Barcelona beach sculpture

Visitors to Sant Sebastià, La Barceloneta and Nova Icària beaches and their surrounding areas can enjoy sculptures such as Rebecca Horn’s “The Wounded Star” and Frank Gehry’s “The Fish”

Barcelona beaches such as Sant Sebastià, La Barceloneta and Nova Icària, and their surrounding areas, are dotted with sculptures from a variety of contemporary artistic tendencies and movements. The Plaça del Mar, in front of the Sant Sebastià beach, for example, boasts two: Homenatge a la natació (Homage to swimming), by Alfredo Lanz, and Una habitació on sempre plou (A room where it always rains), by Joan Muñoz. The first of these is located close to the Atlètic-Barceloneta swimming club and was installed in 2004. The steel sculpture uses silhouettes and abstract forms to symbolise swimming in a number of modalities including water polo, races, synchronised swimming and diving. A room where it always rains, on the other hand, was installed for the 1992 Olympic Games and is one of the sculptor’s most enigmatic works, consisting of a cage containing five bronze figures who appear not to see each other. The piece is offered shade by surrounding trees.

Barceloneta beach hosts one of the city’s most iconographic and the district’s most symbolic monuments, The wounded star (L’Estel Ferit), by German sculptor Rebecca Horn. Also known locally as, The Cubes (Els Cubs), the piece pays tribute to Barceloneta’s past and its inhabitants. It was also installed for the 1992 Olympic Games as another element linking the city with the sea.

The Passeig de Joan de Borbó hides another somewhat eccentric sculpture, the Evocació Marinera (Evocation of the Sea), by the recently deceased Josep Maria Subirachs. Made of bronze and symbolising the inspiration provided by the sea to the author, it was installed in 1960 and was one of the first abstract sculptures to be displayed in a public space in the city. A little further along, in the Port Olímpic, visitors will come across The Fish, by renowned architect, Frank Gehry, one of the most potent symbols of post-Olympic Barcelona. At 56 metres long and 35 metres high, the piece is formed of fine stainless-steel lines supported by an extended metallic structure and is notable not just for its size, but also for its golden colour and the way it affects the light that plays on the area immediately surrounding the sculpture.

Still further along, close to the Nova Icària beach, visitors will come across three more notable sculptures. Marc, by Robert Llimós, located in the Plaça dels Voluntaris, in the former Olympic Village, is an emotive and colourful figure which the artist made in 1997 as a tribute to his son, who had died the previous year. Beside this, in the Parc de les Cascades, is the piece entitled The Power of the Word (El poder de la paraula), by Auke de Vries. This large, abstract piece appears to reach for the sky and was a gift from Holland to the city in celebration of the Olympic Games. The same park hosts another avant-garde piece, David and Goliath, by Antoni Llena, a steel figure with a giant head supported by three legs, symbolising the renaissance of the district during the period leading up to 1992.

Publication date: Tuesday, 05 August 2014
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