Architecture into Art: a Dialogue

Group show
Centro Botín, Santander (ES)

Fernanda Fragateiro


Architecture into Art: a Dialogue brings together a selection of works by artists who once directed a Fundación Botín visual arts workshop and exhibited their work in Santander, as well as some by former recipients of the foundation’s visual art grants. It explores the influence of architecture on art, and offers reflections on how architecture also shapes human lives and structures social interaction.

The histories of art and of architecture are intrinsically linked. Over the course of time, artists and architects have collaborated, the former painting frescoes and/or producing wall reliefs and sculptures inside buildings imagined by the latter. The advent of the museum — a public space whose sole function is to collect, conserve, and present art —modified the dynamics of that relationship. Indeed, if the building becomes the repository of the work of art, the question of its importance as a context becomes more salient. This is even more so when an architect of renown conceived the building for that purpose, as is for instance the case with Centro Botín.

Architecture as object

A conceptual approach informs the work of Fernanda Fragateiro. Her installation consists of three elements, all related to Alison and Peter Smithson’s “Robin Hood Gardens” social project, a building that was once emblematic of the Modernist utopia, and then exemplified its shortcomings. The structure of the oversized wall relief replicates the one of the building’s gigantic façade and points to how an over-rationalizing of residential spaces may fail to take into consideration the specific needs of each dweller. In a way, Fragateiro questions the purposefulness of the modernist utopia, almost equating it to conceptual sculpture.

Architecture into Art: a Dialogue is the first exhibition to engage in a dialogue with the Centro Botín building, which has become an instant landmark on the Santander waterfront from the moment it opened in 2017. It also addresses the somewhat ambiguous relationship artists maintain with the architects who fashion the space in which they present their work; and the no-less ambiguous status of “starchitects”, who are often regarded as artists.

More information about this exhibition here.


Read more about Fernanda Fragateiro