BARCELONA – Having visited , I was lucky enough to stay for the weekend – and was able to do the gallery rounds and discover what’s on. The city has come up with a cool idea to promote art, placing little posts with coloured pills on the outside of galleries and museums to create the 'Barcelona Contemporary Art Tour.' It’s great as it signals both larger and smaller spaces to locals and tourists. An alternative to get a quick art fix is to walk Consell de Cent Street in the centrally located Eixample neighbourhood with its many contemporary art galleries. I’ve chosen a few things to see if you get the chance – and some ideas of other things to do.
A poster indicating the Barcelona Contemporary Art Tour, as seen outside galleries and museums in Barcelona.
Estrany de la Mota
Located in Passatge Mercader, this gallery’s current exhibition is called Textura|Trama|Abstracció, showing the work of Latin American artists who have lived in Spain. On the floor, Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto has created a grid made out of chewing gum – which seems to be a popular medium nowadays – using something we encounter in a chaotic fashion on a daily basis to create a beautifully organised, symmetrical artwork. Other highlights of the show were the small Prototipos de Diseños de Reproducciones Accidentales de los Azulejos del Metro de Madrid by the Venezuelan artist Patricia Esquivias, whose small works are reproductions of fragments of the Madrid underground walls. Apparently, whenever the tiles broke or fell off, they were replaced by whatever random tile was at hand, creating walls like a colourfully abstract – and quite strange – compositions. I found that hilarious, and loved the little reproductions, which were displayed on a shelf alongside a video explaining the story.
Consell de Cent, Galeria Toni Tàpies
The current series of exhibitions surveys the gallery’s collection, with, at the moment, the work of Ann Veronica Janssens and Jana Sterbak. I found Sterback’s Narcisse interesting: two chairs, one from steel and one from ice, face each other. As the ice chair slowly melts, its steel counterpart will be left ‘staring’ into space on its own. I also want to draw attention to a couple of other galleries: Galeria Carles Taché, showing the work of Stella Rahola Matutes and Galería Senda, who were exhibiting Martín Chirino.
Installation view of 'Galiera Toni Tàpies: 1994-2014: Dialogues of a Collection,' including Jana Sterbak's Narcisse. Courtesy Galeria Toni Tàpies.
Shop and Eat
Besides my appetite for art, I was also looking forward to eating well – not impossible in London of course, but home is always home! My own recommendations are Kuo for sushi – a local hangout in the upper part of the city, great if one is going out in the Aribau area; Pez Vela for rice and small, yummy tapas with a nice view of the beach – one MUST have the “pulpo a la gallega;” and Jaime Beriestain Concept Store, a newly refurbished space with a café and a restaurant, and a lot of things for the home to fall in love with.
Jaime Beriestain's Concept Store in Barcelona.