Sunday, June 3, 2007

Gaudi's Flourishes in Beijing

A small exhibition of Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi's designs at the Capital Museum so I decided to check it out.

The museum is a giant black box with an over-sized flat lid on top. On one side is a giant bronze bell-like shape jutting out of the glass.

For only 30RMB (US$3.92) you can see everything you want in that box.

I didn't know much about Gaudi except his colourful and curvy-shaped buildings that I saw in Barcelona. But I didn't know where his fanciful ideas came from until I saw the show.

There weren't many English explanations, but wonderful 3-D computer graphics that showed how he fused geometrical shapes together to create new ones and they were architecturally strong too. These were super imposed on top of actual parts of buildings to show their applications. He had once called himself a "geometrician" and believed it was the role of the architect to use light in the best way.

Only a few items were on show, including hand-carved doors and chairs in shapes inspired by nature, tiles, some rods for banisters and candelabras, and door or cabinet handles. And there was also a model of the Sacra Familia showing the vaults inside.

The exhibition was also great because there weren't many people around.

I wandered to another section of the museum that showed off porcelain from Jindezhen, well known for its ceramics. But each of them were glued together -- there were none in tact. I found this quite bizarre. Is it because the Palace Museum in Taiwan has taken all the good stuff?

No comments: