Among the projects that the Museu Nacional will devote in 2021 to the subject of the Civil War, art, conflict and memory, Aeronautics Interior [Flight] is an installation by the artist Francesc Torres that will bring two life-size aeroplanes to the Oval Hall, replicas of two types of plane that took part in the Spanish Civil War.
In this project, Francesc Torres takes coordinates that he has previously explored even further, such as the ambiguity between art and non-art (camouflage painting, non-artistic objects with an artistic aura, etc.) or the elimination of the dividing line between the formats “exhibition”, “work” and “installation”.
The origin of Aeronautics Interior (Flight) was his visit to the old La Sènia airfield, built by the government of the 2nd Republic when the Spanish Civil War began. This airfield played a very outstanding part due to its strategic location and its operational capacity, first for the Republican Air Force and then for the German Condor Legion. Very near the airfield is the La Sènia Historic Aviation Centre with its two most significant aeroplanes, the Soviet Tupolev SB-2 “Katyusha” bomber, and another Soviet plane, the Polikarpov I-16 “Mosca” fighter, both of which flew in the war. Faithful life-size replicas, these planes do not fly, and in the artist’s own words, “a plane that does not fly is not a plane, it is a work of art.”
In his installation the artist explores aspects such as the impact, within the conflict, made by the war in the sky, or the idea of sacrifice, which he relates to works of art in the museum’s historic collection. To explain the link between sacrifice in wartime and sacrifice because of religious faith, Torres plays with the iconography of the crucifixion and, especially, the Gothic painting The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, by the master Pere Serra (14th century).