I’ve Got One Two Three Four Five Senses Working Overtime

What do you do in Tenerife when it rains? People on Tenerife Holidays would be surprised if they knew the full extent of possibilities. For me it meant a day up in Santa Cruz chasing my arts, I seem to be almost living there this week with 3 home games on the football but on those trips there isn’t much time for exploring anything more than the bar. A bright start in Los Cristianos enticed me to travel without a coat and half way up the motorway the rain was lashing against the Titsa bus, oh well I had indoor destinations so would dodge the spots. First stop was the Robert Capa retrospective at Caja Canarias HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo.

Capa was a famous war photographer who covered 5 major wars and defined history through his lens, this was an exhibition I had been looking forward to. I’d never class myself as a photographer, I just take photos to back up my written work so I have great respect for those with the real talent and Capa was the best. I paid my 2 euros residents entry price to get in, they could have given me a freebie as I had my CD Tenerife shirt on with Caja Canarias emblazoned on the chest but maybe the ticket man was a Madrid fan. Anyway once inside I was soon engrossed in the 98 black and white portraits and impressed with his style described as so close to the action you can feel the ground shake. Tunisia has been in the news lately due to civil upheavel, some of Capa’s pics showed Tunisia during the Second World War fighting, sadly some things remain constant in the world. I won’t go into depth on the Capa exhibition as I have done a feature on Tenerife Magazine but I recomend you go and have a look before it ends on 12 March.

It’s been a few months since I visited TEA and as the Tenerife Espacio de Las Artes has a steady turnover of exhibitions I knew I would find new stimulation. On a rather dull afternoon the packed study area in the library shone out as I walked down the entrance ramp, paying my 2.50 residents entry (5 euros otherwise) I decided to take it logically and start with Sala A the first of the halls made up of several interlocing rooms. The main show was El Cuerpo Inventado (the invented body) with some typically unusual looks at the human body including this nifty hat on a leg (tempted to say kneecap). A smaller exhibition inside was Si Quebro El Cantaro, a look at child abuse through art, full of distorted nightmare images drawn mainly by children.

The TEA building is as much a star as the exhibits, it’s modern and very stylish, the library is huge with plenty of comfy areas to research or go through the large newspaper and magazine section. On previous visits the cafe has been closed but I was in luck and gave it a try, pretty standard snacks but the empty chalkboard still had the heading Menu del Dia so maybe they do offer something more substantial to feed the body as well as the mind. Anyway back to Sala B and Era Asi, No Era Asi from Lanzarote artist Juan Gopar, something of a beachcomber the rooms re-used driftwood and waste to add vibrant colours and shapes to discarded objects including a complete beach shack. As I walked around I could hear the rain pounding on the roof and through the brick sized windows could see Barranco Santos flooded and racing by in a brown sludgy hurry.

There’s one thing you could never accuse TEA of, playing safe, it’s a great champion to new artists and is always open to the unusual and downright bizarre. Sala C has been split into 7 workshop areas for resident artists under the title Arterias Visuales. Each has been given a small grant for materials and is free to develop their ideas, only one artist was actually at work and I was intriqued to read on her bio she has a Master in Sexology from Madrid – put me down for lots of homework. Some of the projects hadn’t got much beyond the scribbled design stage but a few had assembled some pieces like this pink creation. It’s an 11 week experiment so maybe I will get to see some end products and have a chat with the sexologist.

After 2 good hours I felt lifted, challenged and in some cases baffled but certainly happy that Santa Cruz has such a wonderful art space – even if there are hardly ever more than a handful of visitors. My challenge for the afternoon was to get to the bus station without looking like a drowned rat, I achieved it at least in part.