The exhibition


7 OCTOBER 2023 – FEBRUARY 2024

El Greco / Tino Sehgal presents a dialogue between El Greco´s work Adoration of the Shepherds (1577–1579) from Fundación Botín’s art collection and a new live work by Tino Sehgal, This youiiyou. El Greco’s painting depicts the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and pays tribute to life and the relations of care that make it possible. Tino Sehgal transforms and expands upon this tribute by honouring the subtle interactions that emerge in family bonds.

Tino Sehgal (London, 1976) is an artist of German-Indian descent known internationally for creating artworks focusing on the body, the voice and everyday social interactions. Building from his studies in political economics in Berlin and dance at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Sehgal creates ‘constructed situations’: live encounters between visitors and those enacting the work. The artist thus forgoes producing material objects in favour of lived experience, showing a keen sensitivity to classical considerations of form, composition and space, grounded in the history of dance and western traditions of sculpture and painting.

Adoration of the Shepherds (1577–1579) by Doménikos Theotokópoulos—the Cretan artist from the Renaissance known as El Greco—was originally part of the nave in the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo Convent in Toledo. The altarpiece was one of three commissioned by the dean of the cathedral, Diego de Castilla, for the tomb of María de Silva, a lady-in-waiting of the empress Isabella of Portugal. This intervention led to a substantial reform of the church, whose chancel was refurbished by the architects Juan de Herrera and Nicolás de Vergara.

El Greco painted nine canvases for them, seven on the main altar and two for the altarpieces of the side altars. This set of paintings was the artist's first commission in Toledo, a year after his arrival in the city, as his grandiose altarpiece for El Escorial,  El martirio de San Mauricio, was not appreciated by Felipe II´s advisors and he was forced to leave the court. In Toledo, El Greco was able to develop the style of the artists he met in Venice, such as Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, as well as the modern Mannerism of the late Michelangelo in Rome.

The adoration of the shepherds is a theme that the Cretan artist had already painted on several occasions during his stay in Italy, although it was the first time he had approached it in such a complex manner or on a canvas over two metres high. The painting is notable for its spatial development and unique lighting, as well as for the presence of Saint Jerome in the foreground, who holds the Vulgate - his famous translation of the Bible - and turns his face towards the viewers, staring at them.

This youiiyou is enacted by:
Ali Salmon
Andrew Hardwidge
Christoph Enzel
Descha Daemgen
Erik Nevin
Ignacio Monterrubio
Jeanette Hänseroth
Julia Zac
Katharina Meves
Liz Kinoshita
Louise Hojer
Montserrat Gardó Castillo
Néstor García Díaz
Nikima Jagudajev
Petr Hastík
Salka Ardal Rosengren
Sandhya Daemgen
Vera Pulido
Zuriñe Benavente

Curator: Udo Kittelmann, Curator and member of the Fundación Botín’s Art Advisory Committee.

El Greco, Adoración de los Pastores, 1577-1579. Fundación Botín’s collection.

Tino Sehgal (born London, 1976) is of German and Indian descent and based in Berlin. He has exhibited extensively worldwide.  Among his institutional exhibitions are: Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Tate Turbine Hall, London; Ullens Center Beijing; Pinacoteca, Sao Paulo;  Solomon  R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt. In 2013 Tino Sehgal was awarded the Golden Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale.

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