Barcelona, Spain. City of art, culture, history and incredible architecture. A real feast for the senses.
Home of Gaudi and his amazing curvy buildings, one of them being Casa Batllo, which on Saturday 10th December played host to the first International exhibition of painting and photography, Barcelona Showcase 2011.
Saturday morning at 7am I got out of my hotel bed and began to get myself ready to leave to set up my work at the Casa Batllo. I cold showered myself in to a state of readiness. Packed my things and had some much needed morning grindage for the long day ahead. I had decided to walk to the venue from my hotel which i had done so the day before as a test. I put my heavy rucksack on, picked up my paintings by the strap I had secured around them and ventured outside. I knew this would be a hard and long 45 minute walk carrying all this stuff, but I was too busy pumping adrenaline and endorphins to care. I walked down the quiet suburban streets, greeting the street cleaners as I passed them by. My burning hands and forearms needing a rest every now and again by switching the weight of my paintings on wood from left hand to right hand and vice versa.
Reaching Gaudi's Casa Batllo at around 8:40 there was a line of artists starting to gather and grow and pour out in front of the entrance waiting to be let in. once in we were let loose and began setting up our spaces. The sound of hammers echoed through the hallways, and an array of international works were now being hung. Shortly this mixture of mediums, styles and practices would be unveiled to the people of Barcelona.
An ambitious exhibition that would open from 10:30am with a private view from 7:30pm until 12 midnight. Two large floors of International work from Portugal, France, UK, Spain, Argentina, Romania, Russia, Germany, Norway, Malaysia, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Australia, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, South Korea, Iceland, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan, China, India, Panama, Japan. There was a great atmosphere of artists taking an interest in each others work and a great range of visitors.
Security at the door and within the building were provided by men built like trucks in black suits and shaven heads who were extremely polite and professional. Spectators entered and explored. Their curiosity and eyes led them around the halls and they took their time viewing the many works on display, telephoning their friends whenever something captured their attention and urging them to come on down. Within minutes new groups of visitors would appear desperately looking for these recommended pieces.
A spanish review by Articularte had this to say: "Painting and photography, in an unorchestrated symphony, where each author interpreted their own melody. Sometimes in the middle of the duel of notes, a sound would suddenly elevate itself above the scores provided to capture the attention of the overwhelmed spectator". To my delight I received a mention in this review along with a few others.
Each artist had a story to tell of all the efforts made in getting themselves and their work to this exhibition, stories that united all of us and created connections that went beyond our work. Each had their struggles, logistical problems, some their nightmare journeys but their resolve, determination and excitement was something that reminded us all of the love we have for the path we have chosen as artists and the things we are willing to do to satisfy our hearts and creative minds.
The walk back to my hotel that night seemed longer and my bags heavier after the white wine now circulating throughout my body and my back wanting to give in but the buzz I was feeling and the smile on my face was worth it.
I stayed a further few days in Barcelona taking in the sights and architecture that I have always found inspiring about this city. My trusty camera and iphone at the ready trying to capture and make pictures of what I saw and felt. More on that in another post.