The publication of the proposal for the artistic intervention of Frederic Amat on the facades of the Liceu of Barcelona is becoming 2016’s mainstream.
The proposal is presented as a redemption of the historic facade of the Grand Theatre, considered dull and uninteresting for a large part of Barcelona society.
It would be a good start if we consider how is or how it was the object of intervention… Taking depositions of technical district, we must remember that today’s facades are the result of an urgent intervention made at the time of rehabilitation of the theater after the fire (Could we postpone the debate to the moment when the facade has recovered its splendor?).
Critics (positive and negative), from our perspective, is falling on superficial matters, personalistic, the “like or do not like“ … when it could be an exercise of great interest. Heritage values and their evolution in time, artistic interventions in public space, the ephemeral / permanent … are the most interesting aspects that should be incorporated.
Why it’s made and why this way, as a start.
Looking at examples of other artistic interventions at a global level, emerged lot of aspects to consider.
The degree of commitment of interventions increases when it acts in its outer envelope, in the public space. There are fewer interventions in urban spaces than in interiors, and they are actually more conservative than those that operate behind closed doors.
Except in cases where the proceedings are clearly ephemeral and reversible, as the case of the Reichstag in Berlin, with the operation of wrapping that made Christo and Jeanne Claude.
14 days duration, 100,000 m2 of woven polypropylene, 15.6 km of blue rope and more than 200 workers to cover the building (materials were recycled after the intervention in 1995). All to convert the Reichstag in a strange metaphysical area, another episode in the eventful and intense life of a symbol of democracy. The project was financed by artists own funds (25 years of project), selling the project preparatory studies, drawings, scale models ….
Or the case of the space for reflection and play as an inflatable sphere of Documenta 5 in Kassel (1972), where the lmits of what exists and what is incorporated is clearly defined.
Another way less committed from the material point of view that is becoming common is the projection of mapped artistic creation in the facades of important buildings. The projections are clearly reversible and ephemeral, and help produce the effect event (which governs largely cultural agendas).
The images of the Guggenheim in New York interact with the abstract geometric device that sets the spiral of the building, while the projections of the Fêtes dels Lumières in Lyon distorts the neoclassical facade on which they are projected. There are endless possibilities from the technological point of view, interest remains to be seen in many cases.
The intervention on Gorgot Tower (Figueres) to convert the old theater of the town in the current Teatro Museo Dalí, permanent, provides a thread of connection with the proposal of the Liceu, considering the incorporation of an alien, serial and repetitive element to the entire outer surface. Here the figure of the artist expands its presence in every centimeter of space.
Interventions indoors are much more diverse and trigger new interpretations of heritage sites and new experiences. Whatever the use of the building, the artistic experience participates and transforms the space.
Gaudí’s and Jujol interior intervention in the Palma Cathedral (in Mallorca) is a wonderful example of dialogue between gothical space and the sensory new approach of the architects.
Controlled environmental conditions that offer interiors help, without a doubt, to make possible experiences of greater subtlety.
“Ascension” from Anish Kapoor in San Girogio Maggiore, emphasises the “immaterial becoming object”, according to the artist.
Or the sun entering the Tate Gallery’s thanks to Olafur Eliasson.
The debate is served. Bon Appetite.