October 20, 2023 · ,

Xul Solar Museum


Solar Museum

Xul Solar Museum

Most of us have heard of and enjoyed the surrealist work of famous artists such as Salvador Dalí. If you want to check out a lesser known, but equally fascinating artist, stop by the Museo Xul Solar in Palermo.  This small museum is dedicated to the work of Xul Solar, an Argentine surrealist artist from the early 1900s, whose mysterious and strange art will amaze you.  His art is easy to appreciate. Whether you are an art history expert or a college student looking for something interesting to do on a rainy afternoon, the Museo Xul Solar is definitely worth checking out.

What to see in the Xul Solar Museo

Xul Solar’s art in Buenos Aires consists of sculptures, paintings and architectural work.  In his sculptures, he is known for his use of unorthodox materials.  One of his most famous pieces, which you will see in the museum, is a brightly-painted  piano he modified by adding a third row of keys, and in his own way re-inventing the language of music.  He was fascinated with astrology and this is also evident throughout much of the art;  in fact his adopted name (his real name is Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari) is “lux” in reverse and combined with the word “solar”, reads as “intensity of the sun.”  In much of his work images of the moon, stars, sun and signs of the zodiac are evident.

Xul Solar was also an “inventor,” of sorts, but not in the typical way.  His game called Panchess or “Panajedrez,” for example, was a complicated version of a chess-like game.  He is known for inventing languages, both a universal language designed to unite the world and a language designed to unite South America. He was known for speaking to people in these imaginary languages. Xul Solar is also well known for his close friendship with the famous Argentine writer, Jorge Borges, who made Xul Solar a character in one of his novels.

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The museum itself was originally designed by the artist, and at one time was his home. Not particularly visible from the street,  it was completed in surrealist fashion, with a stairway that leads to nowhere and hidden rooms.  Just being in the building adds yet another dimension to understanding the artist’s vision.  If you happen to be at the MALBA, you will see some of his work but the best collection is at the quirky Museo Xul Solar.

[Picture above is the “Drago” 1927]
[Picture above is the “Drago” 1927]

The Legacy and Continuing Influence of Xul Solar

Xul Solar’s idiosyncratic approach to art went beyond his paintings and sculptures. His dedication to uniting cultures, ideologies, and art forms made him a pivotal figure in the Argentine avant-garde movement. He never confined himself to a singular medium or idea, which is evident in the vast array of works displayed at the Museo Xul Solar.

Beyond the visually arresting exhibits, the museum also hosts occasional workshops and interactive sessions that delve into Solar’s invented languages and his unique musical inclinations. These sessions provide an immersive experience, enabling visitors to get a glimpse into the genius and eccentricity of the artist.

Another fascinating aspect of Solar’s work is his commitment to creating an interconnected world. At a time when the world was grappling with significant changes in the post-war era, Solar dreamt of a unified world where language, art, and music acted as bridges between cultures. His dream might seem utopian, but in the age of globalization and digital communication, we can see reflections of his vision coming true.

Solar’s influence extends beyond the art world. Contemporary designers, architects, and even linguists often refer to his work for inspiration. His reinvention of traditional forms, be it the piano or the chessboard, showcases his forward-thinking approach, which many argue was way ahead of his time.

For those interested in delving deeper into Solar’s philosophy and ideas, the museum also houses a small library. This collection includes rare manuscripts, personal notes, and books from Solar’s collection. Reading through these, one can get a sense of the vast expanse of his intellect and the various influences that shaped his art.

In conclusion, the Museo Xul Solar isn’t just a museum; it’s a journey into the mind of one of Argentina’s most enigmatic artists. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a curious traveler, the museum offers an experience that is both enlightening and enchanting. So, the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Palermo, take a moment to step into this hidden gem and let yourself be transported into the whimsical world of Xul Solar. It’s not just an art exhibit; it’s an exploration of dreams, ideas, and the boundless realms of human imagination.

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