Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"A Sandbox For The Subconscious Mind"

Adventure is where you find it.

I have said this since I was a kid. I believe that adventure can be found anywhere!  Adventure is something you can cultivate during a visit to a neighborhood park or travelling to a distant, exotic destination.  Adventure often finds you when you dare to break out and try something new and unknown. 

Beehive and I were in Barcelona for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day last April, meeting up with more than 30 (pinhole) photographers from around the world.  Having never been to Barcelona, we took every opportunity to strike out and explore new corners of the city.  We typically took the subway to an distant destination, and then made the long walk back to our flat. 

On this particular day, we had taken the train to the Montserrat Monastery and on our return trip decided we were not quite ready to call it a day.  We got off the train at Espanya Station and rather than catch a subway connection, we climbed from the depths of the city to find ourselves in a new landscape, Plaça d'Espanya

Like spokes in a wheel, surface avenues and boulevards intersect at this point, while underground, subways and distant-service train lines converge. Arranged around the monuments and fountains in the center of the roundabout are all manner of interesting architecture. A former bullring loomed to the north, now a shopping mall. Beyond that, Miró's Dona i Ocell (Woman and bird) rose like a technicolor giantess from a park bearing the artist's name. Behind a chain link fence, we wished we could get closer.

We walked a little further, and found a modern fire station at the edge of the park. It was late in the afternoon and no activity was to be seen Probably still siesta time. I really wanted a Barcelona fire department t-shirt, but I didn't want to disturb anybody. 

Bombers de Barcelona (Barcelona Firefighters)  
At this point, I am tired, hungry, and my feet ache. Beehive, inspired by Miró's Dona i Ocell and the relative proximity of the Miró museum, makes a case for walking up and through the Montjuïc to the museum. The Montjuïc, a low hill rising over the south end of Barcelona, has played a role in defining Barcelona culture for centuries. Several venues were built here for the 1992 Olympic games. Castles, fortifications, arenas, and museums are clustered on this mound.

It's not a high hill, but the steps seem endless (there are actually escalators, but they weren't working) as you climb from the plain of Barcelona's streets and avenues.  We paused to catch our breath and look out over the glorious city, and I shot this urn in the clouds.

An Urn With A View
My comfort and mood were both eroding as we continued to climb the hill, navigating toward the Miró museum using Google maps on my phone.  By the time we arrived, I was sweaty, crabby, hungry, and tired. Of course, the museum closed in forty five minutes and I would have to check my camera bag. At least no one insisted on x-raying my film again.  I kept one of my pinhole cameras in my hand, fully intending to exact a pinhole photographic revenge on the museum. 

Miró had an agenda of turning art on its ear and achieving an "assassination of painting", in the interest of promoting contemporaneous socio-political issues. In the context of his world, Miró was punk. He challenged accepted norms concerning art, design, and composition.  He painted huge canvases with extremely subtle and fine linework in the interest of communicating his distress over Spanish politics. I sat for eight minutes, mulling his commitment, while my shutter was open. 

Miró Tryptich: ""Painting on white background for the cell of a recluse"
lines on essentially blank canvases. 

Miró was connected to his contemporary surrealist/abstract artist friends and Alexander Calder has a couple of sculptures represented at the museum. The Mercury Fountain is an amazing monument to the mines at Almadén, Spain, which produced some 250,000 metric tons of mercury over nearly two millennia of operation.

The Mercury Fountain, Calder
As I wandered the halls of the museum, basking in the genius of Miró, I felt my hostility and agitation melt away.  As often happens, closing time loomed and we began to hurry from one exhibit to another.  An outside terrace beckoned, primary colors screaming for attention in the fading light. We stepped outside. 

"Girl Escaping", Miró 1967
"The Carress of a Bird" Miró 1967 (handheld)
I balanced my pinhole camera on a handy surface to capture one sculpture, while choosing to hand-hold my camera for a different sculptural work.  I worried that I might incur the wrath of the surly staff for using a camera in the museum.  We tried to visit the gift shop, but were told that it was closed because the museum was closing in 15 minutes.  I am positively certain that I could find whatever I wanted to purchase in 15 minutes, but it seemed to be a consistent theme for our visit to the Fundacio Joan Miró. I felt my mellowing mood skewing toward agitation again.

Outside the museum, a characteristically red sculpture by Calder beckoned and I opened my shutter once again, this time on a proper tripod, seeking the contours and rivets that are common in his work. My mood eased and I felt at peace again.  

4 Wings by Alexander Calder

We walked a little a little further and stumbled upon the funicular railroad that would take us down to the waterfront and from where we would continue our amble back to the flat. 

Here's some more information about the works at the Fundacio Joan Miró.

ARTSY has a very informative page on Alexander Calder.  Their mission is to make all the world's art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. 

All photos made with the terraPin Prime 3Dprinted pinhole camera
Shot on Fujichrome Velvia 50 film

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for the input!