All posts filed under: art and museum

Figueres Dalí museum

Figueres: artistic flair guaranteed!

 

church figueres

Església de Sant Pere in Figueres

Figueres – small town charm. Those who are looking for a bit of variety and urban feeling – even if it’s just on a small scale – should give the charming town Figueres a go. The relaxing atmosphere is perfect for a stroll through the town and some window-shopping – I’m sure your wallet won’t stay put for long! From charming, classy boutiques to bigger fashion chains – Figueres has it all. The city also has a range of culinary treasures to offer to its visitors. For those who are looking for restaurants in a beautiful ambiance, the square in front of the town’s church is the place to be. Lean back and watch the colorful life of the city.

Dalí everywhere!

figueres dalí sculpture

Dalís impressive sculptures!

But now moving on to a man who gave Figueres its artistic flair and made the town known around the world. Yes, you guessed right: Salvador Dalí! Because what would be an article about Figueres without mentioning Catalonia’s most prestigious artist? Exactly: simply incomplete and not capturing the town’s character. Strolling through the Catalan streets, stumbling upon Dalís works of art over and over, you can definitely tell: Figueres takes immense pride in the surrealist.

 

Teatre-Museu Dalí – Figueres pride and joy

figueres dali museum

The famous facade with its colossal eggs

His most impressive and noticeable work would be the Teatre-Museu Dalí in the city centre. The matte red facade with its oversized eggs representing love and hope, the enormous dome-shaped roof and the strikingly beautiful front with its countless details that alone take up a couple of minutes to observe, give a first hint of what’s hiding behind the old walls of Figueres’ former municipal theatre.

 

figueres dali

Night at the museum

figueres dalí museum outside

Impressive facade of the Teatre-Museu Dalí

Every summer the museum offers its art-loving visitors a special treat: exclusive nighttime tours including a glass of champagne! But beware: the tours that take place between 10pm and 1 am are extremely popular. Get your tickets early enough and I guarantee you won’t be sorry! The short period of waiting doesn’t bother us because now in the evening time a light breeze is blowing in front of the museum and you don’t feel like melting in the sun anymore like one of Dalís famous clocks.

 

 

Figueres entrance museum

Beautiful details at the entrance

Entering the Teatre-Museu Dalí we immediately get goose bumps all over our bodies. In the semicircular inner courtyard where all of the different figures and sculptures are magically displayed with spot lights shining on them, our eyes wander directly to the giant glass dome. Especially at night the outside area of the museum spreads a special charm because now the stars are shining – almost kitschy – above our heads.

Figueres glass dome museum

The sparkling glass dome at the museum

Figueres’ famous museum – fascinating and multi-faceted

Figueres museum dalí

Much more than just the famous clocks!

We continue our visit through the different rooms and notice in amazement: Dalís works of art were extremely multi-faceted. There is so much more to the artist than just the „Melting Clocks“. You could spend hours studying and interpreting every little detail of his art work. Dalí once said to his friend (and rival) Picasso: „Picasso es un genio, yo también“ meaning “Picasso is a genius but so am I“. Well, he wasn’t particularly humble…but he also didn’t have any reason to be!

 

 

 

Surrealistic dream

figueres dalí artwork

Dalís huge artwork

Those who still haven’t had enough after a couple of hours in the surrealistic museum, now have the chance to stock up on souvenirs from the gift shop. And if you developed a certain fascination with the artists life and motivation like I did, grab yourself a copy of Dalís autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí“ and start reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking through a window in Portlligat

New Dalí-documentation “The secret life of Portlligat”

On July 1st, the new documentation about the extraordinary artist Salvador Dalí and his life in Portlligat premiered in the Sala Art i Joia in Cadaqués. The film was produced by the Dalí Foundation and directed by David Pujol.

Dalí – great painter and architect

You can say whatever you want about Salvador Dalí, whether he was a genius or simply insane, but he definitely had a great talent. The extroverted artist loved to provoke and to be always centre stage. His work is not only well known in Europe, but also in the US he was very successful. In 1936, with only 32 years, he already appeared on the Time Magazine’s cover. He created most of his work in the only studio in his house in Portlligat, close to Cadaqués. Dalí himself built the house by assembling various fishing huts.

