If the object of architecture is, in the first instance, functional, the fact that its dominant criterion is utilitarian does not preclude aesthetic concerns. Thus, the early 20th century witnessed the emergence of the highly influential Modern Movement, with its core principle that “form follows function”, a tenet perfectly exemplified by the work of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus architects – Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer or Mies van der Rohe, among others.


This exhibition bringS together a selection of works by artists who once directed a Fundación Botín visual arts workshop and exhibited their work in Santander, as well as some by former recipients of the foundation’s visual art grants. It explores the influence of architecture on art, and offers reflections on how architecture also shapes human lives and structures social interaction.


The histories of art and of architecture are intrinsically linked. Over the course of time, artists and architects have collaborated, the former painting frescoes and/or producing wall reliefs and sculptures inside buildings imagined by the latter. The advent of the museum — a public space whose sole function is to collect, conserve, and present art —modified the dynamics of that relationship. Indeed, if the building becomes the repository of the work of art, the question of its importance as a context becomes more salient. This is even more so when an architect of renown conceived the building for that purpose, as is for instance the case with Centro Botín.

Architecture into Art: a Dialogue is the first exhibition to engage in a dialogue with the Centro Botín building, which has become an instant landmark on the Santander waterfront from the moment it opened in 2017. It also addresses the somewhat ambiguous relationship artists maintain with the architects who fashion the space in which they present their work; and the no-less ambiguous status of “starchitects”, who are often regarded as artists.


If some artists choose to create sculptures that borrow directly from the linguistic structure of architecture, others elect to address issues that seem to pertain more to ornament, perhaps reflecting upon the status of the work of art in a building. 

Works by: Leonor Antunes; Miroslaw Balka; Carlos Bunga; Martin Creed; Patricia Dauder; Fernanda Fragateiro; Carlos Garaicoa; Carsten Höller; Julie Mehretu; Jorge Mendez Blake; Muntadas; Juan Navarro Baldeweg; Sara Ramo; Anri Sala; Juliao Sarmento.