Gaudi addicted to an ecstasy of modernismo

Antoni Gaudi. He was the great outsider of modern architecture. He was likely both an inspired freak and the creator of an emotional, organic style. A supreme artist. ….

The spread of the dates of his major works and the number of his unfinished projects are evidence of how wildly expensive his creations must have been, even at a time, and in a country, of cheap labor. Nevertheless, the sheer mass of his achievements is impressive. Granted that such architecture could be imagined by some isolated visionary, how in the world did it ever come to be financed and actually built.

"I'd heard of Antoni Gaudí, of course, but for some strange reason I either hadn't made the connection between the eccentric architect and his hometown, or, more than likely, hadn't a clue how brain-throbbingly amazing his work was. But, drugs or no drugs, standing slack-jawed in front of the flowing glory of Casa Batlló on 43 Passeig de Gràcia, I decided I'd spend the next few days seeing as much Gaudí genius as I could...." Read More:

Barcelona of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was a brutal anarchic city in which assassination was common and bombing or arson was at any moment likely to become epidemic. During the 1907-08 salad days, some two thousand bombs exploded in the streets, and in 1909, twenty-two churches and thity-four convents were burned. It was a provincial capital struggling for power against the reactionary regime in Madrid and it was a growing city. Its port, its industry and its banking facilities were all helped by the opening of the Suez Canal  and a lot of enterprising Catalans were making big money very quickly. They were also ready to invest in the kind of prestige architecture that might serve to legitimate them as a new upper class.

Sagrada Familia. "Before continuing in my footsteps, here’s a bit more about Gaudí: an average student at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona, supposedly his instructor signed his architecture diploma saying "Who knows if we have given this diploma to a nut or to a genius. Time will tell." While time certainly did tell, Gaudí at first didn’t have an easy time of it. Fortunately for the world, Güell took those early risks with the eccentric architect and gave Gaudí a chance to put into reality the brilliance growing in his more: image:

These new men in Catalonia tended to be aristocrats making money or money makers hoping to become aristocrats. There was no value system as found in American capitalism and not much reality to the Spanish middle-class. Barcelona was dreaming of reviving the glory of its medieval era and , after 1900, investing more and more heavily in Modernismo, the Catalan form of Art Nouveau. Gaudi was not alone in his addiction to expensive fantasy; indeed several of his contemporaries in Barcelona frequently outdid him in catering to the desire of an opulent, somewhat unreal social class for an opulent somewhat unreal architecture. It was an architecture designed for amazement as much as for convenience and delight.

"The exhibition starts with the “homage to the Surrealists” : in 1933, Salvador Dali and André Breton signed several texts in the journal, Minotaure, invoking “terrifying and comestible beauty” and the “medianimic” character of modern style. Guimard and subway architecture, as well as Gaudi, are among the main sources for these texts."... read more: image:

But Gaudi was certainly alone in his talent and in the fierce energy with which he turned the Catalan economic and social situation into an opportunity to develop and intensely personal, and eventually quite a historical, building style. He began by being strikingly original in his textures and ornamental details, and went on to become startlingly, or appallingly depending on viewpoint, original in his shapes, structures, interior spaces and religious symbolism.

An important source of inspiration for his system of decoration was the Islamic and Iberian tradition of ceramic facing, best known in the form of the glazed pottery tiles, or “azulejos” used on the exteriors and interiors of many Portuguese , Spanish and Latin American buildings. In later works, probably because of the need to make the facing follow curved forms, irregular fragments are used; they form abstract patterns and waves of shimmering color on facades, roofs, chimneys, and spires and sometimes appear as molecules of bright color in the mortar between bricks.

"Gaudi began this ambitious project near Barcelona in 1898 but only the crypt was finished between 1908 and 1916. Nevertheless, this is one of the architect's most studied and admired works and a precedent for many of the solutions used in the church of the Sagrada Familia. The great expressive strength of the crypt is the result of a series of innovative features in the structure along with the audacious use of constructive elements, years ahead of its use in modern avant-garde architecture. Astonishing ceramics, stained glass and remarkable wood and iron benches designed by Gaudi. DISASTROUS RESTORATION OF THE GUELL CRYPT - Realized by La Diputación de Barcelona. Service de Patrimonio. This restoration caused various manifestos in Spain and Europe. " read more: image:

The climax is reached in the Park Guell, where the gatehouse roofs and terrace benches look like a cross between a Jackson Pollock and an animated cartoon and the ceiling of the many colored portico is a kind of protosurrealist or proto-Dadaist collage that incorporates a d

#8217;s head and pieces of broken plates, cups, bottles, glass, and miscellaneous china.

"Gaudi is credited with influencing Cubism and Abstract Expressionism with the designs he worked out with the bits of tile that decorated his buildings and benches and walls a half century before the abstract art movement. There is nothing fragile or mincing about Gaudi's furniture. He meant all his works to be functional; he curved chairbacks and seats to fit the human body. Much Art Nouveau furniture fell from fashion and was revived as curiosities or antiques, but Gaudi furniture is as modern as it was at its conception. The curved lines of the chairs indicate that Gaudi tortured the oak to the end of its resistance. One of his co-workers, Juan Bergos, said that during the Spanish civil war a bomb crashed into the Gaudi-designed Calvet house in Barcelona and broke the architect's desk chair. But the chair was so well made that it snapped only at the points of assembly...." read more: image:


Read More:

Read More:

Surrealism brought about a revaluation of the work of the Art Nouveau architects, who had been either forgotten or discredited by the time Dali wrote his celebrated article on the ‘terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture’, ‘De la beaute terrifiante et comestible de l’architecture modern’ style’. Dali was seized with enthusiasm for Hector Guimard’s decorations on the Paris Metro station entrances, and had them photographed by Brassai to support his views. Above all, he revealed to his friends the originality of Antoni Gaudi , the greatest of the proto-surrealist architects after Ledoux. Gaudi worked in Barcelona; he wished to free himself of the conventions of previous styles and to draw directly on nature – animals and plants – for his decorative forms…. Read More: a

…It was not enough for him to reproduce the appearance of natural forms ; he studied their internal structure and the laws governing their organic development in order to improve his representation of them. In 1883 he started the church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona; abandoning the flying buttresses of the Gothic Revival style, he substituted a new method of supporting the diagonal thrust: an inclined pillar. The Parque Guell (1900-14), on a hillside near Barcelona, is an amazing garden laid out in terraces winding along for several miles, with spiral-shaped seats decorated with ceramics, walls following the undulations of the hillside, and viaducts supported by trees carved from stone. Not only did Gaudi make masterly use of polychromy, but he also used architectural collage by incorporating real objects, such as bottles, cups or dolls, in some of his surfaces. The Casa Mila (1905-10), also in Barcelona, is a piece or genuine sculpture, both in its facade and in the details of the roof, chimneys and staircase exits, which are not visible from the street. Read More:

This entry was posted in Art History/Antiquity/Anthropology, Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Miscellaneous, Modern Arts/Craft, Visual Art/Sculpture/etc. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>