Bay of Portlligat

With the old fishing boats, the bay of Portlligat looks very charming.

Polar bear in the house

Today, his house is a museum giving a great insight in the life of the famous painter. For example, you can find a huge stuffed polar bear, stuffed swans and other birds and bizarre decoration. On the roof you can see the famous white eggs, which are also on the roof of the museum in Figueres. The egg is one of Dalí’s favourite and often used symbol in his work. From the terrace you have a beautiful view to Portlligat and its hilly surrounding. Apart from the unusual decoration, as a visitor you get intimate insights in the private life of Dalí. You can even have a look in his bedroom and bathroom.

Stiffed polar bear in the museum

Dalí indeed had an unique taste.

La vida secreta de Portlligat. La casa de Salvador Dalí

Pujols documentation “La vida secreta de Portlligat. La casa de Salvador Dalí” as well uses these private moments. The film throws new light on the deep relationship Dalí had with the landscape of Cadaqués, Portlligat and the Cap de Creus. Also, it revolves around the relationship to Dalís father and his sister.
Director David Pujol said: “I wanted to show Dalí in his studio. The painter in his sanctum sanctorum. The man in his habitat. And Gala. (…) I wanted to capture the constant to-and-fro between everyday life and exile, between interior and exterior, between intimacy and extraversion”.

Poster of the new Dalí documentation

The new film by David Pujol promises private insights into the life of Dalí.

Flour museum in Castelló

Fira del pa – Bread fair in Castelló d’Empúries

Not far from Empuriabrava, there is the small town of Castelló d’Empúries, which used to be famous for its mills and the production of flour. When the place was the capital of the county, it had three flour mills. Only one of them remained and was transformed into a museum, explaining the process of the flour production.

The journey of the wheat grain

Designed as a tour through the different floors of the old fabric, visitors can follow the complex journey of the wheat grains and their end product flour. Divided into different stations, you get to know more about cleaning machines, conditioning machines, milling machines and the famous red mills, the heart of the Farinera. The museum is definitely worth a visit, also for kids there is a lot to explore and to try out. Visiting La Farinera will surprise you!

Grains in the museum

From the grain to flour, visitors can go on a journey and see how the process of producing flour works.

Bread fair

Also interesting is the visit of the annual bread fair in Castelló d’Empúries, which takes place every Whit Sunday. The fair is organized by the museum. Apart from guided tours through the museum, there are also workshops for the preparation of bread. Young and old can experience an old craft together, trying out different bread recipes. Who doesn’t like to knead just goes to the market. Here you can try different types of bread and take them home. Besides, you can buy regional specialities and hand-crafted products. Have a look at our photos from 2017!

 

Dalí from a different angle

One day in the life of Dalí

Exposition in the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol

The temporary exposition in the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol gives visitors the chance to get an impression of the private Dalí – his work in his studio and the life with his wife Gala. From March 15 until January 7, 2018, you can see photographs of both of them, made by Ricardo Sans, a Spanish photographer.

Ricardo Sans’ heritage

The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation bought around 900 pictures from the Ricardo Sans heritage, which where taken by him during his cooperation with Dalí. Both got to know each other in 1949, through mutual friends. Since then, Sans documented them with his photographs between 1949 and 1956. The exhibition is divided into four different sections: portraits of Salvador Dalí (1949-1956), portraits of Gala (1951-1953), portraits of Salvador Dalí and Gala (1951-1954) and their everyday life in Portlligat (1950-1956). Organized by huge picture frames, the images seem like a photo album visitors can “leaf through“.

Visitors watching the phptographs

We were very interested in observing the private Dalí and Gala in the photographs.

