Smile you are in Spain STUDIO (Shrimp)


Wall painting in the room Smile, You are in Spain

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, like Smile you are in Spain STUDIO (Shrimp).

The present wallpaper commission was part of a fake campaign produced by the artist for an exhibition at Madragoa gallery, Lisbon, in 2017, titled Smile You are in Spain. Smile! You Are in Spain is the slogan of a well-known, five year-long 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. For Matos, the aim of such campaign is always to convey an image of an ultimate tourist destination, an earthly paradise, and in this case, the land of sun and fiesta. Such conservative campaigning, which put an emphasis on a slow-paced and pleasant lifestyle, succeeded in capturing the stereotypes and clichés traditionally associated with the country, nurturing this appealing, peculiar image of Spanish vitality and cheerfulness in the minds of potential tourists. However, throughout the years of the campaign, and after more than a decade of sustained economic growth, Spain was badly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008; while promoting such an ideally positive take of Spain under Juan Miró’s sunny emblem, the country was inwardly succumbing to a profound and severe economic downturn. 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.