Walid Raad

Cotton Under My Feet

How does a private art collection become public? Who was Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza?

These seemingly easy (and not so easy) questions are at the heart of Walid Raad’s new project ‘Cotton Under My Feet’,  conceived for the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, coinciding with the centennial of its original founder.

Deep in the museum’s bowels, Raad has unearthed fragments of stories, fictional documents, and puzzling artifacts. Some of these reached him from this historical world, while others from a place called fiction, and yet others from the realm of undeath.

Brought to life in a slippery narrative marathon – the lavishly illustrated performance script forms the core element of this book – he entices readers to follow him into the tunnels of conjuncture he has constructed.

Raad offers them a vertiginous reflection on the potential legacy of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collections and their relation to the history of Western and non-Western art.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, ‘Walid Raad: Cotton Under My Feet’ at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (6 October 2021 – 23 January 2022).

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