Donatien Alphonse François de Sade (1740-1814) is a controversial character who has been considered by some as a revolutionary and liberating thinker, while others see him as a pernicious and corrupting author. His writings can be interpreted as both a philosophy of freedom and a philosophy of evil.

The exhibition shows us the figure of the Marquis de Sade and his influence on thought from the early 20th century to the present day. It explores the impact of his controversial texts on artists and intellectuals, and explains how he has become an icon present in popular culture.

"Sade. Freedom or Evil" invites us to question stereotypes associated with the term sadism and to reflect on how the figure of Sade can generate shock and scandal, on the one hand, and be hailed as a personification of revolution, on the other. To carry out this analysis, the exhibition explores the key figures of the artistic avant-garde who have celebrated the author, such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Bataille, Salvador Dalí, Toyen and Man Ray, among others. It also presents the critical vision of Pier Paolo Pasolini and reflections by contemporary artists on freedom of expression, the transmutation of gender roles, desire, violence, the institutionalization of terror and the role of the pornographic imagination in consumer society.

The exhibition tour includes documentation of historical performances by Jean Benoît and Jean-Jacques Lebel, photographic projects by Marcelo Brodsky, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pierre Molinier and Susan Meiselas, as well as references to literary, cinematic and comic works. Videos of interviews with philosophers and researchers are also presented. The exhibition combines installations by artists such as Laia Abril, Paul Chan, Shu Lea Cheang, Teresa Margolles, Joan Morey and Kara Walker, with new productions by Joan Fontcuberta and Domestic Data Streamers. In addition, references are made to the stage works of Angélica Liddell, Albert Serra and Candela Capitán, and a fragment of the play "Le retour de Sade" by Bernard Noël, directed by Guillem Sánchez Garcia and performed by Clàudia Abellán and Joel Cojal.

La Impropia

In the lobby of the exhibition you will find La Impropia, a free access space with a small library on dissident sexualities where meetings, conversations and workshops on this topic are also held.

For this exhibition is not allowed entry to children under 18 years.

From Tuesday to Sunday and holidays: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Price from
4.00 €
Zip code
Ciutat Vella - El Raval
Carrer de Montalegre, 5

How to get there

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