by Rachel Grossman
In concluding "The Year of Gaudí," the Center of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona and the Queen Sophia Museum in Madrid have brought together an impressive array of materials for an exhibition about the life, work, and influences of master architect Antonio Gaudí. The show, "Gaudí's Universe," comprises almost 400 pieces in three sections: "Things Seen," "The Studio," and "The Legacy."
"Things Seen" offers an experience akin to scavenging through an attic from the turn of the last century. To illustrate the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, the curator chose a pattern book of velvet samples published by Morris and Company in 1890.
This choice is typical of "Universo Gaudí" and a particularly refreshing aspect of the show. The organizers have assembled many different types of materials including books, drawings, photographs, sculptures, paintings, plaster casts, maquettes, postcards, and ephemera. By taking an almost ethnographic approach to illustrating Gaudí's surroundings, the exhibition builds a new image of the architect as an artist typical of his times rather than as an isolated genius.
What Gaudí Saw
Perhaps the most revealing item in "Things Seen" is a book that illustrates the panorama of national houses from the Universal Exhibition in Paris of 1900. At times the rate of evolution of Gaudí's style appears astounding as he glides effortlessly from Islamic-inspired forms to Gothic palaces, but in the context of the cultural variety on offer at the Universal Exhibitions, Gaudí's range of expression makes sense. >>>
Spain's Year of Gaudí comes to an end in January 2003 with the closing of "Universo Gaudí." In 2003 the exhibition will travel to Germany, Japan, and Brazil.
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Original plaster model for young man, by Antonio Gaudí for Sagrada Familia, part of the exhibit "Universo Gaudí."
Photo: Rachel Grossman
A panorama depicting Italian architecture at the Universal Exposition in Paris, 1900.
Image: Universal Exposition, Paris, 1900
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