Monday, August 8, 2011

Spain (part 15)

Fundacio Joan Miro was an extremely well laid out museum with a fantstic and very unusual temporary exhibition "Genius Loci" made up of immersive installations inspired by and experienced in tandem with songs by independent musicians/bands from Barcelona. It was great to discover some new music in an unexpected environment, I particularly enjoyed Mishima and even bought their CD "Set Tota La Vida," which, later on, became the soundtrack for some long drives in the Pyrenees. My favourite artwork in the permanent collection of the Fundacio Joan Miro was a huge tapestry with amazingly innovative use of heavy texture and dimension.

Miro, "Tapis de la Fundacio"

The Barcelona Caixaforum had a fantastic exhibition of art and artifacts from the Teotihuacan, an ancient city close to Mexico. Amazingly enough, later on in Bilbao, I met a friendly archaeologist form Mexico who works at Teotihuacan. Another exhibition "The Cinema Effect: Illusion Reality and the Moving Image" was honestly one of the best surveys of video art I have seen, I was particularly captivated by Antony McCall's interactive video/installation/drawing(?!) using linear light.

Anthony McCall

The Museo Picasso gave an insightful, chronological overview of Picasso's life and work, putting into context the many styles he adopted while helping to explain the influences that caused these transitions.  It was a very valuable experience to see Picasso's extensive "Las Meninas (after Velazquez)" series, especially after seeing Velazquez's original painting in the Prado in Madrid. I have really begun to appreciate Picasso's interest in shape and composition, when looked at in this way elements of the painted that appear unfinished if you expect them to be figurative (eg bottom right hand corner) actually help to balance the image and break down the picture plane.

Picasso, "Las Meninas (after Velazquez)"

Velazquez, "Las Meninas"

Fundacio Antoni Tapies opened my mind to the philosophical concerns of Spanish painter Antoni Tapies and enabled me to discover that maybe my work has more in common with him that it would appear, specifically the desire to "give a cosmic dimension to an insignificant object... expressing a desire to give value to small things." Aesthetically, I enjoyed the primal nature of Tapies' marks and materials with lines often incised in sand attached to the canvas.

Antoni Tapies, "Matter in the Form of a Foot"

Inside Gaudi's La Pedrera was an exhibition called "Eating Art: from the still life to Ferran Adria", which featured this wonderful painting by Antonio Lopez, I was really attracted to the combination of drawing, painting and collage causing interesting disruptions in the painted surface and creating sensitive layers of real and abstract. 

Antonio Lopez, "Dinner"

The Museo Nacional D'Art de Catalunya was a large Museum with some great temporary exhibitions -one focusing on Courbet & ideas of realism and the other on the drawings and artwork of Torres-Garcia. The permanent collection featured a fantastic collection of Gothic and Renaissance altarpieces and sculptures while in the 19th century section I was excited to see Fortuny's "La Batalla de Tetuan," a huge composition of tiny figures, which viewed up close are quite loose and gestural, adding to the energy and activity of the scene.

Mariano Fortuny, "La Batalla de Tetuan"

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