August 2018 Cultural Events Barcelona


A monthly selection of concerts,
performing arts and exhibitions



 01 / 08 / 18 


Palau de la Música - August 6-27

One of the interests of this “poker” of pianists, in the mini-cycle for the key instrument with more incidence in our days, resides in the possibility of listening to Levon Avagyan (August 13), the winner of the 2017 Maria Canals International Prize, which takes place in the Palau de la Música itself. The virtuosity of most of the programmed pieces (works by Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachmaninov, Robert Schumann or Edvard Grieg) will show off the excellent technical training that characterizes this young performer, but also his versatility when it comes to recreating atmospheres and insinuating emotions in very specific experiential contexts. It is the case, for example, of Grieg's work "In Holberg’s Time", or Liszt's "Venezia e Napoli". No less evocative -we must say- will be the program that Noelia Rodiles (August 6) has designed for her recital, the week before.

A series of works that incorporate pieces as inspired and disturbing as the Musica Ricercata by György Ligeti. From this work proceeds that passage -especially famous passage- whose enigmatic hammering Stanley Kubrick employed to torture the psyche of the male protagonist of Eyes Wide Shut, mired in the search for certainties that does not seem to lead to a good end. Rodiles, the Asturian pianist, has already recorded this work, so she knows it in depth. We expect moments of great intensity in his recital, shared with other pieces of great complexity, such as the Chaconne of Partita no. 2 for solo violin by Johan Sebastian Bach, which Ferrucio Busoni transcribed for piano. Alba Ventura (August 20), one of the most international pianists, and that also has some wonderful recordings -we recall, for example, one dedicated to the genre of the Studies- can be heard in the third week, at the head of a demanding and especially suggestive repertoire, focused on the piano compositions of Claude Debussy and Isaac Albéniz. Two strictly contemporary creators, whose discourses can diverge in formal terms, but who are imbued with the same will to communicate musically an inadvertent reality and, above all, alien to the categorization of the intellect. The exquisite touch and spontaneity of Alba Ventura's phrasing make this recital a fantastic opportunity to visit the Palau. Another important name, in this sense, is that of Daniel Ligorio (August 27): devoted pianist, with an interpretive maturity that has accredited in a high number of performances, he will follow the path of Debussy -composer who is especially remembered this year, since he died a century ago- adding to its program such a substantial work as the Pictures at an exhibition, by Modest Mussorgsky, in which the listener is led through the rooms of a museum, being transferred to other realities, which are graphically captured through a colorful music, with a highly semantic power. Rhythmically fervent, full of temporary contrasts and a commendable dose of feeling, the Symphonic Dances of West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein -pedagogue, composer and director of who is also celebrated this year, since he was born a century ago- will allow to relive memorable scenes of the musical.


Teatre Goya, 1-12 August

Latest dates to delve into the staging of the real complexity of human relationships, which shines in a play

-La resposta (Give me your answer, do!) by the Irish playwright Brian Friel- who already had an excellent reception of those previous works, enjoyed in Catalonia. It is the case of Afterplay (seen in 2013), Traslations (2014) and Dancing at Lughnasa (2016). Under the direction of Silvia Munt, La Resposta has a cast of first-rate actors, including David Selvas, Àngels Gonyalons, Àlex Casanovas and Emma Vilarasau, who had a great success, this season, for her performance as Medea, at the Teatre Lliure.


La Villaroel, August 1, 2, 3 & 4

Even if July is the month that brings together the majority of GREC events, the activity does not stop completely in August. The theatrical proposal ¿La vida es sueño? o #gwenismürfila

(“¿Is life a dream?”) is defined as "a work of philosophical-comic creation that speaks of post-truth". To the potential spectators, the organizers suggest to "leave certainties at the door". The company Les Llibertàries -with Gemma Brió i Norbert Martínez at the head of the collective process of creation and realization- enters, with a sense of humor, into the phenomenon of mass communication that has given rise to that notion -"post-truth", which in an article we already defined as “older than the very truth"- and to other no less equivocal and symptomatic of the human need to believe, like the notion of “fake news”. For that reason, it is noticed that this representation may have nothing to do with the work of Calderón de la Barca... or maybe it does. In the wire of that indecision lies the impossible balance, and the call to take responsibility for what each one represents as effectively true. We must remember that Life is a dream is one of the most revisited works, because they are characteristic of the Baroque worldview, but above all because of the possibilities of actualization that offers. Hence its inevitable actuality. Beyond the particularities of the epochal aesthetics, the awareness of crisis still reverberates, as a constitutive breakdown, inherent in some of the most disconcerting features of postmodernity.


CCCB, from August 7 to 23

In the current edition of the film cycle known by the object that enables enjoyment, the much appreciated "Gandules" (the type of summer chair that ensures high comfort, a corporal nonchalance that allows maximum concentration in the projection)

are programmed several movies from August 7th to 23rd under the heading "Illuminated cinema: Magic, lysergy and occultism". Triad of phenomena -or activities- close to the paranormal dimension, which are usually opposed to the light of reason, and that visually enable experiences of high emotional intensity. Most of the films of this cycle have an unmistakable interest, although there are also for some moviegoers, scare-challenged palates and lovers of rarities in general. Without palliative, anyway, we dare to recommend the opening film, on August 7th, which, in addition, will allow the viewer to become familiar with the whole program: it is The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen) by Victor Sjöström, appeared in 1921. Because it is prior to the sound in cinema - undertaken for the first time in the Jazz singer, the film was often accompanied by live music. In this occasion, the performance will be carried out by the group Obsidian Kindgom ("internationally recognized band within the metal scene, the drone, industrial and avantgarde music. Its immersive, experimental and powerful sound blends perfectly with the magical and phantasmagorical spirit of a great classic like The Phantom Carriage"). A "film-concert" session that tells a terrible story -based on a Swedish legend- according to which the last sinner of the year is punished with the task of driving the carriage that collects the deceased during the following year. Unusual plot, cinematographically made in an even more unusual way -for its novelty, at least with that degree of sophistication- as is the technique of double exposure. The juxtaposition generates a translucent effect of the bodies. A technique that generates amazement, as if it was a product of magic, and in allows the dead and living to live together in the reality of fiction.



