The neighbourhood of Gràcia gets dressed for its annual Festa Major, one of the favourite street festivals of the year, as much for locals as for visitors who come through for the festivities. From August 15 to 21 you'll find a massive programme of activities for all tastes filling the streets and squares of Gràcia with music, food and parties, including concerts, fairs, the 'correfoc' ('fire run'), the 'castellers' and things to do for kids. And of course you can't miss the traditional decorating of the main streets in the barrio just for the occasion. You can find the full guide online (in Catalan only).Tuesday 14The pre-festivities on Tuesday anticipate the arrival of the big events to come. Timbales (drums) and grallas (traditional Catalan reed instruments) start up at 6pm leading up to the opening speech ('pregó') by Dr Elena Carreras, the head of ob-gyn at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital. Carreras is from Gràcia herself, and the Festival is honoured to have a woman who has reached professional excellence start off the celebrations this year.Wednesday 15Starting at 8am, early birds can join in the party with firecrackers, bangers and breakfast. Watch out for the presentation of the Gràcia Eagle, which you can see dancing in the morning as well. Among the live music on tap, today is the inauguration of 'Folk Square' in Plaça del Sol, where you can see performances by Sabor de Gràcia, Ebri Knight and RIU, among others. Thursday 16The Gràcia Festival also means food feasts, so y
On y Va offers an array of bike rental and bicycle tour options in and around Barcelona. They start and finish at their sister outfit, On y Va café, so you can have a coffee or a bite to eat as your guides lay out the plan for the tour. Barcelona 3 Climbs is the perfect ride if you want to get a unique view of Barcelona from the top of Tibidabo mountain. This ride on average is 50 km and takes about two and a half hours to complete, as you climb to 1,670 metres. That said, the pace can be adjusted to any level, as can the length of the circuit, and your guides are happy to accommodate suggestions and requests to make it the best experience for you. You get to see Barcelona in a new way, and get added insights about the city from your guides.
Pablo Picasso was the first artist who grew up in Barcelona to gain international renown. Ferran Adrià, for now, is the latest. One is the author of works in a juicy, filling exhibition; the other invites you to dessert. Picasso's culinary universe is infinite: Els 4 Gats is famous for having been a spot where he met up with other artists; Cubism and still lifes, with the decisive irruption of collage; and an avalanche of timely topics, done as if they were practice runs, such as sculptures made with kitchen utensils, food in the literature, eating in busy Paris, seafood, pottery – metaphor for cooking – outdoor dining as a celebration of life (and of Manet's 'Déjeuner sur l'herbe'), food-related engravings... Two tiny oil paintings from the Picasso family kitchen in Málaga open the exhibition, and it finishes with the artist's monumental kitchen as it was in 1948.Since you know you're definitely going to the exhibition, here's a bit of advice, if you have the time to follow it: You know how you don't eat everything on the menu when you go to a restaurant? Well, you may just have to put your gluttonous tendencies aside here too. If you really want to see the masterpieces that have been sent over expressly from Paris or those from the archives of Picasso's relatives – especially the works from the Cubist period – do it, and savour them. You can go back another day and see the rest, as the show is on until the end of September. These 180 pieces will show you Picasso's favourite
This short Secret City Trail across the Barceloneta is a playful and immersive adventure where you can experience this neighbourhood in a different way. You will solve seven cryptic clues via a web app, simply using your unique link (which you receive via text message after payment) in your smartphone’s browser. The clues are in the medium difficulty range, but remember they're set up to help you have fun, not keep you trying to solve something impossible for ages. The trail helps you to discover the secrets of Barceloneta, and includes recommendations for healthy and sustainable spots in the area. The trail starts in front of Boardriders, close to the sign for Sant Miquel beach (which bears marker 18), and as it is self-guided using the app, you and your group can begin anytime between 9am and 5pm any day of the week (it's recommended you don't start too late, as some of the venues may close before you finish). You'll finish approximately 45 to 90 minutes later (though there is no time limit) near the Barceloneta harbour, having explored approximately 1.5 kilometres. The app and all clues and instructions are in English.
This collective exhibition is part of the "la Caixa" Obra Social, which every two years invites young curators with an international background in the field of art to develop their projects, based on the archives of the "la Caixa" Collection and the MACBA Collection. This time, the curator is Alexandra Laudo from Barcelona. One morning in August 1911, in Paris, someone entered the Louvre Museum, picked up the painting 'La Gioconda' and took it without anyone noticing. The exhibition 'Una Certa Foscor' ('A Certain Darkness') takes as a symbolic starting point the black and empty space left behind by the stolen painting to speculate on the question of the eye and the image in relation to the practice of art. It brings together a selection of 14 artworks and documents that explore the ideas of opacity, concealment and absence in the artistic practice, and invites us to think about the how viewers take in art and about the current ways of seeing – and not seeing – images.
