Dog playing flute

Marbella Pensioners


Wall painting in the room The Joyful Yeti

It was the works of Luis Lázaro Matos, bought by Mia Rigo, the founder of The Magic Collection Retreats, that first sowed the seeds of the Magic Megève project. Most of the works acquired were wall paintings and installations that could only be placed in huge spaces. The question then arose: where to put these pieces? The answer, conceived during the first lockdown in 2020, was to work with other artist friends to create structural elements of the chalet, giving birth to the Magic Megève property. Luis Lázaro Matos flew to Megève and drew, freehand, wall paintings to fill every space of the Annex and Marbella Pensioners is one of them.

Smile! You Are in Spain is the slogan of a well-known advertising campaign launched in 2004 to promote tourism in Spain. It captioned photographs of young people enjoying Spain, surrounded by sunny landscapes, at unspoiled beaches or in front of iconic monuments, immersed in an inviting atmosphere suitable for culture, leisure and sports. The purpose was to convey an image of Spain as the ultimate tourist destination, an earthly paradise and the land of sun and fiesta. Luís Lázaro Matos uses this well-known campaign to inform a project which intends to look at how clichés on countries and their culture become promotional commodities and how landscape, traditions, populations and art are rendered simple and ready to use by the consumer. The starting point of the whole project is the juxtaposition between the “smile” introduced in the advertising campaign and its reverse, an expression taken on to represent the actual critical situation shared by South European countries and symbolised by the “scream” from Edvard Munch’s most famous painting. This image has undergone an extreme process of semantic depletion: from the deep psychological pain originally expressed by the canvas to the abused iconic image that became such a media staple that it acquired a life of its own, almost completely abstracted from the painting itself. Playing on the contrast between the pain and anxiety expressed by Munch’s composition and the entertainment and relaxation the holiday villa should provide, the project investigates also the relationship between fiction and architecture. The deep relationship between the face of The Scream’s protagonist and his surrounding landscape, which is in the painting transformed according to his distorted features, is transposed, from the natural scenery to an architectural context, so as to explore how conventions and mythologies nurture our imagination and give shape to our landscapes.