The Bodas de Plata mural was inspired by the painting Recién Casados (inset). / SALVADOR SALAS

Thyssen brings art out of the gallery and into the city with series of murals

Elisa Capdevila's mural, Bodas de Plata, in the Plaza de los Mártires, is the first in an initiative to create urban art around the Malaga museum

FRANCISCO GRIÑAN MALAGA.

From a first floor apartment at number 13 Plaza de los Mártires, in Malaga city, came the sound of banging and sawing. Still without windows, the workmen could be seen inside, busy on a major renovation project.

On one of the outside walls of the same building, however, part of the work was already finished. It hadn't needed any brick laying or heavy materials to be supplied, just paintbrushes. And those belonged to Elisa Capdevila, the artist from Catalonia who won the competition organised by the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga to take its collection out onto the streets with a series of murals inspired by some of the paintings that hang on the walls of the nearby Palacio de Villalón, the museum's base.

The mural called Bodas de Plata (Silver Wedding) is the first of these, a work which connects urban art with a piece in the tradition of Andalusian painting a century ago, Recién Casados by Ricardo López Cabrera (1905).

"I looked at everything in the museum's collection but when I saw this painting a lot of things came into my head which I really liked," the artist explained this week.

With this mural now finished, she said she had wanted to paint the clothes featured in the original "which I don't normally have the opportunity of painting", while at the same time establishing a "play on time" by featuring the characters from López Cabrera's picture in her Bodas de Plata mural, the city's new piece of street art which has been sponsored by Larios.

"I decided to take a small leap in time and recreate a similar scene, imagining those same people 25 years later, continuing to celebrate and enjoy their love and good times with their family," she said.

This is not Capdevila's first work in Malaga, but it is the first in a public space because her previous murals have been privately commissioned.

This young artist, who specialises in frescoes and urban art, practises figurative painting and has left examples in Catalonia, Asturias and Galicia as well as other parts of Europe such as Italy, Portugal, Scotland and Germany. That map of her murals has now been joined by the capital of the Costa del Sol and the building belonging to Fernando Serrano, who agreed to allow the painting to be created on the outside.

The image, which is on the corner of the Plaza de los Mártires and Comedias, is most clearly seen when walking along Calle Santa Lucía, as the shape of a woman in a shawl comes into focus, singing to a middle-aged couple who are celebrating their 25 years together.

It took Capdevila a week to finish the mural and she said she had all the support she could have needed, from the organisers to even the weather, "which has been lovely here in Malaga," she said.

For the Carmen Thyssen Museum, this project is a way of forging links with the neighbourhood.

"From the start, the museum was never conceived as something within four walls but as a way of becoming involved with the city and its people," explained manager Javier Ferrer.

"These murals will not only improve the city from an urban point of view but also bring the works from our collection out into the city. This one, for example, has enabled us to connect this story of the silver wedding with a painting in the collection," he explained.

Ferrer, who was accompanied by the municipal director for Culture, Susana Martín, at the inauguration, said the project will continue and this mural was just the first in a street collection in the area around the Carmen Thyssen Museum.

"There are more spaces where the council and the museum can work together in order to improve them," he said.

The project also has the support of the Larios company. "Our brand was born here 150 years ago and we are proud to participate in this initiative which promotes the city," explained Azahara Margon, the representative of the multinational brand.

She said that the artist "has painted everything that we breathe here in Malaga, the art of living well and being artists of the good life".