Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Josep Maria Subirachs

Once while travelling in Spain I visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona; a very well known cathedral designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. I've seen it in books and magazines and was excited to see it in person. What I wasn't familiar with was the contemporary facades of the nativity, or the "Passion Facade" of the basilica which was designed by the 20th century Catalan painter and sculptor, Josep Maria Subirachs. While there has been controversy over his lack of concession to the style of Gaudi, which is suspected as with any contemporary spins on beloved legends of accepted art, the facade has become Subirachs most popular works.

I took several photographs which were rather tricky as there was a considerable amount of construction surrounding the installation at the time. As a former photographer, I couldn't let that stop me... I've put myself in greater dangers trying to get the perfect shot, but I'll leave that for another blog.

My next visit in Spain was the beach community of Sitges, a lovely town 35km south of Barcelona. My travelling companion had booked accommodations at an art hotel called Hotel del Arte Estela, about 10 minutes from town but it was modern, hip and near the marina which boasts great restaurants serving up tasty paella and sangria. The Estela Hotel represents some of Spain finest painters and sculptures, well displayed in the lobby, for sale in the gallery or painted as a mural in your room. As I walked past the lobby to my room a brutal, figural sculpture caught my eye and as I got closer to it, I noticed the signature labeled on the piece: Subirachs.

For those of you who visit museums, art galleries, surf the net or know anything about the world in which you live, these are very fundamental experiences that create a love for an artists work. To find yourself stopping to notice an artist's work that you have aesthetic connection to, only to discover that it is the same artist to whom you are repeatedly responding.

When I returned home I did some research and found several works from Subirachs and I am officially an educated fan. I could go on about his numerous works including public monuments, his strong drawings, the mathematical applications in his art, etc., but this is a blog, not a post graduate thesis. I will, however, leave you with this documentary slide show I produced featuring some of the Subirachs strongest works and a handful of my photographs of the Sagrada Familia and the Hotel Estela.