Eccentric public art displays in Barcelona

08 March 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to travel.


Barcelona is everything you can get from one of the most vibrant, fun, energetic cities in the world!  There’s the sea and the sun, sangria and gin, history and culture, art and architecture, food and fabulous sights to keep you agog with anticipation.  For starters, let’s explore Barcelona’s quirky side to get you chuckling and inspired to discover more.

Man, woman or bird…take a guess!

It’s a bird…it’s a woman…it’s a…phallus? Or vagina? This super eccentric piece of art by Joan Miró is officially called The Woman and the BirdHe often used the female form and birds, to represent the universe and the bond with earth. Miro created this oddly alluring piece in 1983, a few months before the artist died.  Look for it in the Joan Miro park, located in Carrer de Tarragona, Barcelona.



Comic art near Ramblas

You can’t help but be riveted by Roy Lichtenstein’sEl Cap de Barcelona Face of Barcelona) – a huge comic-book styled pop art sculpture, featuring an odd grimace on the face of a woman.  He created this 15 metre tall work of art as a tribute to Barcelona, the city that hosted the 1992 Olympic Games, and to honor the city’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. The sculpture covered in mosaic, is an obvious tribute to Gaudi’s aesthetic. Silhouetted against Barcelona’s blue skies, this surreal sculpture close to Ramblas, is unmissable. View it from different angles, to spot a second head, poking out from a background of red dots in relief, with yellow eyes, a body and arms! 


Source : BOMBMAN/ Flickr

A striking matchbox sculpture at the Val d’Hebron

For the Barcelona Olympics, Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg was commissioned to ignite our imagination with this quirky everyday object – red and yellow matches created from multi-coloured metal and cement that strike a compelling disarrayed silhouette, 22 metres high. Simply called The Matchbox, the pop artist chose this odd object to elevate to an art form in 1992.   Strewn on the ground and distorted out of its matchbook cover, some bent matches protrude outwards, to add to the fun of this giant art.  Look for the match with a bluish flame.



The fat cat of Gato Gordo

This beloved neighbourhood cat El Gato de Raval or El Gato de Botero, stands chuffed in satisfaction – as it gets adoring attention from people who gather at this meeting point. This late1980s piece of pubic art, a bronze sculpture rising 7 metres on the Raval, is the work of the Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero,.  It has been the soul of Gato Gordo, and a host to several events and protests too, including a recent Covid stay-at-home campaign. Go, give him a hug!

Unravelog tip: There’s also The Fat Horse located in the arrivals terminal of El Prat Terminal 2B to look out for, if passing through.



Monument to the ass at Sant Martí

A pair of buttocks, simply titled The Ass, rising 6.5 m high on top of long legs, is a creation of Eduardo Úrculo who dedicated this oddly mesmerising masterpiece, to Santiago Roldán, erstwhile president of the Olympic Holding.  It was created in 1992 during the Olympics, and stands in Carlos I park, the location of the Olympic Village.  Why buttocks? Well, word has it that it is a tribute to the Mediterranean and its hedonistic culture. Whatever it meant to convey, at least the locals accept this with aplomb, and tourists, with a curious, humorous gaze.



Cube tribute to Picasso

Antoni Tàpies celebrates the birth century of the legendary Pablo Picasso (1981) with this glass sculture, that alludes to the artist’s ironic metaphors. The Homenatge a Picasso sits in the middle of a pond water at Paseo Picasso. Look at this monument with more attention and critical analysis, as you read some brilliant quotations.  One reads: “the paintings are not created to decorate someone’s house, but to be a weapon in the attack against the enemy.”  The cube has art deco furniture (typical of Tapies work), commemorating the times when Picasso lived.  Viva Picasso!



There is no dearth of art in Barcelona, and there’s more to explore in this very imaginative city. Check out the itinerary to unravel Barcelona in 4 days to truly devour its magic!

Unravelled by: ShuPri

Writer-poet-explorer, lover of quirk, design, doodles, fonts, animation, jazz, travel, yoga. Her book ‘Whimsical Brew’ is a concoction of humorous, illustrated verses from a process involving quirks of design and serendipitous mistakes.

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