Models and photos: Shchusev State Museum of Architecture runs Ephemeral Treasures exhibition

July 4

Shchusev State Museum of Architecture runs 'Ephemeral Treasures' exhibition on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War's end. It is dedicated to protection and rescue of sculptures in Madrid.

Wood and papier-mâché figures

In November 1937, Cybele's Fountain, one of the most famous attractions of Madrid, disappeared, and its wooden model (falla) was brought to the USSR. It was a gift from Spain to the Soviet people in gratitude for their support in the fight against the francoists. In Madrid, the fountain was hidden under the hood to protect it from air raids of the right forces during the Civil War.

Making wooden models is a traditional craft in Valencia. Annually, before Las Fallas Festival, they create giant wood and papier-mâché figures to later burn them in the streets. Spanish Communists proposed to adopt this tradition as a model for construction of monuments to international communism: instead of monuments built of stone to last for centuries, these monuments were to become ephemeral, to perpetuate not the constructions, but the ritual of communication for the sake of collaborative creativity and its inevitable destruction.

Protection of cultural sites in Madrid

The exhibition creators raise awareness of how monuments are built and preserved. To commemorate the Spanish gift to the Soviet Union, a wooden model of Cybele's Fountain's protective hood has been restored before the exhibition. Besides, historical materials and photographs of protection of other architectural sites in Madrid will be displayed. After 'Ephemeral Treasures' exhibition is over, the model is to be burned according to the Spanish tradition.

The exhibition has been arranged with the support of the Newbauer Collegium at the University of Chicago (USA) and the Spanish Embassy in Russia. Its curators are Miguel Caballero, Fernando Sánchez Castillo and Robert Byrd.


Latest Events

'Proto-signs' at the 21st Century Gallery

September 27October 24

Io Leonardo

October 3 – 28
If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies