Dismantling the isolated and misunderstood Gaudí

The figure of Antoni Gaudí is loaded with clichés and common places. The objective of the curator Juan José Lahuerta is to dismantle each one of them in an exhibition at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) that opens this November 19. “Freeing the architect from clichés and reductionist visions”, in the words of Lahuerta himself at the presentation press conference.

Gaudí's route: a journey through Catalan modernism

Gaudí’s route: a journey through Catalan modernism

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Instead of presenting him as an isolated artist of his time, he appears contextualized with the work of and places him in the international context, presenting a very important set of works by artists such as Auguste Rodin, Geoffroy-Dechaume, Violet-le-Duc, Thomas Jeckyll or William Morris, framing it within art nouveau.

It is a critical review of the architect’s work with an exhibition, in which the Musée d’Orsay participates (where the exhibition will travel in spring), which brings together more than 650 architectural, design and furniture objects, works of art, documents, plans and photographs. An intense research and restoration work has been carried out.

Among the works that are shown for the first time, there is a hall furniture on the main floor of Casa Milà, which was disassembled in the 1960s and whose pieces were scattered; the bust of the Fountain of Hercules in the gardens of the Pedralbes Palace; the plasters that were used to model the sculptures of the Sagrada Família; the photographs of Park Güell that were part of the Paris exhibition in 1910 and have not been exhibited since, or one of the tapestries made by Jujol commissioned by Gaudí for the Floral Games of 1907.

A Gaudí of an “enormous complexity” is taught that captures the society in which he lives at the beginning of the 20th century, a time of radical changes and modernity. Its buildings are interwoven with the political and ideological strategies of its time, but also with “the wishes and needs of its powerful clients,” says Lahuerta. The exhibition includes a sculpture of the Sagrada Familia in which the devil delivers a Orsini pump to a worker because for Gaudí the basilica is an expiatory temple for “the sins of the proletariat”, which at that moment activate and mobilize the class struggle.

In the presentation, the curator warned that certain “hagiographic, formalistic, folkloric or esoteric” terms have turned Gaudí into “a gigantic tourist icon”.

The museum offers the opportunity to make a visit narrated by Josep María Pou, accessing the audios through a QR code. It can be visited until March 6, 2022.


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