A new space with a lot of art has opened its doors in Madrid. A tablao for the bravest and most daring that presents a new look at flamenco, a classic and at the same time transgressive look, with contemporary elements that at the same time respect the flamenco tradition. A tablao 2.0 based on modernity and tradition.
This is Flamenco de Leones, in front of the emblematic Puerta de Alcalá, and the place you won’t stop hearing about. A place full of art not only on the boards, but for the art that hangs in each of its corners. Curated by Urvanity Projects, the artists Iván Floro and Sergio Mora have been the main ones in charge of giving the space all the flamenco passion with avant-garde touches.
We spoke with Ivan Floro, the artist behind the iconic covers / paintings of singer C.Tangana, with a style influenced by impressionism and luminism. His works portray scenes typical of the Spanish costumbrismo and in this project the focus has been put on flamenco as a philosophy of life, a way of seeing and living day to day. Based in Mataró, Barcelona, he has been in charge of creating the 15 large-format canvases that accompany the majestic stairs that welcome visitors to the tablao and that from bottom to top go up in flamenco intensity until they reach the total ecstasy of the dance.
“I wanted to show with the 15 works, that flamenco is not only a show, but also a reunion, a way in which humble families unite after long days of work, and I wanted to appreciate that,” Ivan tells us. Inspired by the flamenco paintings of John Singer and the style of Sorolla, Ivan has spent the last year producing the works.
In addition, behind these works there is a story that we try to portray, a story that develops as we go up to the tablao. “In the first part, downstairs, is when we witness through the works the preparation of the dance. There is a painting with just a guitar, I did it as a tribute to flamenco music, which is really the core of everything,” he continues. “In the preparation painting, the person who is painting his lips is a man, something that at first glance is not entirely obvious.” That’s the idea behind it, getting us into a flamenco tablao 2.0, another detail seen with several men clapping their hands and cross-dressing as flamencas or in the ‘La Sobremesa’ piece, one of the larger pieces, where a girl dancing on the table is dressed in an adidas tracksuit. “This work is what happens when you are gathered with your friends and family, that after eating someone takes out a guitar and another one starts clapping and in the spontaneity of the moment someone climbs on the table, in a tracksuit, and starts dancing”.
“I was afraid that the dance moment would be too intense, that’s why I included a pause scene, which in my opinion completely balances the sequence,” he says. “In flamenco it’s not all dancing, I also like to see that part of how the dancers stretch their ankles and have a cigarette.”
As we go up the stairs the emotion intensifies. The show arrives, the purity of flamenco, the joy and emotion of the dancers. The work that ends the sequence is the pinnacle of the passion of the tablao, the ecstasy. “We have been able to see flamenco as a reason for gathering, flamenco as a spectacle, and in the last work I wanted to represent flamenco as the purest form of expression that exists. When the dance surpasses the artist, and the dancer loses himself in impossible postures”.
Throughout the tour, Iván has also wanted to take the works to his own territory and include some aspects of his personal life through the characters, such as his grandmother at the table or his Dalmatian Jazz. “In the tabletop painting there are many personal details, such as my grandmother clapping her hands, and curiously the pack of cigarettes on the table was painted by my father one day when he came to see me in the studio,” Ivan confesses.