Photographs showing the Dalís from different sides

The pictures give an insight into the private life of Dalí and make possible a better understanding of the extroverted artist. Some photos show him eating sea urchins, other while painting the Christ of Saint John of the Cross. The portraits of Gala show her mostly posing in front of the camera, with a smile on her lips. There are two photographs standing out, both of them are double exposed. The first one shows Dalí with his better half in their courtyard of their house. The second one shows Dalí hiding in the living room, typical surrealist style, showing that Salvador Dalí knew better than anyone else how to draw attention.

 

Eccentric Dalí and Gala

Dalí with the love of his life, Gala in their house in Portlligat.

Dalí as designer

The exposition is definitely worth a visit, because you can also visit the Gala Dalí Castle at the same time. In its on special way, the medieval building, which was given to Gala as a present from Dalí, gives you the possibility to immerse in their lives. Dalí himself furnished and designed the castle for Gala, the love of his life. A glass table serving as a peephole for observing their guests or a radiator covered with a painting of the exact same radiator are only a few examples for Dalí’s creativity.

Golden water tap

A very unique detail is the golden water tap in Gala’s bathroom.

 

 

Winning architects

The Pritzker Architecture Prize 2017 goes to Catalonia

Winners are  Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is regarded as the Nobel prize for architects. The prize is worth 100.000$ and is awarded by the Hyatt Foundation and a jury of prestigious architects, since 1979. In 2017, the award went to three Catalonian architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta from Olot, Girona. Since almost 30 years, the three architects have been working together under the label RCR ARQUITECTES. Through their projects, they create an interaction between space, light, shade, ambience, surrounding, colours and landscape.

“Great understanding of history, natural topography and culture”

According to the jury, their work is “powerfully connected to the surrounding landscape“, which comes from the “strong sense of place“ and the great “understanding of history, natural topography and culture“. They always intend to “highlight the natural surrounding“ through the siting of buildings, the choice of materials and the geometries and “to pull them into the building“. Their work connects past and present, just as exterior and interior, which shows their “love for both tradition and innovation“. They often use modern materials like glass, plastic and recycled steel.

Folded steel walls in vineyards

The vineyard Bell-Lloc in Palamós, dating back to 2007. Here you can see folded steel walls, integrated in the vineyards like sculptures. (photo: Hisao Suzuki)

Aiming at regional work

For the first time, three architects together are honoured with the prize. Their purpose is to tackle the local history and landscape and to work regionally. All three of them are deeply attached to their roots, preferring local life rather than a jet-set lifestyle or working with the most famous architects worldwide. However, they prove that, wherever you are in the world, with the right sense for time and space, you are able to design in a creative and modern way.
Most of their projects are realized between Girona and Barcelona, near to their office in Olot.

All of their projects provide balance. To be open minded and close to your roots is the recipe for success, according to RCR ARQUITECTES.

Plastic roof floating in Olot

Since 2011, you can find a transparent, bent plastic roof, floating between old stone walls at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot. (photo: Eugeni Pons / Hisao)

 

Here you can see some of their well-known work:

 

 

 

 

Lying on the bed, topless

Photography and self reinvention

She is a young and self-confident woman who loves photography. In front of and behind the camera, she plays with erotic fantasies of past and present, experimenting with light and shadow as well as black and white.

Montse Capel aka “Moon”

Montse Capel is 26 years old. She is from Figueres, the city of surrealism, which had a formative influence on her from a very early age: She uses the pseudonym “Moon”. The moon orbits the earth. It represents the unconscious, the desires and dreams “Immerse yourself in your dreams and give in to your desires.” Her clear black-and-white photography deals with self-perception, intuition and focuses on the feminine side. She is always her own model in a new context. The backgrounds, the environments and the light – always change. And she is right in the middle of it. By using the self-timer, she is loosing herself in the moment, the ambiance.

Nude picture of "Moon"

Passionate photography

However, she is far away from taking trendy selfies that are often shared on Facebook. Everyone has been talking about it even if they have been around for 175 years – aesthetic self-portraits. Montse Capel feels obliged to follow this tradition.

