents ‘Color Cathedrals’ in the Quinta del Sordo space in Madrid from 10 to 31 May. The exhibition is curated by Tom Skipp and features 14 photographs in which the world’s most important cathedrals have been painted, each one in a different colour.
The cathedral of Seville, for example, has been painted green, the metropolitan of Mexico, mauve, and the Saint John the Divine in New York, orange. Other cathedrals on display in these photographs are those of Milan, Vienna, Cologne, Reims and the Notre Dame in Paris.
The religious character of society
The aim of the series is to highlight creativity itself and to enhance the religious character of society. But how religious is society nowadays? The subject is very actual since the fire in Notre Dame in Paris in April. The fire itself of course was very impressive as were the reactions to it. People were crying, praying, singing songs in front of the cathedral. Religion seemed very much alive.
The most fortunate families of France donated millions and millions within a few hours. The level of donations has sparked criticism: wouldn’t the money have better been spent for other causes? After all nobody was injured or dying – it was a historic monument catching fire – stones, just stones.
In a previous work using a similar technique of manipulated photography, Jayo made some of the world’s foremost monuments disappear. How would that effect people? What if the Taj Mahal would just disappear?
The multidisciplinary artist is mostly known for her nonconformist vision of the (religious) world and for her colored artworks and art performances which always contain some kind of surprise element. At the opening, the artist will display one of her famous nun costumes, worn by someone mixing with the public.
Berta Jayo‘s concern with religion also pervades her latest book ‘Gifts of God’.
In the Color Cathedrals series, emblematic buildings devoted to worship stand out against their surroundings but why – what is she telling us? What do you think?