Before entering the Casals Forum, visitors are greeted by two sculptures by British sculptor Anthony Cragg (*1949), which were designed especially for the Casals Forum: the large bronze C major is located on Beethoven Platz and Timbre sits beside the crossing to Victoria Park (2022). These abstract sculptures embody the concept of a vibrating string and thus establish a connection between visual art and music.
Art in the Casals Forum
Sculptures C major and Timbre (Anthony Cragg)
Bust of Pablo Casals (Robert Berks)
The bronze bust standing towards the rear of the entrance foyer was created in honour of the Catalan cellist, composer, conductor and advocate for peace, Pablo Casals. It was modelled in 1977 by American sculptor Robert Berks (1922-2011) for the General Assembly building of the United Nations in New York, where the first cast can still be seen today. Music was never an end in itself for the cello virtuoso Casals, but rather an incentive that could be placed in the service of his fellow man. The bust is on loan from the Pau Casals Museum in El Vendrell, Spain.
Woodcut from Suite Erker (Antoni Tàpies)
Humanitarian responsibility, existential questions and a love of classical music all play a major role in the artistic works of Casals’ countryman Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012). His woodcut from Suite Erker (1992) stands opposite the bronze bust of the cellist. It depicts an open black book filled only with the meagre numerical sequence 123 – a metaphor for the book of life, perhaps?
Wall Piece (Karin Sander)
In Wall Piece (2022), renowned conceptual artist Karin Sander (*1957) has recreated one of her most famous works and has chosen one of the most frequented places in the foyer, opposite the cloakroom and next to the main staircase, to execute it. Sander worked intensively on the wall until a polished square, a smooth and reflective “picture” on the wall, was produced. “Know Yourself” holds fascinating promise, placed as it is in front of the cloakroom: like in a sort of interworld, visitors can see themselves but without a mirror image.
Flylight (Studio Drift)
Above the steps up to the Crespo Foyer, visitors can experience Flylight (2020), a light installation inspired by flocks of starlings, created by the Dutch collective Studio Drift (founded by Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn in 2007). Innumerable blown glass tubes fitted with lights lead the way over visitors’ heads up to the glazed Crespo Foyer. And there is a pleasing connection between the stylised flock and the Catalan folk song that Pablo Casals made his Hymn for Peace – “El Cant dels Ocells”, or “The Song of the Birds”