Art Meets Magic In Santa Cruz

Sat in a dark room watching a 1902 fantasy film and chuckling like a drain. Not how I had expected to start my art and culture trip to Santa Cruz but I wasn’t moaning. My how I chortled as a space rocket landed in the eye of the man in the moon! Maybe I should rewind a little before you think I’ve lost my marbles.

Georges Melies was a true genius, illusionist, director, magician, and producer, the French impresario loved fantasy and fables and combined them with horror, humour and ground breaking special effects to mesmerize audiences in his glass sided Paris theatre. The free exhibition La Magia Del Cine (Magic Of The Cinema) is filling the two floors of the Espacio Cultural at the Caja Canarias bank HQ in Santa Cruz until 15 October. It reveals the passion and dedication of Georges Melies with the help of drawings, sculptures, props, and film clips. The great man embraced all the new delights of his age like stroboscopes, magic lanterns, and shadow puppets, all enhanced by painstaking cutting of photos and film. Several of his short films were being played around the exhibition with the tinkling piano soundtracks adding to the atmosphere of the well staged halls. A Trip To The Moon is his most famous work and is still visually stunning, try to pop in to the exhibition, Monday to Friday 11 to 2 pm and 5 to 8 pm, or Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Next call for me was the Summer Art Exhibition at Ciculo De Bellas Artes in Calle Castillo, the main shopping street near the port. It’s more about modern, cutting edge art here and this seasonal show features bright summer images, they even have some deck chairs so you can sit and contemplate the exhibits. All the works here are for sale, some are very small and manageable, they open week days 10 am to 8 pm, apart from August when they close at 2 pm, and this show goes on until 24 September with a 3 euro entry price or free if you have a residencia. Back outside I had a stroll around the sale filled shopping area, a quick dive down a few side streets rewarded me with some interesting graffiti art, part of an urban project called Submergete En Santa Cruz. Most of the settings for these wall drawings were a bit neglected and were cheered up no end by some artistic intervention.

I’ve always had a liking for strange art and one place I can guarantee strangeness that goes off the scale is El Tanque, the former giant oil tank between the bus station and the Auditorium. The first time I went they had a series of large Rank Film style gongs hanging from the high iron rafters and large fluffy cod ball type sticks to hit them with. The acoustics in the cavernous tank are eerie and the almost total darkness makes it a good setting for light shows such as the current show, Irradiacion De La Energia by Milton Becerra from Venezuela.

The darkness also makes it a rather difficult place to move around in, UK health and safety would have a hairy fit. I could see a couple of the large lighting projections as I tried not to trip over anything. There were a few other people in there, I made a pinging noise like a submarine sonar but they never responded, it was also sweltering hot. The free exhibition is on until 26 August, open Tuesday to Friday 5 to 8 pm, and Saturday 11 to 2 pm. It was almost a relief to get back outside and onto my air conditioned Titsa bus back to Los Cristianos.