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On the Beach: A sculptural homage to La Barceloneta (Where Gumbo Was #34)

Barcelona_1.08_159_a-001The Gumbo gang did a number on this one: the answer came in pieces from Still Country Photo who placed it in Barcelona, Jonathan L who suggested Spain or Catalonia, and from PortMoresby who identified it as the sculpture Homentage a la Barceloneta. A rather more dramatic view, above.


But there's an interesting back story to the work, which is by German sculptor Rebecca Horn. It was commissioned for the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona, and its proper title is L'Estel Ferit, which is Catalan for "wounded star." 


La Barceloneta is downtown Barcelona's beach, just past the end of the famous Ramblas. When we visited, the neighborhoods adjacent to the beach felt like a mixture of working-class families, and in the blocks immediately adjacent to the beach, of summer family resort. On the sand, past the boardwalk, are restaurants and cafes teeming with customers.


But before the Olympics, there was less beach, a rail line cut the area off from the rest of the city, and it was thought of as a sketchy and perhaps dangerous neighborhood—but famous for its rickety informal bars. Barcelona's big build-up and clean-up for the Olympics extended the beach, buried the rail line, and put an end to the ramshackle nature of the beach bars. It's widely believed that Horn's sculpture is an ironic memory of them.


By the's not the only unusual sculpture produced for Barcelona's Olympics...the one below, near the former Olympic Village, is by Frank Gehry. 






Images (5)
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  • WITW#34

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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