Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Barcelona, Day 4.

Visited the Fundación Joan Miró today (yeah, I completely intend to immerse myself to my ears in Catalán painters during my Barcelona sojourn, he he!).

Anway, I thought I really liked Mirò, but seeing all these/his paintings together made things different. T.S. Eliot was right: context matters.

Why do I think this happened to me with Mirò? Because his early works are not very refined--it almost seems like he turned modern and simplified things because classic painting was too difficult--unlike Picasso, for instance, where cubism, simplification, etc is deliberate, careful, planned, thought out and tried in several variations first. Also, Mirò has stuff in there that rather makes it look like he had some "issues". But then again, that probably means nothing, since name just one painter who didn't paint like that sometimes? Yeah. Thought so. Still, it was a bit surprising to me, coming from Mirò, given what I had seen of him before. {shrug}

You've no doubt already seen Mirò's "The Gold of the Azure"? Part of the mistique is in the naming. How about "The Smile of a Tear", or "Painting on White Background for Cell of a Recluse", or even "The Lark's Wing Ringed with the Blue of Gold Meets the Heart of the Poppy Asleep in the Diamond-Studded Meadow"? After knowing the names, the painting just won't do without the title. Kind of neat how two very different, unrelated mediums of expression, poetry and painting, fuse together such as to not be able to live one alone without the other! Maybe, more than the painting itself, it is in this that Mirò's "spark" lies.....

Anyway, the rest of my sightseeing day turned out to be even a lot less satisfying. I first headed over to the Poble Espanyol, since I was already in the Montjuïc area and the Olympic Stadium was not particularly interesting other than, of course, the Communications Tower designed by my favorite architect (and engineer!) Santiago Calatrava. Now, the Poble Espanyol is advertised as a "unique" and "wonderful" architecture museum complete with life-size reproductions of some of the most famous buildings in Spain. What it really is, however, is actually a Mickey Mouse-like mini prefab village whose buildings are a mishmash of old Spanish monuments, and which house over-priced crafts and restaurants a la Epcot Center, for tourists. Yikes. I would have expected a little more from the prize exhibit of the 1927 International Expo. Still, in those days of no TV, it may have been quite the sensation for people who could not otherwise afford to travel and see the buildings live. For me, though, given I had already passed by most of the featured cities, it could of course not compare. So. If you're ever in Barcelona, skip it. Definitely not worth the entrance price, and all throughout the visit I ended up regretting every minute I wasted there.

Well, later in the day I headed over to Gaudí's "Casa Batlló". Why, you ask? Because it is famous. That's it. You know I don't like Gaudí. What's more, the visit to the "Casa Batlló" was 16 Euros and 50 cents. Outrageous, isn't it? Yeah, and you'll think so even more after the visit, I assure you. Imagine even this: at the rooftop of the house, where the water cisterns were placed in its day, the exhibit places a little, tranquil fountain surrounded by....can you believe this? No less than 6 Bose speakers playing the sound of.....water!! All this purported organic nature-loving inspiration in the house architecture, and for 16.50 Euros a pop per visitor they couldn't come up with a fountain that made its own real noise?!?

Unbelievable.

2 comments:

Raul Garcia said...

Hola Elisa..soy Raul Garcia, amigo y paciente de tu Papa. Te felicito por tu blog y desde ahora voy a entrar a leer tus comentarios acerca de tu viaje-
Saludos y Felicidades
Raul Garcia Marroquin

Carlos said...

I read at the Met in New York that Miro felt a deep connection with all [that is] Catalan, and the way he symbolizes this is by always adding amorphouos blue shapes to his paintings. A painting that hangs in one of the galleries at the Met is simply a blue splotch in a sea of white, with an esoteric scripted inscription that reads (in French) something like "Dreams are a blue cloud."