Madrid’s Life-Affirming Slaughterhouse

Part of the Klimt installation at the Matadero

Today, I went to a slaughterhouse in Madrid. Called “Matadero” in Spanish, the site is an architectural wonder the city has transformed into an innovative cultural center. Before I arrived, I wondered whether I would feel the ghosts of the center’s past. Instead, I felt joy and gratitude.

The center has a wonderful exhibit of Gustav Klimt, who was part of the “modernista” movement in Vienna during the early 20th century. The exhibit doesn’t involve a single original painting. It’s an “immersive” experience in various formats, mostly using digital technology. The centerpiece of the installation is a 30-minute cinematic work set to music. Watching it was heavenly. The experience was expansive and intimate, soothing and dramatic. Images projected in every corner of the room moved in celebration of Klimt’s sensuous, vibrant art. The images changed in surprising ways, with dramatic shifts of color and style to explore the smallest details of Klimt’s paintings as well as the larger context of his work. I felt completely immersed!

Holy cow.


  1. Lucky you! The experience looks incredible.

    Klimt is one of my favorite artists and I’ve seen his works in several places around the world. I’d love to go to that “immersive experience”- it sounds wonderful. Converting a closed slaughterhouse into a major cultural venue is rather uplifting. Great way to end your time in Spain!

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