Self-potrait with strong eyes

Black & white Portrait

Long before Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, smartphones, selfie sticks and self-timer, people used to display themselves in front of their own cameras. The phenomenon to taking pictures oneself is as old as the photography itself and corresponds to our innate curiosity.
Montse Capel is not a digital “egoshooter”, but an ambitious photo artist.

Displaying yourself nude in front of your own cameras

Portraying herself with a self-timer

She wants to reinvent herself again and again, to dive into different worlds, to experience the interaction between light and shade…
We are looking forward to new perspectives from her.

With Attention to Detail – Ventura & Hosta Cartons

In the romantic city of Navata, the workshop of Ventura & Hosta Cartons, where the Giants of Navata and many other figures are brought to life, is located. The studied ceramicist Neus Hosta and her husband David Ventura decided in 1984 to also share their professional path. Although trained as a jeweller, David produces figures out of cardboard since 1980 and was so pleased by this work that he wanted to continue the trade with the help of his wife. Obviously successful, as many cities in the province of Girona now possess their own giants and the name of the family-run business is well-known.

Neus-David-standing-figures

Well, how are they produced, those huge and small figures, the masks and installations? Neus demonstrates the “negatives“ of a mask to us. These are earthenware vessels in the shape of a face as well as a back of the head into which liquid cardboard is casted. After the sticky mass has dried, it is got out of the vessel and the two sides of the face are united carefully by hand with the help of glue and stapler needles.

At the end, filigree drawings and well-chosen colors give character to the figures and convert them into the so-called “positives“. More than one month can be spend to produce such faces because the glue has to dry in the sun, but this allows the couple to work on several works at the same time.

The best-known figures of Ventura & Hosta Cartons might be the giants which are more than 3 metres high, have an imposing weight of 40kg, and allow a person to step in and to move it.
Many of the surrounding cities possess their own giants which are taken out for festivals and are brought to dance. The enthusiasm for this among the people is big.
But most of all, this spectacle is fun for the children, we are told by Neus. This gave them the idea to also create small giants out of clay to play with.

Besides the figures, also installations can be discovered. “El tiempo múscial“ is a roundabout on which figures, driven by gearwheels, are dancing to music. They look so authentic that you have the impression they will jump down the roundabout and look for a new dancing partner.

Customers scramble to get the works. Theatres often ask David and Neus to design their sceneries. But also famous people like the brothers Roca whose restaurant “El Celler de Can Roca“ is well-known for its free style kitchen, let themselves be done a figure. Others want the couple to create a portray of them for a present or for having a personal memory. Those portrays cost around 35€ and are ready to be collected after 15 days.

Not everything can be bought – the giants are unique. But there is a huge selection of miniatures which can be brought home for 25€. A unique present for the kids of the family are definitely the horses in different sizes, into which they can step. You might have to dig a bit deeper into your pockets to buy one of these – they are worth between 150€ and 350€. Also masks are available, they cost 120€ and can be used as a decoration at home or they might guarantee a special appearance at the next carnival.

The production of all those wondrous things are only done by Neus and David. Only when having a big sales order, they have a helping hand. The two work together since 34 years now – every step of process can be done in sleep and the attention to detail can be seen in every figure.

If you like to have a look at the offer of Ventura & Hosta, come over to the workshop in Navata or inform yourself about the current range of masks and figures on the website www.venturahosta.net !

Fashion show.

Sensorium Grand Gala of Surrealism

…the revival of Surrealism: We normally go in search for art and not the other way around. The atmosphere in Cadaqués last saturday raised the feeling, that the art itself went hunting. It‘s probably Dalís legacy, that the scene along the coast in North Catalonia is ruled by the Surrealism. We associate it with yonder brillant and bizarre art movement, but it was also a way of living for the artists at the time. Dalís legendary parties were almost as famous as his dreamy paintings. The crazier, the better was the motto – and the impossible was made possible.

