Montjuic and the Fundacion Joan Miro
We walk up the hill from the Port side of the city on a beautiful sunny morning. The land is a bit unkempt here and there are signs of people sleeping rough. In fact I almost fall over somebody. We have come up this side in order to walk through the Jardens de Mossen Costa I Llobera to look at a collection of cacti growing there. Unfortunately when we finally locate them they are closed, for no apparent reason, so we carry on up the hill to the Castell. This contains a military museum which we do not bother with, instead walking round the outside, where there is a collection of large guns and some great views of the port and the city.
We picnic in a shady spot, then walk down the other side of the hill in search of the Jardins de Mossen Jacint Verdaguer (another catchy name) and its collection of water plants. After some floundering around, (the amusement park, a major feature in our guide book, no longer exists) we find the entrance and the collection of water plants in a pattern of rectangular ponds cascading gently down the hillside. For some reason none of the lilies are in flower, nevertheless it’s a pleasant enough place to sit and relax for a while, soaking up the suns rays.
Leaving the garden we walk a short distance down the road to the Fundacion Joan Miro. We have visited before but are both Miro fans so it’s good to go again. This time Alexander Calder’s Mercury fountain is working. It is contained in a glass room, the rear wall of which is open to the gardens, so light floods in. The mercury is amazingly liquid, spurting up to hit a black metal paddle on the bottom end of a mobile.
Onwards and inwards to Miro’s work where a huge and vibrant tapestry, one of his later works confronts us. Then a roomful of his sculptures, the originals made from assembled found objects, which are then cast. This is a technique that his fellow artist Picasso also used with great delight.
So to his paintings, together with his collection of work by other artists. I stand and blow at an enormous Calder mobile but only succeed with a flutter of movement and a dizzy spell. The Miro paintings become progressively more abstract as his style evolves, though there are certain things that become standard symbols in his work. A curved banana shape with pointy ends is a bird for example. ‘J’ and I play a title guessing game with mixed results.
The photographs of Miro show a slightly pixie like face, I think, but he is always so conservatively dressed. I describe my feelings about his art to ‘J’ as whimsical. She thinks this word too lightweight but I am happy enough with it.
Out on the roof terrace is more, brightly coloured, cast sculpture. I take pics and we bask in the sunlight for a while before descending to the courtyard below for coffee and beer. Across from us is an aged and obese American woman with a very loud voice telling her friend her life story. We hear that Rudy, her husband left the world in the nineteen eighties. I suppress the thought that he might have been glad to go. An Englishwoman sitting at the table behind her lights a fag and suddenly all hell breaks loose.
“Oh no Ladies, I’m sorry Ladies, that’s smoke, I can’t take that, I’m sorry Ladies, I’ve gotta go.” And on and on she bellows in this vein. Unfortunately for us all she is so fat she is stuck in the chair and it is some time before she can extricate herself with the help of her long suffering friend, who is forced to abandon her coffee, as the affronted US citizen waddles off in a huff. Some national stereotypes just shouldn’t travel I muse as silence descends and I turn my gaze to a ‘well fit’ Japanese girl. Ah youth and beauty, sadly both well beyond me now. Still and all I’m a happily married man.We take our leave through a small outdoor sculpture park, down steep steps and into a Moorish garden, and so back to the city.