TBA21 presents Walid Raad's exhibition 'Cotton Under my Feet'

The exhibition by the Lebanese-American artist can be enjoyed from 6 October to 23 January at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid
Frontispiece II: The Carpet (Detail View)  2021

© Walid Raad  -   Frontispiece II: The Carpet (Detail View) 2021

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation (TBA21) presents the exhibition 'Cotton Under My Feet', from 6 October 2021 to 23 January 2022, by the Lebanese-American artist Walid Raad. The exhibition offers a performative journey that explores the collection and legacy of Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza through extraordinary historical fictions.

The exhibition opens up new spaces for interpreting the collection and the history of the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza through the narratives and premonitions developed by Raad.

The exhibition will run from 6 October 2021 to 23 January 2022 at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Organised in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and curated by Daniela Zyman, 'Cotton Under My Feet' is the result of an epic quest into the museum's history and the transgenerational chronicles of a family of art collectors. As part of the exhibition, Walid Raad will personally guide a series of performative itineraries, through which visitors will embark on a journey through the museum where all kinds of mirages and fictions will be their travelling companions.

Frontispiece II: The Carpet (Detail View)  2021 © Walid Raad
© Walid Raad - Frontispiece II: The Carpet (Detail View)  2021

The exhibition 'Cotton Under My Feet' is made up of a group of works that Walid Raad has created on commission from TBA21 over the last three years. The project revolves around the genesis of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, its collection, its archives and the history of its holdings. By intervening in several of the exhibition rooms, Raad opens up new spaces of interpretation for the pieces in the collection. The artist presents imagined narratives and episodes, absurd and hidden relationships between the works, and alternative conservation protocols. This disturbing puzzle involves insects, nails, forgotten or fictional figures and characters that appear throughout the history of Western art.

In 'Cotton Under My Feet', Raad speculates on the possible circumstances surrounding the purchase of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection by the Spanish state. Using different narratives, images and representations, Raad proposes a fictional investigation into the historical conditions and events surrounding the sale, transfer, conservation and exhibition of the works, inviting the visitor to reflect on the origins and future of the collection, its relationship to the history of Western and non-Western art, as well as to other international collections. The exhibition and its performative tours offer a unique opportunity to rediscover the Thyssen-Bornemisza collections through Walid Raad's singular gaze, leaving visitors confused by the impossibility of discerning between reality and narrative.