Monday, August 8, 2011

Spain (part 16)

coolest tour guide ever

I found many of the artworks in the Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona interesting and provoking, but many artworks were at also initially challenging to understand or identify with. This was one instance where joining the daily group tour proved to be amazingly helpful. It turned out that knowing a little more of the context, the social and political situation in Spain at the time the work was made, usually helped in understanding why it was made and why it was important. I enjoyed the video/sculpture/performance work of Sterbak who both used technology to alter bodily experiences and the experience of natural forces, such as gravity. While in a way gravity defying, Sterback's creation also seemed to expose elements of restriction in technology and fashion.

Jana Sterbak, "Remote Control II"

Another highlight of my time in Barcelona was a beautiful classical Spanish guitar concert by Xavier Coll at an amazing art nouveau theatre, Palau de la Musica Catalana, adorned with colourful mosaics, stained glass, and sculpted relief figures and horses emerging from the walls and ceiling.

Palau de la Musica Catalana

From Barcelona I took a day trip to Montserrat where a huge monastery was somehow built high in the mountains, accessed by cable car! The surrounding area was a wonderful place for walking with numerous trails and interesting, bulbous rock formations. My friend David and I walked to summit of Sant Jeroni where there were amazing views of most of Catalunya, before heading back down to look around the Basilica and hear the boy’s choir perform. Unfortunately the boy's choir turned out to be a major tourist attraction and the Basilica was filled to more than capacity with people squeezed in like a rock concert! Returning afterwards I was able to better appreciate the Basilica in peace and quiet.

Summit of Sant Jeroni, Montserrat

the ghost of the Basilica, Montserrat

David on the train back from Montserrat

I also took a day-trip from Barcelona was to Figueres to visit the Teatre – Museo Dali, which was interesting and effective as a surrealist object, however I found that the strange furnishings and environment of the Museum often distracted from, rather than adding to the impact of the best paintings. 

Teatre – Museo Dali, Figueres

In the tiny town of Figueres there was a camp of protestors, part of the same nation-wide movement that I mentioned earlier, however instead of the thousands of gatherers I saw in Barcelona, there were about 7 dedicated protesters in Figueres and half of those were juggling/dog-walking.

Protest central in Figueres

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