The mystical madness of Gaudi by Glenn Belverio

Chimneyssky

Dear Shaded Viewers,

When in Barcelona, it is an absolute necessity to visit some of Antoni Gaudi’s fantastic buildings. During the break in between shows at 080 Barcelona Fashion on Thursday and Friday, we (Lillie from Preen magazine, Anh Tuan from Hintmag, Frederic from Modem, Godfrey from FWD et al) raced around the city, squeezing in as much Gaudi gawking as we could. First stop was Casa Mila aka La Pedrera. This was the one I was most interested in as it is featured in Michelangelo Antonioni’s brilliant film, "The Passenger" (1975) starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider. Two years ago when I interviewed Dario Argento in Rome, we talked about his and Antonioni’s use of architecture as actual characters in their films. La Pedrera, with its humanoid chimney stacks and undulating facade, certainly comes across as a strong character on film and in real life.

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I loved this Gaudi tea set inside the house.

Above: Scene from The Passenger. Please note that this music does not appear in the film. Also note the drying laundry that Maria Schneider walks through on the roof! You won’t see that now, as the roof is overrun with thousands of tourists every day. I wish I  could have been there in 1975.

One thing I noticed while walking through the exhibition section of the building is that the music they were playing in the background was from Ingmar Bergman’s "Persona"! Interesting, since "The Passenger" and "Persona" are both films about identity.

Next stop was Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia…

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It was fascinating to watch work going on within the church. It may take another 50 years to finish but as Gaudi himself said, "My client is not in a hurry." (That would be God.)

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We took the elevator up to the bridge for dizzying views of the church and the city. Frederic from Modem was scared, saying "In a way, I feel like there is nothing stopping me from throwing myself over the edge." I thought, "Wow, that is so existential." Luckily, his superego prevailed.

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On my last day in Barcelona I visited the Casa Batllo.

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