A Barcelona food blog
What do you do when your fridge has given up the ghost and will no longer chill those beers, that wine, those cheeses and salad? Well, probably not what a group of Cuban artists have done to 53 old fridges being displayed over the past weekend in the vestibule at Estació de França.
Before I mention the exhibition I have to comment on the beautiful train station hosting it. I have a real fondness for Estació de França, not only because this is where I first arrived in Barcelona when I moved here, but also because it is a glorious looking building, from the façade which evokes thoughts of Paris
and inside the details, the ironwork and marble hark back to a different era of travel. The station was built in 1929 at the same time lots of other buildings were being constructed in the city for the exhibition of that year, such as what is now the MNAC and the Mies Van de Rohe Pavillion around Plaça d’Espanya. I can picture this place full of people with their coats slung over their arms and carrying their leather suitcases, a much more charming picture than people these days at airports with shoes and belts in plastic trays and being patted down by disgruntled looking security staff.
I adore the ticket desks, a world away from the gaudy and miserable red and grey Virgin trains desks I’m accustomed to back home, and from here you can take a train to France, Switzerland and Northern Italy. I’m such a travel romantic, sigh.
Unlike the other stations in Barcelona there are no underground platforms here so as you approach the station on the train you get to take in the city. The iron roof is stunning although I can imagine this scene was very different when the station was filled with soot and smoke before the trains were electrified.
So, back to the art. The artists, known as ‘Los Frios’ (The Cold Ones) have transformed the fridges into individual pieces for a show which has already been shown in Havana, Milan and Paris. The show was being hosted in Barcelona by Havana 7 Cultura, a interesting venture to promote Cuban culture by Havana Club Rum, which I’m sure won’t do their product sales any harm either.
The exhibition literature claims to be ‘a homage to the refrigerator which is vital in Cuban life’ and that ‘it is more than just a simple electrical item but rather an icon around which all family life revolves, it occupies pride of place in the home and is passed from generation to generation’.
The work is inspired by the Revolución Energética, a programme introduced by Castro’s government in Cuba to replace old, high energy consuming electrical goods, such as these refrigerators.
The ideas were original, amusing, creative and sometimes simple but extremely inventive. Here is a selection of the 53 pieces:
Here is the first of my two favourites, so simple
and finally, the last stop at the end of the line for all of us.