Nature is Miguel Ángel Blanco’s (Madrid, 1958) field of work. His most important artistic and vital project, Biblioteca del bosque, begins in 1985 and consists of box-books containing, and sealed with glass, natural elements -botanical minerals, animals, entomologies- preceded by a few pages introducing us to these materials through drawings, prints or photographs. Box-books are, for the artist, microcosms, new landscapes that express nature in all its phenomenology and in all its geographical and symbolic extension.
The exhibition organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía brings together, in the exhibition hall of the Santo Domingo de Silos Abbey, forty-five of these box-books which present different sacred sites linked to nature. In some cases, the natural setting turned into a sanctuary is sacred in itself, in others, nature has penetrated the sacred place, often as a tree, and it has closely bound itself to its image, its rites or its meaning. The spiritual and botanical energies come together in enclaves such as the Monastery of Yuste, the cloister of the San Marcos Convent-museum in Florence, the Convent of Palancar and the Monastery of San Pedro de Alcántara in Caceres or the Monestry de Piedra in Zaragoza, to which Blanco has dedicated some of his works selected for this exhibition, dated between 1986 and 2006.
By 2005, Blanco had already written a book on the great redwood in the Monastery of Silos’ outdoor patio and in the process of preparing this project, the artist had access to the hundred-year-old cypress, the forests of junipers and hermitages of the Sierra de la Demanda, and the abandoned monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza (with its huge enclosed tree, a pinsapo), collecting materials that, at a key moment for the Library, produced three books for this exhibition: Claustro para Psilocybe cubensis; number 999, Semillas silensis, and number 1000, Trombiosis, a bloody and dramatic book that could be associated with Christian millenarianism, where a piece of old oak intervenes in the medieval necropolis of Cuyacabras.
Moss gives the exhibition its title and appears in several books in Biblioteca del Bosque, because of its protecting nature and its capacity to evoke a feel of open woodlands, the grave silence and the peace of the sanctuary. Its thick and compact blanket creates the conditions to understand the essence. The sublime black moss, transmuted into alchemical sense, is an invocation and song-like.