Behind the mirror offers a look at Galicia through the eyes of 50 renowned figures in the arts, science and thought of the last century: important men and women in the history of universal culture who explored the Galician reality or drew inspiration from it.
The exhibition traces the imprint of Galicia in the life or work of Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Einstein, Anna Turbau, Stefan Zweig, Luis Buñuel, Federico García Lorca, Julio Cortázar, Cristina García Rodero, Mike Oldfield, David Chipperfield, Daniel Buren, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Hawking and Isabel Coixet, among many others.
The project has been curated by journalist and cultural manager Xosé Luís García Canido and writer, musician, producer and audiovisual director Antón Reixa. It comprises some 300 pieces, the majority of them documents, posters, photographs, letters, or manuscripts, also including a score of manuscripts and small selection of symbolic objects, such as the Paddy Moloney’s bagpipe and Grammy Award and an installation from Hamish Fulton.
50 glimpses of Galicia
When asked where Galicia was in his work, the Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez, said, “in the way each of my novels is told”. Behind the mirror aims to bring out those “otherly” revelations of our region, but which have complemented and also shaped our reality and our collective imaginary over the centuries. The exhibition thus invites us to discover a different glimpse of –and a way of looking at– the landscape, the myths, the architecture, and the literature of Galicia, and to examine foreign authors who imagined, built, or portrayed Galicia in their works. Around fifty international figures make up this kaleidoscopic exhibition:
García Lorca, Federico
Nooteboom, Cees / Sassen, Simone
Galicia's impact on universal culture
In Behind the mirror, the public has the opportunity, for the first time, to see historical pieces, such as the whistle of José María Rodríguez, an anonymous knife sharpener from Nogueira de Ramuín who was recorded by the American Folklorist, Alan Lomax, in the 1950s and who would be the inspiration for Miles Davis’ The Pan Piper, featuring on the album Sketches from Spain. This small wooden whistle, like Rodríguez’s work tools, were loaned by his family and have never previously been on display.
The exhibition also includes a selection of some of the earliest surviving colour images of Galicia, taken in 1917 by the French photographer, Georges Chevalier, for the Planet Archive project, promoted by the banker and patron, Albert Khan, or iconic works such as the handwritten diary in which the Austrian writer, Stefan Zweig, gives an account of his visit to Vigo a short time after the Francoist coup, for the first time in Spain.
It also features historical photographs of other great names from literature who have visited Galicia, such as Lorca, García Márquez, Cortázar and Graham Greene, audio-visual works from Isabel Coixet, León de Aranoa and José Luis Cuerda, photographs by Sebastião Salgado, Susan Meiselas, Cristina García Rodero and Anna Turbau, who in the 1970s had herself clandestinely admitted to Conxo Psychiatric Hospital and reported through images on the conditions of the people committed to the centre.
Xosé Luís García Canido is a journalist and philologist, with an extensive professional career in communication and cultural management. He has worked for and collaborated with newspapers such as ABC, El País, La Voz de Galicia, Faro de Vigo, and Diario 16, among others. He was general director of the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE), Cultural Director of the Instituto Cervantes, and head of the Exhibition of the Fine Arts Circle of Madrid. He has curated, conceived, or coordinated more than 400 exhibitions.
Antón Reixa, well known for his work as singer and lyricist of Os Resentidos, is also a producer and director of audio-visual works such as Mareas Vivas and O lapis do carpinteiro. Highly active on the field of poetry since the 1970s, with the poetic communication group Rompente, he has published numerous poetry books, narrative works, and theatrical texts. In 2021, he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts by the Government of Spain.