Production Investigation Art
+34 92 080 0774

San Ignacio de Loyola 8 al 22
05200 Arévalo, Spain
Getting to the museum

Exhibition venue of Substance-SUBSTANCES:
Church of San Martín
Calle de la Alhóndiga 20
05200 Arévalo, Spain
Getting to the exhibition

From Madrid
By bus from Estación Sur
By train from Principe Pío

Opening hours:
11:00h – 14:00h
17:00h – 19:45h

Tuesday to Sunday, until September 11th, 2022.

Guided tours in Spanish with Aldones Nino (Deputy Curator)
Fridays at 17:30h

Free admission
€3 per booklet

Remains of the Jesuit school and its church
The etymology of the term Collegium comes from Latin colle, which means to paste, join, connect; unlike disintegrate and separate. Therefore, Collegium implies the linkage of knowledge, perspectives and materials of all kinds.

Historically the schools were introduced by the Jesuit Catholic order in the 16th century, with the firm intention to build advanced spiritual and pedagogical centers. The Jesuit educational model rapidly spread throughout Europe, and then explored the New World and the vast East. The schools were thus the first educational platforms that were successfully internationalized. For us, the meaning of this word is twofold: on one hand, it seeks to recognize the intrinsic heritage of the building in which the galleries and rooms are being assembled and; on the other hand, the etymological meaning of this term alludes to the cultural interaction between communities and families.

What is Collegium? 

It is a center of education, research and experimentation of contemporary art. Its headquarters are located in the city of Arevalo, Castilla y León. It is also a space for the production and conservation of artistic heritage.

What distinguishes us from other institutions of art?

I. Context

If you start from the fact that Collegium is a contemporary art platform – focused on the cultural production of the 21st century – we must identify the elements that differentiate us in a radical way. The first variable that marks a clear distance from other cultural structures is the context itself: Arévalo is a beautiful city that, due to its history and geographical position, loads itself with many meanings and values: globality, diversity, knowledge and tradition. Muslims, Christians, Sephardic Jews, Queen Elizabeth I of Castile and Saint Ignatius of Loyola promoted a universal change that had huge consequences. Another element that should be highlighted is that it constitutes an area with strong roots in artisan workshops. Castile and León is one of the regions that have retained their traditions, arts and crafts. Finally, the museum is nestled in the guts of a Jesuit school, the first pedagogical project that was internationalised. This cultural load makes Collegium special, because it embodies, with more claim than any other place in the world, the value of diversity and education.

II. Concept

In the traditional museum model imposed in the mid-16th century, that has been preserved until present-day, the program is zoned, its activities unlinked and differentiated. The main function of this type of center is the exhibition of artistic objects, often over-curated. We know that current art does not reach its greatest capacity for expression in this environment, since the box determines the content. In the museum of the 21st century, the main activities are articulated around a unitary approach. Research, exhibition and creation are a fundamental part and of equal relevance. All processes happen in a space without limited physical or programmatic boundaries. This new distribution seeks a more intuitive approach between emotional knowledge and the work of art. It places the individual in the epicenter and allows sensitive interaction, by way of dialogue, between the work of art and its user. (User, unlike “visitor” which is an exclusionary and little compromised term, refers to the human being in its most integral sense.)

III. Architecture

Renowned Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao leads the architectural project of Collegium, where she will be redefining a new concept of an institution that connects responsibly and effectively the container (museum) with its content, surroundings, and users. From the mid-sixteenth century until today, the traditional imposed museum model has its program delimited, its activities unlinked and differentiated. The primary function of this type of center is the exhibition of art objects. In the museum of the 21st century, the main activities are articulated around a unitary approach. Research, exhibition, and creation are fundamental parts of equal relevance. All these processes happen in a space without physical boundaries or limited programs.

Bilbao bases her work on the official writings that describe events directly related to the spatial distribution of the Jesuit complex of Arévalo during the 16th and 17th centuries. In these texts, they mention the plant of the former Royal College of the Holy Spirit of the Company of Jesus in Salamanca as analogous, which helps to visualize the original approach that the school had in its time of greatest splendor and thus develop hypotheses about its location. In them, the body of the church and the school are related to each other from a central cloister. This element rescues and reinforces the conceptual proposal in a contemporary manner.

The objective is to consolidate the historic buildings by linking them through new smaller-scale volumes to recover their habitability without significant modifications of their original state. The new constructions will be integrated into the existing structure, looking at history and bringing it closer to the present.

Exhibition Views
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