Mosaics in Barcelona – not only Gaudi!

What comes in mind when you think of mosaics in Barcelona? Certainly Antonio Gaudi. But I was surprised when during the 13th ICCM conference we were shown the gems of mosaic conservation in Catalonia and there was NO Gaudi amongst them!

Let me take you to these places:

This is the Recinte Modernista Sant Pau. Build between 1902 and 1930 it became UNESCO World Heritage in 1997. This is a mosaic on a facade depicting one of the patrons of the hospital Sant Damia.

The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) was one of the outstanding figures of Catalan Art Nouveau (Modernisme). For the decorations of the buildings mosaics were used everywhere using floral motives to bring nature into the buildings and to the hospital beds.

on the ceiling
on the floor

 

on the walls
on the facades telling the history of the hospital

Another gem of art nouveau buildings richly decorated with mosaic and also stained glass works is the Palau da Musica.

The Palau de la Música Catalana was built between 1905 and 1908  also by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a home for the choral society Orfeó Català. Most impressive is the row of columns richly decorated with floral motives on the balcony of the intermission room.

On my final day in Barcelona I visited  Park Güell Gaudi’s unfinished work of a whole new garden city.  The mosaics in the park are famous because of the trencadís technique that Gaudi rivived.  Being under reconstruction I did not go into the area with his famous mosaic works but rather enjoyed the marvelous  views from the park onto the city.

Barcelona from Park Güell
Nature square with its trencadís mosaic benches

Coming back to the ICCM conference that brought me to Barcelona, I just received a thank you letter from the president of the Foundation – Roberto Nardi – stating:

“we had a full 255 participants, while contributors from 35 countries shared their work through 48 paper presentations, 59 posters and 15 videos. Each of these overall achievements represents many communal and personal successes. The sessions dedicated to modern mosaics were received well and succeeded in our goal to expose our members to new materials, techniques and technologies”

I congratulate the organizers in Barcelona in having chosen the best place to get exposed to modern mosaics.

Video as a technique for documentation of projects was also one of the new features of this conference. Wait for my next blog to see my involvement in this!

ICCM 40 – International Committee on the Conservation of Mosaics

Last week I attended an international conference on the conservation of mosaics in Barcelona. The organization that takes care of this cultural heritage is called ICCM – International Committee for Conservation of Mosaics.

Every three years they are organizing a conference where specialists in mosaic conservation and policy makers in cultural heritage from all countries with a roman mosaic history are coming together to exchange their knowledge and expertise.

This year it was the 40st anniversary of the organization. They achieved that the whole field now is working after certain standards in the conservation of ancient mosaics, that the group of conservators know of each other and can exchange experiences and that knowledge in the field was passed on and further developed in North African and middle eastern countries.

In terms of numbers this Barcelona Conference clearly ranks well:  with  255 participants, while contributors from 35 countries shared their work through 48 paper presentations, 59 posters and 15 videos. Each of these overall achievements represents many communal and personal successes. The sessions dedicated to modern mosaics were received well and succeeded in our goal to expose our members to new materials, techniques and technologies.

….. like mosaics from the period of art nouveau,

What better place for the conference could they have chosen than Barcelona with its rich heritage not only in art nouveau mosaics but also in cement tile pavements.

I also met Professor Selcuk Sener again, which I know from Ankara,  Gazi University, talking about the technical details of the removal  of 2 glass mosaic murals from the 1950s from a wall in a building in Ankara into storage.

Even terrazzo floors from the first half of the 20st century in Italy, Greece and even India were considered as mosaic floors having to be taken care of by conservation specialists.

The conference was meticulously organized by the City of Barcelona, Archeological Service. Every day of the 5 day conference we were taken to one of their gems of mosaic conservation. You can read about this in my next blog!

Um Bonde para Santa Teresa 2

My friend Anna van der Heijden and I were part of this incredible community event “Um Bonde para Santa Teresa” in Rio de Janeiro last Saturday, Aug 26. We were most impressed how the event went in true community spirit. The artist who inspired the project Andrea Aires Imbiriba after giving an impressive speech about the spirit of community art, kept in the background and everybody who was willing could mix cement, climb the scaffold and glue a mosaic on the wall, get water for cleaning the mosaic, dance or just watch.

The Bondinhos from Brasilia are in the last panel upper row 2. and 4. from left and 3 row down 2. from left.

Please enjoy a glimpse of the spirit in the video, please click on the link below!

Um Bonde para Santa Teresa – video by Gertrud Muller Aug 26 2017

also watch this film in Portuguese about the first part of the project

Um Bonde para Santa Teresa – primeira etapa Feb 04 2017