Mies in Barcelona

The Barcelona Pavilion. Mies van der Rohe designed it for the 1929 Barcelona International exhibition. It was taken apart, and then in 1986 rebuilt. The combination of materials and angles in bright light create striking areas of flatness in both in actuality and in photographs - collapsed and skewed parallelograms dividing the frame into crisply drawn areas of light, shade, and stone.

While I was there an installation by Antonio Muntadas was on show. The project investigated the period when the pavilion didn't exist, from 1930-86. Along one wall of the space Muntadas had placed three boxes that contained cards, like files, or library cards almost. The cards referenced all the articles written about the place while it wasn't standing, but was resting as stone and marble flats stacked up in rows in a Catalan warehouse.

Tucked away as it is close to the bustling Plaça Espanya, and usually visited by maybe only one or two people at a time, the pavilion itself casts a quiet sense of removal on its visitors. While standing in the place alone and considering the lines of light and stone dividing the room, it feels as if you have stepped into somewhere where regular dimensions have shifted. Near and far become intertwined, and space is flattened by the walls that define it. Here, you can consider that by entering into the pavilion, you have in fact stepped into a place that does not exist.



After Ellsworth Kelly