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Celebrating Spain's Cultural Calendar: Ten Autumn 2013 Events

Celebrating Spain's Cultural Calendar: Ten Autumn 2013 Events

Picture of Bethan Morgan
Updated: 9 February 2017
As Spain’s famed music festivals begin to wind down, there is a sudden flourish of artistic, filmic and all-round cultural events during the autumn and winter months. With the San Sebastian Film Festival being welcomed into its 61st year and the Hay Festival Segovia seducing literary enthusiasts from all over the world, this crescendo of events is creating a buzz throughout Spain. Here we have compiled a list of Spain’s top ten events on offer throughout autumn and winter 2013.

Art | Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbaran

Bilbao: 18 June – 6 October 2013

Famed for its dramatics and extravagance, Baroque is an important style in the history of architecture, art and sculpture. Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbaran, however, subverted the visitor’s expectations by refusing to focus on the typical characteristics of Baroque work. Instead, a thought-provoking curatorial decision was made to place these 17th century masterpieces besides contemporary pieces and, as José de Ribera interacted with Boris Mikhailov, the relationship between past and present drew out convoluted meanings. Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpiece, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, only served to heighten the exhibition with its generous proportions and streams of light.


Summa (Artfair)

Madrid: 19 – 22 September 2013

September saw Spanish galleries prepare for a the start of a new exhibition season, one of which was the Summa ArtFair. A leader within the commercial sector, Summa showcased contemporary art from the most significant national and international galleries. Curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio and Alexia Tala, Summa balanced its commercial foundations with the desire to embrace an experimental side, and does this through its inclusion of new media and technology. Summa Artfair provided an insight into Spain’s contemporary art scene and highlighted emerging artists from international galleries.


Culture | Festival of la Mercè

Barcelona: 20 – 24 September 2013

As the sweltering heat of summer subsided, Barcelonians welcomed the cooler autumn months with the Festival of la Mercè, a century old celebration of the Virgin of La Mercè, the patron saint of Barcelona. An integral part of Barcelona’s calendar, the festival is a mass of noise, color and activity which spills out into the city’s streets and squares. Over the course of the week the outdoor festival interpreted Mediterranean culture through street art, processions, performances, concerts and traditional dance. With public participation being central to the events listings, Festival of la Mercè was the perfect opportunity for Barcelonians to celebrate their culture and for visitors to learn more about it.


Film | San Sebastian Film Festival

San Sebastian: 20 – 28 September 2013

With a history spanning 50 years, the San Sebastian Film Festival is renowned for its recognition of top filmmaker and director talent. Originally established to promote Spanish films, it has evolved into one of the most prestigious and noted international film festivals in the world. 2013 saw the 61st edition dedicated to the cannon of animation. Chaired by the celebrated American animator, Bill Plympton, the festival featured a 25 film-cycle of animated films that have pushed the genre’s boundaries over the past twenty years. The animation retrospective screened progressive films such as Chico & Rita, My Life as McDull and Princess.


Literature | Hay Festival Segovia

Segovia: 26 – 29th September 2013

Hay Festival Segovia is one of the fourteen Hay Festivals spread across the globe. It celebrates all areas of literary culture through its engagement with a wide spectrum of genres, hosting discussions and debates which center around art, science, journalism, cinema, music and visual art. Through an extensive programme of events, 2013 saw Hay Festival Segovia celebrate the relationship between China and Spain by hosting a conversation with architect and 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Wang Shu. Another highlight of 2013’s Hay festival was the appearance of Peruvian Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, whose writings are often influenced by Peruvian society and politics. Hay Festival Segovia offered visitors a well-rounded literary experience which supported emerging and established literary figures.


Design | Madrid Architecture Week

Madrid: 30 September – 7 October 2013

For centuries, Spain has been celebrated for its contribution to architecture. In keeping with Spain’s love of this engineering art form, COAM Official Chamber of Architects of Madrid, hosted Architecture Week in Madrid. Jam-packed with free talks and tours, visitors were able to learn from tour guides and architecture students about the urban masterpieces unique to Madrid. The curated tours drew out particular architectural themes, aimed at introducing visitors to an alternative yet informative way of critically engaging with Madrid’s cityscape.

Film | Marbella International Film Festival

Marbella: 2 – 6 October 2013

The film festival focused on supporting and nurturing young artists, whilst embracing cinema and visual and performance art on an international scale. To help with the transition that these young creative talents face when attempting a move into the commercial sector of film, the festival introduced them to professionals who are experienced in marketing, project and finance management. The resulting independent projects made by these filmmakers and artists were screened during Marbella International Film Festival, and therefore showcased the very essence of contemporary cinema. With an emphasis on international talent, the festival is an exciting annual spectacle.

Art | Museo Nacional Del Prado: Velázquez and the Family of Philip IV

Madrid: 8 October 2013 – 9 February 2014

Diego Velázquez was unquestionably one of Spain‘s greatest painters who influenced more recent artists. An established artist in the court of King Philip IV, Velázquez’s artistic legacy not only saw him document the royal happenings, but also form a unique portraiture style that continues to be analyzed today. Museo Nacional Del Prado‘s exhibition focused on 30 works the artist completed between 1649 and 1660. This critical period saw important developments in Velázquez’s portraitures, reflected in his 1656 masterpiece Las Meninas whose composition, perspective and spatial relationships have marvelled the public ever since. The exhibition expanded upon prevalent interpretations of Velázquez by placing his works alongside those of his contemporaries. Velázquez and the Family of Philip IV presented an unmissable opportunity to engage with historical Spain, the genre of portraiture and the evolution of painting.


Music | Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona

Barcelona: 19 October – 1 December 2013

The 45th edition of the Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona saw jazz lovers gather across the city to enjoy the choruses, fuzzes and polyrhythms of jazz. Each performance was conducted in a different area of the city to fully merge the musical genre with the character of Barcelona. The festival was an exploration of jazz with an events that included modern, classical and orchestral jazz performances. As the festival drew to a close, the finale featured renowned figures such as the highly acclaimed Joan Chamorro and Andrea Motis.


Film | Barcelona Independent Film Festival, l’Alternativa

Barcelona: 18 – 24 November 2013

In its 20th year the Barcelona Independent Film Festival, l’Alternativa was considered to be a major event in Spain’s filmic calendar. Focusing on independent as opposed to commercial films, the festival selection process was based on the film’s creativity, expressive nature and willingness to test boundaries. Supporting both feature length and shorts, l’Alternativa aimed to balance contemporary films with influential films and filmmakers of the past. Alongside their selection process, the festival offered hours of free screenings which showcased emerging experimental films.


By Bethan Morgan

Updated January 2016 by Cristina Tomàs White