"Everything comes from the great book of nature. Human attainments are an already printed book" Antoni Gaudi
Casa Mila designed by architect Gaudi, 1906.
'The word gaudy has been used as an insult for almost a century.The word usage came from an unusual renegade architect in Catalan'. Archictect Antoni Gaudi was an extremely pious religious figure, a fanatic Catholic who lived a life of voluntary simplicity and who had a commitment to building designs inspired by his countryside and nature. He is an extrodinarily contradictory figure and was co-opted by various groups in the 1960's who would have mortified him. Groups like hippies, the hallucenegetic experiements in drugs and counterculture and the Dadists and Surrealists. The convolution of gaudy and Gaudi has become an urban myth and yet there may be a logical connection to the usage of gaudy being negative with the architect.
Recently, during a small power outage, I noticed that we had a Criterion Collection dvd of Catalan architect Anonio Guadi by beautiful Japanese direct Hiroshi Teshigahara. (Woman of the Dunes) I was so surprised, I guess Stagg had picked it up without me noticing! The Criterion Collection is so amazing and basically it's not unusual to open up a dvd, set aside a couple of hours and feel like you just sat in on an awesome tutorial! This set comes with the 1984 film Tesigahara made on one of his re-visits to see Gaudi's work. He first went to visit Barcelona with his father who was a master of Ikebana (flower arrangements) a sculptor, and a member of Japan's avant garde movement.
The younger Teshigahara says he had only seen a photo of one of Gaudi's benches and that he went into a shock seeing his buildings the first time. A special delight in this dvd set is that the original film he shoots of his father's visit is included. This footage is before Hiroshi becomes a film maker! The filming was instrumental to him becoming a film maker. Comparing his 1959 footage to the 1984 shots is fascinating. Sofu Teshigahara is also filmed by his son visiting Salvador Dali. And another wonderful monet is Sofu constructing a driftwood and flower arangement right in front of Dali, with Dali and Gaia his wife, in fabulous dramatic black and white clothes. She is wearing these broad striped pants and they are thrilled with Teshigahara's impulsive creation.
Something of note, Picasso would have been a young boy walking the same streets that Gaudi was constructing fabulous buildings like this one:
The influence upon cubism by Gaudi's mosaic and organic designs is discussed in brief during some of the "extras' on this dvd set and an episode of Robert Hughes's BBC program Monito is included.
Woman With Guitar by George Braque, 1913.
Trailer for Teshigahar's Woman In The Dunes.