Until July 19th, 2015, at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, a great exhibition dedicated to Barcelona, as it was represented from 1888 to 1909. The main protagonists of this period are shown from a different point of view: a very young Picasso near artists that are unknown to the majority of people, but that are still pros, like Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusinol, Isidre Nonell o Joaquim Mir. The exhibition “La Rosa de Foq. Picasso and Gaudì’s Barcelona” is a homage Expo 2015. Maria Luisa Pacelli – director of the Modern and Contemporary Arts Gallery of Ferrara – organized the exhibition and focused on the period from Expo 1888 to 1909. In 1888 the Expo took place in Barcelona and was attended by 400,000 people from around the world; in 1909, there was the one week that was called “tragic week”, it was the last week of July, when working classes protested against the army in Barcelona, supported by anarchist, communists and republicans. Hence, the exhibition shows Barcelona through the eyes of artists, since the international event that started economic, urban and cultural expansion (Expo 1888) until the protests that rose because of social inequality. Artists were the first ones to see these two souls of these decades, in a land that kept its traditions but was opened to the newness coming from Paris.
The exhibition starts with a portrait by Picasso “I tetti di Barcellona” (The Roofs of Barcelona), which is next to a planimetry of the city showing the incredible expansion. The urban renewal is the symbol of “La Rosa de Foq” – which is how anarchists called Barcelona – and Picasso shows the inner city. His draft is lively too, he represented the Carnival; but then there is the dark side represented in “La Garrotte” of Casas – a dramatic piece of work showing a public execution and the tension reigning in Barcelona at that time. Besides public life, there is also private life and the life of the richer and richer bourgeoisie. There are areas dedicated to the architecture of Gaudì, to graphic, intern design, jewels, ceramics and statues of that period. There is also an area dedicated to nightlife, Picasso strikes back with a new and surprising language.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa