Miquel Barceló

Gran Elefandret

8001 Zürich
  • © Pierluigi Macor / Stadt Zürich KiöR («Neuer Norden Zürich»)

  • © Pierluigi Macor / Stadt Zürich KiöR («Neuer Norden Zürich»)

Bronze 755 x 370 x 300 cm

Artist Miquel Barceló (b. 1957 in Felanitx, ESP) already began addressing issues involving ecology and sustainability in the early 1980s. In 1977, when conservationists occupied the island Dragonera to protest against touristic development and to save this unique habitat off Mallorca’s west coast, the young Barceló took part. Motifs from nature also play a defining role in his works; animals and landscapes are synthesised to form archaic visual compositions that often include animist references.

Barceló lives in Mallorca and Paris (and once lived in Mali, Africa). Biographical events often shape his visual compositions. Thus, Gran Elefandret, a monumental artwork almost eight metres tall, is also a spectacular autobiographical sculpture. “If a blind giant could feel this sculpture with his colossal hand,” claims the artist, “he would say it is definitely a bronze tree. From a distance, we see a mass, a ball on a pole: a tree. In a landscape or garden, it looks like a tree with white blossoms – the image of the elephant is only made out a few moments later. First a white tree, then suddenly an elephant. At that moment, something extraordinary happens, something that is part of childhood. Preverbal. As quick as a spark. It is evanescent. In particular, the contrast between this sensory perception and the weight of the metallic pachyderm pleases me. Gravity and Grace is the title of an extraordinary book by Simone Weil. Perhaps it is the subtitle of this piece.”

Courtesy of the artist and Tobias Mueller Modern Art, Zurich (in partnership with Bruno Bischofberger)
Supported by: Leonhard Fischer, Thomas Bock