Exactly that was, what inspired the organizers of the Grand Gala of Surrealism, which took place in Cadaqués for the first time this September and was contributed by many international artists. The group behind the project is called immaginae, comes from Italy and is co-organizer of the annual Florence Design Week. Dalí’s presence now attracted them to Catalonia. Making art not only sense perceivable, but also tangible  – so the idea. And in fact, the whole day was something in the air. Installations appeared out of the nowhere between the bathers on the beach, emitting a magical blue light at dusk. Eccentric hats and quirky jewelery creations were sold on the market. The intention of the immaginae group was the free developement of art and creativity and the visitors were asked to interact.

Working behind the bar.

However, the daily programm was only the calm before the storm. Shortly after sunset, cars suddenly wound their way up the road to Portlligat and a colorful and bizarre-looking crowd with hats flow into the Villa Ses Vistes. They accepted the invitation to the actual Gala of Surrealism, where the prominent and art-loving audience showed creativity – costumes were explicitly welcomed. Already at the beginning of the party, became the terrace of the Villa scene for a Défilé that reminded of Vivenne Westwoods craziest collections. The women appeared in pompous dresses with giant hats made of color palettes or eggs, butterflies were caught in hair, a real lobster sat on one of the heads.

Creatures.

The barrel of Surrealism seemed finally to be overflowed and had poured over everybody. After the first Gin Tonics, the culinary experience started – just as colorful, creative and surprising as the costumes of the guest. The party could start after this delightful entry. The terrace was transformed into a stage on which not only dancers, but also singers and artistes entertained and animated the audience with a fascinating as well as shocking programm.

Dancers at the Grand Gala of Surrealism.

The mix of artistic, culinary and interactive acts created an electrifying atmosphere that lasted all night. This event proved that Dalí-like parties in today‘s time are as spectacular as they were in the past and that Surrealism can be more than just an art movement. Some will be woken up the next day wondering whether they‘ve just dreamed. The best is, that the Sensorium Grand Gala of Surrealism was just the first escapade of the immaginae group. They‘ll return to Cadaqués next summer to liberate the fantasy for a second time from its gilded cage.

Catwoman.

“Night at the Museum” – Dalí to Touch and Feel

Being in a museum at night once in a lifetime is a wish that many of us have since the blockbuster “Night At The Museum“ came up. This movie shows us that some things might change at night at the museum – you experience adventures and exhibits turn to live. After sunset, Ben Stiller has to fight against the chaos within the exhibitions. Salvador Dalí, one of the most important surrealist painters of the 20th century, attracted us this night to visit his hometown for an interesting dinner as well as an impressive visit to his museum.


The night startet at the restaurant called Coordenades with a surreal dinner. First, sparkling wine and water was served, accompanied by some starters which look different to what they tasted – just surreal. Pieces of watermelon dunked into gin, magdalenas (small sweet cakes) made of olives, and snacks out of popcorn started our menu. This is how the evening should go on – a jelly onion soup having the shape of the well-known Dalí egg, framed by a mousse out of potatoes, “winged“ fish with almonds as a main course, accompanied by the best suiting wines.

 

Onion-Soup-Dinner-Dali

To conclude the dinner, mousse au chocolat, broken chocolate, chopped and caramelized nuts and a lake out of orange juice, decorated with melting clocks out of gelantin, demonstrating the run out of time, were served.

The motto definitely was “taste, look, and being stunned and surprised“. Our conclusion is clear: Joining two components which normally aren’t associated with each other can be really stunning and even delicious.

Mousse-au-Chocolat-Dinner-Dali

The evening went further as we headed towards the Dalí Museum which had been installed and designed by the painter himself. The event „Dalí at Night“ can be visited the whole August from 22pm to 1am, the last entrance is at 23.30 pm and tickets have to be reserved online.

From the entrance hall we quickly got into a great hall with a cupola made of class which can already be seen from outside the museum. The night sky with many stars could be seen through the glass and many visitors stood still and looked skywards, enjoying the fantastic view. Other payed 1€ to switch on the lights in a car that stood in the hall. Figures that sat in the car were poured over by water and looked scary. We didn’t know whether this had any sense.

