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    Gaudí Explosion
    Fifteen expositions will review next year the work of the Catalonian architect on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

    BARCELONA -- What is there more symbolic of Barcelona than the temple of Sagrada Familia? What better represents the physonomy of the city than the chimneys of the Pedrera or the masks on the balconies of Casa Batllo? Antonio Gaudí left his footprints behind in Barcelona. The city will return his favor, this coming year, during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Catalonian architect's birth, with two weeks of expositions and an enormous popular festival.

    Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926) is the architect who has received the most international prestige for Barcelona and the one for whom the largest number of tourists have passed down the streets, camera in hand, ready to return home with memories of the the Catalonian genius. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gaudí's birth, the City Hall - with much help from the cultural centers, foundations, and museums of the city - has prepared a program which, under the label of "International Year of Gaudí" (starting in the Spring of 2002 and lasting through the end of the year), will review in two weeks of expositions the many different facets of Gaudí's work.

    The celebration of Gaudí's genius will begin, on a date still to be determined (sometime during Spring, 2002), with a great festival, which the City promises will be, "full of color and fantasy." This will be the first of many commemorative events - expositions that recover the figure of the architect through his many faces, and the many facets of his work.

    For example, while the Bank Foundation of Catalonia will establish their main office in la Pedrera, which will become an exhibition of the decorative arts of Gaudí, the Center of Contemporary culture - from the Spring until the Summer - through this Gaudí exhibition, will review the infuencing forces of Gaudí's works, in hopes of finding out what it was about his works, that was so successful in influencing so many artists since. One exhibition which will help in contextualizing Gaudí's work will be the Gódia Foundation's display of works by painters and sculptors who were Gaudí's friends, such as Graner, Mir, Llimona, Regoyos, Opisso, Mani, and Torres-García. Also helping out will be a work prepared by Palau Güell - an exhibition that highlights the relationship that Gaudí had with Eusebi Güell - a friendship which was born in 1878 and lasted until the death of the industrial Maecenas in 1918. In these three decades, Gaudí designed, in addition to Palau Güell, the pavillions of Finca Güell, the church at Colonia Güell, and Park Güell. Two of these sites will be converted into stages for the programming of the Year of Gaudí: in the pavillion of the entrance to Park Güell one wil be able to discover how Gaudí understood the concept of Urbanism; while in Colonia Güell, there will appear an exhibit demonstrating how Gaudí designed the structure of the Crypt using mathematics.

    Moreover, the Miró Foundation will recall the series of etchings on Gaudí which Miró produced in 1979; while the History of the City Museum will confront Gaudí's relationship with Jacint Verdaguer.

    The Year of Gaudí celebrations will also be held in cities besides Barcelona as well. Exhibitions will be held at the Reina Sofia Art Center - between October and December - in Madrid, and at the Castell de Púbol in Girona, where the relationship between Gaudí and Dalí - one of Gaudí's early mentors - will be explored. There will appear a display button with some words fromt the famous Empordanian painter, "Elevate towers of living flesh and living bones to the living sky for the execellence of our Mediterranean, this was the architecture of Gaudí, inventor of the Mediterranean Gothic destined to shine against the ancient sun of Greece", as recalls one of the manuscripts of the exhibition.

    Advance the Agenda

    The City Hall of Barcelona has released the first advance of the program for the International Year of Gaudí. The program can be accessed through a website (www.gaudi2002.bcn.es) dedicated to the celebration. This webpage, in addition to offering complete information on the events in the city, also offers biographic data on the architect, images of his works captured by Catalonian photographers and commentaries on Gaudí by other illustrious architects of the 20th Century.

    As if that wasn't enough, the Private Theater Initiative will also get involved in the birthday celebration. The company Focus is preparing a great musical spectacle on the art of Gaudí and it will be shown at the Sports Palace starting in the beginning months of next year. Dramatist Jordi Galceran, musician Albert Guinovart, and movie director Manuel Huerga, have already begun working on the musical, which is set to premier on St. Jordi's Day, 2002.

    A Genius Without Straight Lines

    He didn't think that the straight line was always the best way to connect to points, and this belief made him into one of the most unique architects of his time. Between the Spring and Summer of 2002, El Saló del Tinell, will attempt to explain the richness of forms in Gaudí's buildings in "Gaudí, espai, geometria I estructura" - an exhibition of technical character, but which will not leave out Gaudí's didactic facet.

    El Saló del Tinnel will not be the only one to be involved with this engagement. The temple of Sagrada Familia will also attempt to reveal Gaudí's style of working to the Barceloneses with "L Obrador de Gaudí", which will utilize many conserved photographs of his work on Sagrada Familia and the tools he used. This exposition will explain not only the way in which Gaudí faced his work, but also the more scientific side of his art.

    The Architects' College will also join in the 150th birthday celebration by offering an exposition which will attempt to bridge the gap between Gaudí and modern architecture, which - although almost a century has passed in between - has held onto many points of contact with that of Gaudí. For a change, the College of Master Builders has decided to pay more attention to Gaudí's work with ceramic, one of his most expressive mediums.

    Meanwhile, National Museum of Catalonian Art will center it's energy on one of Gaudí's closest collaborators, Josep Maria Jujol, responsible for some contributions to the design of a few Gaudí buildings, for example, Casa Batlló and Casa Milá.

    Lasly, Casa Batlló will bring together a collection of photographs of Gaudí's works which were taken by sister and brother, Mariá and Emili Canosa. It is an extensive series of photographs owned by the Polytechnic Foundation of Catalonia's School of Photography.

    El mundo
    Jueves, 22 de febrero de 2001

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