Conference ‘Arte en la época del infierno’ by Juan José Lahuerta

15 de May, 2024

The conference ‘Arte en la época del infierno’, by Juan José Lahuerta, takes place as part of the Siza Baroque Programme, at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, on 18 May at 4pm, with free admission.


Conference in Spanish

Duration: 60 min.

Soares dos Reis National Museum Auditorium


The Siza Baroque programme will run throughout the year with the participation of the project’s researchers and their consultants. It also includes an exhibition at the Soares dos Reis National Museum and a closing concert, with a ‘baroque-contemporary’ composition (like Siza’s work), at the Clérigos Church in Porto.

According to the well-established principle of causality, we tend to believe that past events influence the present. Applied to Art History, this emphasizes the authority that past masters exert over later artists.


In this lecture we will argue that, on the contrary, it is the present that influences the past, acting retroactively on it. We will therefore try to reveal this interested retroactivity of art and architecture, particularly “modern” art and architecture, which, in order to assert – precisely – their paradoxical modernity, have invoked all kinds of memorable origins and built all kinds of genealogies. Origins as prestigious as they are uncertain – as apparently noble as they are conveniently imaginary – suspended in a Time without time and a History without history. The “theory of suspicion” will be our beginning. And Benjamin’s affirmation of modernity as “the epoch of hell” will be our motto.


Juan José Lahuerta is Professor of Art History at the Barcelona School of Architecture. He has taught at universities such as the IUAV in Venice and New York University, among others. He was curator of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and head of collections at the National Art Museum of Catalonia. His latest books include Religious Painting. Picasso and Max Von Moos (2015); Marginalia. Aby Warburg, Carl Einstein (2015); Photography or Life: Popular Mies (2015); On Loos, Ornament, and Crime (2015); Antoni Gaudí. Fuego y cenizas (2016) and Arte en la época del infierno (2022). He has curated exhibitions such as Picasso. Románico (MNAC, Barcelona, in collaboration with the Musée Picasso, Paris, 2015); Gaudí (MNAC, Barcelona and Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 2022) and Julio González. Being an Artist (IVAM, Valencia, 2023). He is a member of the scientific board of Casabella (Milan) and founding director of the Mudito & Co publishing house (Barcelona, New York, Venice).


Scientific Research and Technological Development Project on the Architecture of Álvaro Siza Vieira FCT: SIZA/CPT/0021/2019


Funded by:

Foundation for Science and Technology, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education; Ministry of Culture; Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto; Centre for Architecture and Urbanism Studies.


Supported by:

Soares dos Reis National Museum; Serralves Foundation; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; CCA; Drawing Matter; Casa da Arquitectura; Marques da Silva Foundation, Irmandade dos Clérigos and Conservatório de Música do Porto.