 01 / 08 / 18

Gala Salvador Dalí. A Room of One’s Own in Púbol

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, until October, 14

The couple formed by Gala and Dalí was the source of an endless number of stories, some particularly odd, due to the eccentric character -premeditatedly eccentric, or not- of the artist. Leaving rumors apart, it has been positively determined the influence that she, Helena Dmitrievna Diakonova -born in Kazan, in the context of an intellectual family- had to exercise over his work. A decisive influence, not a mere inspiration according to the dubiously valued "muse mode". Nor, of course, only as the model that appears in many of his paintings.

In the exhibition of the MNAC, one of the most important of the year, a good sample of the paintings that Gala stars in, well-known paintings -truly iconic, representative of his particular surrealism- like the Dream caused by the flight of a bee around of a grenade a second before waking up (1944), converted in a print of powerful significance, that emphasizes the inscrutable fantasy of the psyche. Other paintings show winks -somewhat irreverent- to the classic tradition, like that one titled La Madona de Portlligat. Gala is the woman, the companion who, far from any passive disposition, participates actively in the work of the painter. She, who had been the girlfriend of surrealist poet Paul Éluard, and had met artists as decisive for the history of contemporary art as Max Ernst, became in some way a co-star -or at least necessary accomplice- in Dali’s suggestive ravings, which gave the painter the degree of artistic immortality. The exhibition provides documentation to contextualize the role of Gala among some of the leading intellectuals of the time, placing herself in a position comparable to that of Lou-Andréas Salomé or Alma Mahler.

Shomei Tomatsu

Sala Fundació MAPFRE Casa Garriga Nogués, until September 16

Privileged testimony of the evolution of Japan Since the Second World War, the photographer Shomei Tomatsu (1930-2012) addresses social issues with a frankness that does not leave the viewer indifferent,

even if -on the other hand- his work cannot be fully considered photojournalism. The spontaneity of Tomatsu's look, creative and incisive, challenges the genres and is especially original in terms of composition. The protagonists appear suddenly, but at the same time it seems that they have always been there, to reveal an uncomfortable or timeless truth, deeply rooted in the essence of the human being. It is not, therefore, a mere chronicler of his time. The organizers of the event explain: "The aesthetics of Tomatsu stand out for its uniqueness. His avant-garde and personal look often introduces an unexpected, visually stunning perspective. This aesthetic dimension is accentuated by the daring angles it uses to capture images or by its bold frames”. The exhibition, curated by Juan Vicente Aliaga, has more than 150 photos and can be enjoyed at Mapfre Foundation in Barcelona (Casa Garriga Nogués) until September 16.

The Black Kight. Secret traditions in art since the fifties

CCCB, until October, 21

An exhibition at the CCCB -The Black Kight. Secret traditions in art since the fifties- shouñld be recalled within the framework of the activity organized in August, as is the viewing of a series of films focusing on paranormal subjects, the main theme of the present edition of outdoor cinema, or “Gandules”

(for the hammocks that are provided for sitting and watching, so that the enjoyment is even greater). The oxymoron of the inevitably powerful title -“Black Light”- seeks precisely to refer to a way of understanding via art which avoids the usual clarity and stays away from the predominance of a gaze that identifies what it sees in order to recreate it only in a recognizable way. The exhibition, held at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona until the 21st of October, speculates on the possibility of another perspective, as indicated by its subtitle. Some of the artists brought together are incontestably prominent – such as Antoni Tàpies, Barnett Newman and Joseph Beuys – but along with them visitors can also discover creations that seek to arouse a symptomatic perplexity. Curated by Enrique Juncosa, the show is defined as “an approach without prejudice to art and esoteric traditions”, both of which are present – and collected – in the majority of archaic civilizations, originally for religious purposes, to control the forces of nature.


CaixaForum, until September, 2

A photo exhibition that reflects the personality of some of the winners of the Literature Nobel Prize, seen through the lens of photographer Kim Manresa, who together with Xavi Ayén -literary journalist of consolidated trajectory

manages to capture the subtle nuances of the portrayed. Gabriel García Márquez, Gao Xingjian or Naguib Mafuz are in the exhibition, authors who have become part of the collective memory, and whose referential character is illustrated in the compiled snapshots. The organizers of the event recognize the value of this partnership between camera and pen: "photographer and journalist have made up, together, a unique and unrepeatable work, recognized by the Swedish academy itself, which has incorporated it into the Nobel Museum in Stockholm".

FUSUM 16+6

Centre d’Arts Santa Mónica, until September, 2

The promotional image of the exhibition FUSUM 16 + 6 is striking, and it works as a perfect example to understand the new uses of a form of creativity -working with metals such as iron,

previously melted- which, certainly, was more popular in the past. The technique required for the creation of those works is extremely laborious, as it is also shown in a series of audiovisuals. Together with them -which reveals the work of those who reproduce in metal artistic works, a millenary trade- the field of experimentation is open wide. The Center d'Arts Santa Mónica illustrates how past and future have been linked through a manipulation of matter that requires technique, but that transcends craftsmanship. What is offered is here is the possibility of aesthetic experiences, through works that challenge the viewer and make him discover -in the words of Montse Pena Modia and Enric Teixidó Simó, responsible for the texts and curator of the exhibition- "a surprising world that, for the uninitiated, is impregnated with a magical reality".

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