We are before an extraordinary set of works by Antoni Tàpies from the period 1946-1977; that is, the beginning of his painting career through to the restoration of the Catalan government. But if you're visiting the exhibition and you don't know anything about the moral and material grayness of the early postwar years, the isolation of a fascist dictatorship that had no qualms about shotting dissidents, or the debate among the intellectuals of the left, about the convenience of socialist realism, the efforts to articulate a civic resistance within the country, then you might not be able to get anything at all out of it. It also doesn't help that there are no explanations in the exhibition room, as they wanted the works to speak for themselves. Some 70 impressive works – like the three cyclopean canvases that showed at the Kassel 'Documenta III' in 1964, regrouped for the first time since then – that set off a rereading of the artist's corpus in the light of the 21st century, and re-create a civic awareness: Tàpies is a creator who, in 1958, achieved international success. Must he, then, become a type of role model and contribute to the materialisation of a more just and democratic society? In the exhibition there are classics worthy of any Tàpies anthology, such as the inks in the 'Natural History Series' (1950-1951), 'Metal door and violin' (1956), and the figurative and not very pleasing 'Nu' (1966). There are also works alluding to concrete events: 'November 7' (1971), the
Within 'Pharaoh. King of Egypt' is a space, 'The pharaoh, the image of Egypt', where kids can learn about some of the concepts involved in the exhibition. Children can walk through the interior of a Pharaoh's tomb, where the paintings on its walls can inspire them when it comes time for them to choose the clothes and attributes they want to give the Pharaoh they later dress. This educational space is dedicated to exploring and experimenting with the symbols of Ancient Egypt to learn to identify them and understand their meaning.
One of the latest exhibitions from the Obra Social la Caixa, in collaboration with the British Museum, 'Pharaoh. King of Egypt', explores the symbolism and ideology of the Egyptian monarchy, revealing the stories behind the 164 pieces in the show as a representation of this ancient civilisation. Standouts include goldsmithing works, as well as the monumental statues and the precious reliefs of temples that bring you closer to the real life and power of Ancient Egypt. Divided into ten areas, the exhibition examines the figure of the Egyptian monarch from various points of view: as a divine being at the centre of the social structure, with surrounding symbols and beliefs that go beyond earthly existence; in his palace life, surrounded by family; as a ruler; as a warrior; and it also delves into the fact that not all pharaohs were of Egyptian origin.
Who was Gala? The woman whose passport read Elena Ivanovna Diakonova (Kazan, 1894 – Portlligat, 1982)? One of the most extraordinary muses to be born at the food of Mount Olympus? The wife of poet Paul Éluard and later of the painter Salvador Dalí? The curator of the exhibition, Estrella de Diego, has a very clear idea: Gala is the 'coauthor of so many works by the painter that from the early 1930s he started signing their names together, Gala-Salvador Dalí'. And she ventures, 'To what extent can it not be said that Gala is part of this whole "artist as a work of art"?'Yours truly, who's spent two decades studing Dalí's oeuvre, begs to differ. Maybe the photographer Brassaï got it write, when he defined Gala as 'lover, inspiration, teacher, muse and businesswoman all at once' and responsible for the success of the 'Dalí phenomenon'. I would add to that that she also served as a mother figure for the artist. More than just a relationship, this was a diabolically complex ecosystem where shared interests made space for attraction. The exhibition details the symbiosis of this woman who was so physically fragile yet had such an incredibly strong character – some would say she was cruel even – with a universally recognised genius who was so vulnerable as to be useless when it came to the basics of everyday life. The show talks to us, via manuscripts, photos, clothes, drawings, films, etc., about the search for a space of her own for Gala (the castle in Púbol), about her Russian ide
The Japanese 'kintsugi' technique involves restoring broken ceramic pieces with a type of gold varnish. It's done to transform a cracked object into a unique element, making the fissures stand out. It's more than a reconstruction procedure, it's a philosophy of life: dealing with trauma as a way to achieve catharsis and overcome pain. The work of French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, winner of the latest edition of the Joan Miró Prize, looks at different scenes of suffering and reparation. This first Attia monographic in Spain is a highly emotional one indeed. The architecture appears as a body that shows its stigmas in public, with the impressive reproduction of the Independance Hotel in Dakar, made from filing cabinets where the police kept reports on activists, or the dizzying screening of 'La tour Robespierre'. The intensity increases with 'Open your eyes', in which Attia denounces the myth of perfection that reigns in the West and takes on images of traditional African masks patched with European elements, like a button instead of an eye, with harsh photographs of disfigured soldiers from the First World War treated with a rudimentary plastic surgery. For Attia, Europe has always tried to erase or gloss over the bloodiest episodes of its colonial and wartime past. The video 'Wounded heroes', made in Barcelona for the exhibition, looks at the present and collects testimonies of victims of racism, classism and abuses of power.Several torn and resewn canvases open the startli