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Madrid's must-see art exhibitions

Paintings, photography, sculpture... these are the art exhibitions you won't want to miss in Madrid's museums and galleries

Calling all lovers of painting, photography, sculpture, and art in general: this is your selection of art collections, exhibitions and shows on in Madrid's museums, galleries and cultural centres. Whether they're on for just a few weeks or you have months to check them out, don't miss these top art exhibitions in the city.

Colita, ¡porque sí!

The work of Catalan photographer Isabel Steva, better known as Colita, touches down in Madrid with some one hundred images that span her career. Critical, committed and different, the artist, who a year ago refused the National Photography Prize in a protest against the Spanish government's cultural policy, reflects in these images some of her most important subjects – Barcelona, women, flamenco – but also portraits of people in the world of art and culture, many of them members of Barcelona's so-called Gauce Divine, which she herself was part of.

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Centro Cultural Conde Duque , Conde Duque Until Sunday December 6 2015

Ignasi Aballí. sin principio / sin final

The boundaries between artistic genres are practically non-existent in this exhibition of Catalan artist Ignasi Aballí. Anything goes, including texts, archives and documents, when it comes to conceptual art, creating a place for works that ignore distinctions between painting, literature, photography, installations, film or video. Mediums play with opposites, as has been the case since the '80s, to challenge viewers' perceptions and allude to concepts such as presence and absence, materian and immaterial, or excess of information and resources, and the emptiness of meaning.

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Lavapiés Until Monday March 14 2016

Verso / Reverso, de Andrzej Wróblewski

The work of Andrzej Wróblewsk (1927-1957), who was a key figure in 20th-century Polish art, comes to Madrid as part of the first major retrospective on the artist (about 150 pieces) outside of Poland. Here's a chance to get to know the work of this artist who's practically a legend is his native country and recognised for, among other things, his exceptional vision of war and its aftermath, and human degradation – fruit of his political commitment. Despite his short life, Wróblewsk created a wide and diverse collection of works, which are broken down into two stages in this exhibition: his beginnings, where he was looking for his own pictorial language (1948-1949), and his final period, in which, under the influence of Stalinist socialist realism, he started over again (1956-1957).

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Lavapiés Until Sunday February 28 2016

Jules Verne. The boundaries of imagination

To talk about Jules Verne is to talk about curiosity, adventure and knowledge – virtues that you can explore in this retrospective of the universal genius, and creator of wonderful and impossible worlds, and works in which the boundaries of fiction and reality are blurred. If you're a fan of the French creator, you won't want to miss this exhibition where you can explore the surroundings and elements found in his celebrated novels (earth, air, ice, water, space and time), and get to know some of the fascinating characters such as adventurers Manuel Iradier and Julio Cervera; film-makers like Segundo de Chomón and Jean Painlevé; Nellie Bly, the first woman to go around the world in 72 days; and pioneers of deep-sea diving like Louis-Auguste Boutan and of aviation such as Santos-Dumont.

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Espacio Fundación Telefónica , Malasaña Until Sunday February 21 2016

Hito Steyerl. Duty-free Art

German artist Hito Steyerl uses humour and new technologies to criticise via art issues such as control, surveillance, militarization, migration, cultural globalisation, feminism and political image – subjects she believes capable of creating realities. Steyerl is considered one of today's most relevant video artists, as her work revolves around the way in which the curent consumption of images and new forms of access to information condition the paths of communication. So she creates video narratives, which are often humourous, and with an approachable language.

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Lavapiés Until Monday March 21 2016

Juan Asensio

Juan Asensio starts with nature itself, and out of his observation of nature comes the collection of works in this exhibition. Fascinated by patterns found in plant leaves and flowers, the Spanish artist works to reproduce the tension that sustains these natural structures in order to later investigate other complex forms of fractal geometry. The result is the 14 pieces in this show, which reveal, among other things, Asensio's obsession with the curvature of space from prismatic bodies – 'a challenge', he says, when working with stone.

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Elvira González , Recoletos Monday November 30 2015 - Saturday January 9 2016


The bad name journalism has been getting these days points to the economic interests of large business groups. But behind those big companies there are professionals made of flesh and blood who often risk their lives to serve the profession they love. Professionals like the stars of this unforgettable autumn exhibition, 23 prominent war photojournalists whose work is shown in the Conde Duque cultural centre with the intention of raising public awareness on armed conflict and reassessing the work of these photojournalists. Take in the 74 photos, 3 videos, soundtrack, book and poem by immersing yourself in a dark room, where pictures are hanging that were taken by Argentina's Rodrigo Abd, Pep Bonet from Mallorca, and Manu Brabo from Aragon, among others.

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Centro Cultural Conde Duque , Conde Duque Until Sunday January 31 2016

Pedro Madueño. Journalistic portraits. 1977-2014

Five minutes. That's the maximum amount of time that a photojournalist usually has. The urgency of the moment leaves little room for error when it comes to setting the scene, thinking about the composition and capturing the expression of the subject. Pedro Madueño has become one of photojournalism's best throughout his 35-year-career. This exhibition at the CaixaForum is a look at different themes in Madueño's photographs, via some 50 potraits published in the 'La Vanguardia' newspaper, one of his regular collaborators.With his camera, Madueño has captured great writers and figures in literature such as Terenci Moix, Juan Goytisolo, Eduardo Mendoza, Quim Monzó, Sergi Pàmies, Salman Rushdie and John Irving, among others, with his unique vision and subtle playing with light and shadows. Madueño has more recently focused on emerging figures in the world of entertainment, politics, art and photography itself, such as surgeon Moisès Broggi, chef Ferran Adrià, film-maker Isabel Coixet, judge Garzón and sculptor Jaume Piensa.

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CaixaForum , Barrio de las Letras Until Sunday January 10 2016

Modernidad. Fotografía brasileña (1940-1964)

Brazil is a country that's been in constant transformation for decades. To reflect on the changes the country went through in the 20th century, the Círculo de Bellas Artes is bringing together the work of four exceptional witnesses to the period from WWII to the Revolution of 1964. These four photographers from different places in the world – Marcel Gautherot (France), José Medeiros (Brazil), Thomaz Farkas (Hungary) and Hans Gunter Flieg (Germany) – have immortalised landscapes and people, monuments and buildings, celebrations and work, past and present. Though each works from his own stylistic latitudes, they all star in the same adventure in search of the essence of a country that often tries to dodge the camera. The more than 200 photographs on display in this exhibition portray Brazilian life in the early age of social contradictions, rapid modernization and a intense cultural life.

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Círculo de Bellas Artes , Centro Until Sunday January 31 2016

Theo Jansen. Fascinating creatures

It's been 25 years since Dutch artist Theo Jansen imagined the beaches of the Basque Country invated by strange animals he dreamt up to contribute to the 'ecological equilibrium' of the landscape. That's how the 'Strandbeest', or 'Beasts of the Beach', appeared, in his imagination, as creatures capable of moving and surviving on beaches where they would remove the sound to lower the threat of the land receding in front of the sea. Over time, Jansen's work opened up to the creation of new 'forms of life': self-sufficient creatures now at the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, a place where you can meet these 'living' creatures as well as see fossils christened with names like Ordis, Currens Vaporis, Currens Ventosa, Rhinoceros Tabulae and Percipiere Primus.

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Espacio Fundación Telefónica , Malasaña Until Thursday December 17 2015