Madrid Art |

El Matadero: Old slaughterhouse, modern sociocultural centre

Once it was a slaughterhouse tucked away in a forgotten backwater, now it’s a constantly changing centre of exhibitions, workshops and activities. See why the Matadero should be the first stop on your visit to Madrid.

20140814_192731Its name scares anyone, and maybe you are wondering why it is relevant to visit a slaughterhouse in Madrid, however, nowadays this former livestock market has turned into a multidisciplinary, dynamic and constantly changing place for art experimenting and production.

Before starting to talk about el Matadero, I must confess I’ve never been able to visit in one single day all the events that I intended to. Such is the amount of activities and exhibitions that it is too easy to get lost in its facilities. The best choice is to consider what you want to visit and how much time you will spend there, but don’t be afraid if during your tour you discover unforeseen exhibitions. Or, even better, if you wanna come back the next day.

Located on the banks of Manzanares river, at the start of the Madrid Rio, Matadero keeps its original industrial architecture, which gives to this sociocultural space an environment where modern art and industrial heritage are combined at the service of cultural dissemination, research and creation.

Its activities are thought for promoting citizens participation, creative processes and artistic training. That’s why each building has its own programme related to a certain cultural area. A quick glance to its facilities shows us the variety of activities in which you can take part.

20140814_192818 As the host of the film centre, Cineteca is recommended for visual arts lovers. For only 3.50 euros you can get the most out of the only cinema in the country dedicated nearly exclusively to non-fiction movies. You can buy your tickets at and print them at home or at the ticket office 30 min before the film starts. By contrast, for those who are interested in the design, the Central de Diseño building offers regularly free exhibitions, where all kinds of projects relating to graphic, industrial and interior design are generated. Performing arts in the Naves del Español buildings, life performance and studio recording in the Casa la Música or literature in the Casa del Lector building are other choices for the visitors.

20140814_192930Matadero Square is a large outdoor space where all kinds of concerts and shows take place. You won’t regret walking around and having a beer there (remember, “relaxing cups of cafe con leche” are in Plaza Mayor) after having visited the exposition “Estampadores de conciencia” (‘Conscience agitators).

That’s one of the itinerant exhibitions offered in Central del Diseño which you can enjoy until 4th September. ‘Conscience agitators’ is a subversive tribute to a genuine type of communication developed by teachers, students and workers during Paris demonstrations in 1968: revolutionary posters using screen printing and lithography techniques.

Coming back to our days, the paintings seek to make us reflect about the social issues which affect our societies currently: immigration, homophobia, feminism, wars, climate change, welfare cuts… With an ironic view, Conscience agitators‘ denounce of the political and economical system leaves no one indifferent. The Slaughterhouse neither.

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