Dali-Museum-Cupola

Following the gallery, we saw many other rooms which all contained different works of arts. Some contained vast canvas, others figures or wall paintings. Behind a curtain, we found the alleged final resting place of Dalí to which he was apparently brought to after his death. Going up the stairs, a roundabout on which a sofa, formed as a mouth, a kind of cupboard, which looked like a nose and two paintings which gave an idea of two eyes, were waiting for uns. The queue to the round sight glass was long, everyone wanted to take a look through it to only the the certain part of the whole work of art which should show a face.

Dali-Face-Museum

Passing by wall paintings and portraits of Dalí, we reach one of the inner terraces on which a black and white movie showed Dalí as a human, an artist and his work within the construction of the museum which former was a theatre. We got a glass of sparkling wine for free and relaxed a few minutes in the warm summer breeze to be fit for the exhibition of Dalí’s jewellery. The collection “Dalí, joies“ produced due to Dalís design were sparkling like Thousand and One Nights. Brooches made of gold with a Madonna in the centre, having the shape of a mouth filled with diamonds or an eye whose iris reflected the run out of time… We would be lucky to possess those treasures.

Dali-Jewellery-Night-Museum

A bit breathless because of the amount of work of arts, but still impressed by the amplitude of Dalí’s creativity and change, we stepped out onto the crowded street where many people were already on their way to Acústica, a music festival whose concerts are mostly free. Those people were looking forward to a different kind of cultural offer.

 

 

The mother of the village – San Juan de las Abadesas

Usually there‘s first a place and it takes a few years until the church or the monastry is built ready – with San Juan de las Abadesas it behaves the opposite way.Even if the charming, medival place at the foot of the pyrenees seems quite traditional with its stone facades, stately manor houses and the splashing fountain in a green park – it was monumental monastery of the 12th century, which breathed life into it and lent it the name. What miracle is hiding behind those heavy wooden doors?

sant-joan-d-abedesses-claustre

At first glance, San Juan de las Abadesas seems with it‘s simple elegance less oppressive than other monastic buildings.Narrow stone pillars grow high like skeletons, climbing plants are weaved around them, in the middle of the cloister is a small fountain located. The air tastes of past times and you wait for the nuns and abbots to appear.When you finally reach the interior of the monastry, inky darkness envelopes you.The cool stone walls are painted by the light of some flickering candles, which brighten the wistful faces of the statues, looking down on the visitors.

sant-joan-d-abedesses-figures-madera

It is a place of reverence and seriousness, where the smell of incense and the shadows of the past hang heavily in the air. Indeed, the changes that formed San Juan de las Abadesas over the years, can be seen everywhere – the ivory-colored, ornamental altar, the walls, sometimes decorated with pictures of exotic animals, sometimes adorned by golden frescoes and the impressive Santissimi Misteri, a wood carving from 1251, which seems so real, that you wait for the figures to blink. You will come across traces of both French and Oriental art and architecture, which give San Juan de las Abadesas its various touch – not surprising with all its different owners.

In the year 880, the Count of Barcelona founded the monastry, which served for the following years as a residence for the daughters of the richerst families in the counrty – at the same time began the colonization of the pristine valley.Gradually, more and more houses were built around the mighty edifice and the place was named after the monastry. Around 1000 , the senior abbess was deposed and the monastery passed through countless hands, which all left their fingerprints.

sant-joan-d-abedesses-figures-exterior

That‘s exactly why the place is so interesting today – it feels as if you’ve just been wandering through several eras simultaneously. After your visit, you can either enjoy coffee and cake on the sunny front yard or continue your journey and throw a few glances into the museum, which seems like a treasure chest with it‘s golden rosaries, crystal crucifix and handcrafts.

How to get there:
Plaza de la Abadía Museo s/n
17860  Sant Joan de Les Abadesses
Sant Joan de les Abadesses, Girona  (Katalonien)

Opening hours:
daily 10.00 Uhr – 14. 00 Uhr und 16.00 – 18.00

Price:
Normal: 3 Euro
Reduced: 2 Euro
Groupticket: 2 Euro
Children free entrance.