The times when Art Nouveau was a retro hit passed in Poland more than 20 years ago, but Gaudi's work is always worth getting to know better. This will be made possible by an exhibition that will open in Poznan in early March. The organizers describe it as "the first in Poland" and "the largest in Europe" exhibition dedicated to the Catalan artist.
Gaudi's unique buildings have become icons in recent decades, one of the main attractions of tourist-overloaded Barcelona, images to be replicated, gadgets. This trivialization seems to harm a deeper understanding of the Catalan architect's one-of-a-kind work. It is therefore gratifying to announce an extensive exhibition dedicated to the artist and his work, which will be on view at Poznan's Zamek Cultural Center from March 5 to July 3. The curator of the "Europe's largest" exhibition is Charo Sanjuán Gómez, director of Aurea Cultura i Art - a Barcelona-based institution that for a decade has been organizing, among other things, exhibitions devoted primarily to Gaudí and Dali in Asia and Europe.
1. photograph of Antoni Gaudí from his card for the Barcelona World Exhibition, 1888.
©Institut Municipal Reus Cultura
2. projection of the facade of Barcelona Cathedral, 1882
©Arxiu Històric del Col-legi d' Arquitectes de Catalunya
The Poznan exhibition, which will feature nearly 150 exhibits (ranging from plans, mock-ups, drawings, sculptures, furniture, architectural elements and ceramics to photographs, video and mapping) is intended to introduce and help understand Gaudi's architecture, but not only.
He was a holistic artist. He did not limit himself to architecture, buildings, but took care of the smallest details: among other things, practical solutions in the house, allowing to live well, with access to light, air, greenery," says Dorota Zaglewska from the department of interdisciplinary programs at CK Zamek
strings and weights
The exhibition will look at, among others, the La Obrera Mataronense cooperative building, the Güell Palace, the Calvet, Batlló and Milà houses and - of course - the Sagrada Família temple. As Zaglewska announces, the exhibition will not be limited to original drawings, designs or furniture. Contemporary models of famous buildings will be shown, as well as photographs from different eras setting architecture in a changing context, which is expected to be particularly valuable for those viewers who have never been to Barcelona. The abundance of exhibits that CK Zamek will show is due to the fact that the curator acquired them from an unusually large number of Spanish collections and institutions.
Casa Milà - La Pedrera, model
© Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera. Photo: Andrés Flajszer
We will also meet Gaudí himself , as a man full of contradictions: deeply religious, but favorable to the labor movement. A modernist, bold, one might even say scandalous artist, but at the same time a recluse, withdrawn, in the last years of his life devoting himself entirely to the Sagrada Familia," Zaglewska reports.
The exhibition will also lean into the secrets of engineering. The presentation of so-called funekular models, or installations made of cords and weights, promises to be very interesting . Gaudi, turning to the Gothic, searched with these models for new structural solutions to avoid the use of massive buttresses. He later applied the effects of these explorations primarily to the Sagrada Familia. The exhibition will, moreover, show the final shape to be taken by this still unfinished sacred building.
Multi-string model - a reinterpretation of Gaudí's research on forces and stresses of construction, rope, lead and steel
©Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera. Photo: Pau Giralt-Miracle
insects and castles
The Poznan exhibition, which will occupy the castle's exhibition hall and the rooms of the castle's west wing, is also intended to present other artists' and designers' perspectives on Gaudi, and, as Żaglewska adds, to emphasize the tribute to locality, to the Mediterranean environment in which Gaudi lived: light, stone, organic forms from which he drew inspiration.
The event is to be accompanied by a rich educational program devoted to four aspects. The first is the world in which Gaudi created (old Barcelona, social and political movements and the literature of the time). The second is architecture and urban planning, including sacred architecture. The third subject will be organic and biological inspirations (including dragonflies, snails, termite nests, spider webs). The fourth theme will be Barcelona itself - a city-myth, an unwitting victim of its own success.
The castle also announces two free accompanying exhibitions. The first will focus on the relationship of nature to art and architecture, taking photographs of insects as a starting point. The second, set firmly in the local context, will present architectural drawings from the time of the construction and numerous reconstructions of the Imperial Castle. There will thus be an opportunity for interesting comparisons, given that the German neo-Romanesque castle in Poznan was built at the same time (1905-1910) as some of Gaudi's iconic designs.
March 5-July 3, 2022
ZAMEK Cultural Center in Poznań
curator: Charo Sanjuán Gómez
Organizer: ZAMEK Culture Center in Poznań, City of Poznań, Aurea Cultura and Art