… For fences, railings, doors and various unnamable ornaments his favorite material was iron, sometimes in a laminated or cast form, but usually wrought; and here again he had rich local resources from which to draw ideas. Ironwork had been a Catalan specialty since the Middle Ages, had been undergoing and exuberant renaissance in the nineteenth-century , and was about to become what can be called the major Catalan contribution to modern art. It was not just a coincidence that Julio Gonzalez and Pablo Picasso, the pioneers of contemporary iron sculpture, were both from Barcelona.
In fact Gaudi himself was a third pioneer, even though some of his ironwork, along with some of his ceramic work was done by assistants under his supervision. He pushed iron decoration into the category of expressionist iron sculpture and left the flat motifs of neo-medievalism and Modernisimo far behind in many of the details of his perverse, tortured, bristling and generally menacing metalwork for the Casa Vicens, the Finca Guell, the Casa Batllo, and the Casa Mila.
Generally menacing are also the nonmetal shapes he invented, not merely as ornaments but as functioning parts of his buildings. The chimneys and ventilator shafts on the Palacio Guell, the Casa Batllo, and gthe Casa Mila might be classified as the conspirational, the molluscan, the horripilant, and the free-faw-fum. Roofs may suggest the backs of a herd of iridescent reptiles, and facades may look like shelved collections of giant human organs. There is no really satisfactory explanation for these forms as to their origins and the thought processes that led to their realization.
The belief that Gaudi was simply a converter and re-packager of the curved patterns of Art Nouveau into three dimensional motifs does not really account for the surrealist, obscure, and sometimes nightmare qualities of his work. The idea that he was influenced by primitive forms, in all their writhing vivacity is not coherently supported by any obvious references or concrete evidence. That he was intent on imitating, or metamorphosing nature is about all one can really discern; beyond that is the realm speculation and a profound psychological examination which would likely prove fruitless, though the relation of Gaudi with Jackson Pollack and the abstract is apparent.
The impulse toward dream biology is apparent as well in his structures; which often of course, cannot really be separated from his strange shapes, anymore than these singular and unique shapes can really be separated from his peculiar textures and ornaments. The suggestion of solid flesh that is about to melt is often accompanied by a suggestion of tibiae, femurs, muscles, and something vaguely cartilaginous. The look of a pre-historic troglodyte dwelling may be accompanied by strong suggestions of petrified prehistoric trees.
“Is not the revolutionary architectural framework that Gaudi, thanks to his remarkable knowledge of construction techniques, introduced in some of his buildings (one has only to think of La Pedrera, which seems to defy the laws of gravity, or of the prolific Doric colonnades of the Guell Park) in some respects a unique manifestation of “the profound devaluation of intellectual systems”?…
And is it not in the Latin countries that we find the most eye-catching examples of ornamental excess, of “hysterical sculpture”, of the multiple metamorphoses of Baroque/Art Nouveau and Rococo/ Nouveau pastiche, from which all sense of restraint is absent? Are not the dragons of a fantastic Orient refashioned by Gaudi’s imagination, or the strange cast-iron fauna evoking the world of the ocean depths and recalling the sculptured gargoyles of Gothic cathedrals, that adorn Guimard’s buildings and lend their forms to this entrances to the Paris Metro, virtually unique examples, in the European context, of that incursion into the fantastic world of dreams, that return to infancy of which Dali speaks?” Read More: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1310/is_1990_August/ai_8922138/