Nosaltres, interpretats per les flors
In this series of exhibitions, flowers are used as metaphors for life and its social, historical, and cultural ramifications. The project revolves around the development of Barcelona from a sociohistorical perspective that links narratives related to the memory of the neighborhood.
The first itinerary is presented at the Casa Elizalde with “Reproduction”, followed by “Transformation” in the Farinera del Clot, and “Break” in the Joan Oliver “Pere Quart” Civic Center. On each itinerary, the exhibition will leave the environs of the civic center to connect with an emblematic business in the neighborhood.
1. “LA REPRODUCCIÓ”
La Casa Elizalde
This exhibition, rooted in the modernist culture of the time, revolves around the Elizalde family and, in particular, the figure of Carme Biada, wife of Arturo Elizalde, mother of their nine children and, after the unexpected and premature death of the latter, president of Elizalde, S.A. for 24 years.
Biada took the reins of the factory, with more than eight hundred employees, and led it from the production of automobile engines to aircraft engines, as well as modernizing the company through research and development. She started the Elizalde Apprentice School and implemented a social project to help workers and their sick relatives, at a time when Social Security did not exist.
“CASI TODO ES AZUL”
In the semi-darkness of the Carme Biada Room, the work of Kati Riquelme seems to stop and give new meaning to time. From the apparent fragility and ethereal lightness of the tea bags emerges a childish universe filtered in raw indigo blue. On the small porous paper, fragments of memories force us to sharpen our senses, peek into the imperceptible and embark on a journey that connects different channels of existence.
The photographs portray people whose identity we do not know, contemporaries of the Elizalde-Biada family and who embody the massive exodus of the rural population to the big cities.
The tea bags that Riquelme works with could also refer to an industrial past and the birth of large-scale commerce. Tea is a stimulant that allows us to be awake to continue producing, but it can also represent, depending on which varieties, the prelude to sleep.
Blueprint technology was invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel as an inexpensive way to reproduce architectural or engineering drawings, diagrams, and plans. This same technology is used to create cyanotype photographic prints in which images are developed through exposure to the sun and time.
“CARME BIADA INTERPRETADA PER LES FLORS”
Shortly after the death of her husband, Arturo Elizalde, “My mother sent for all the employees
in the household, assembled them in the patio and ordered them to pile up all the plans and documentation related to the factory’s automotive industry they could find, and subsequently ordered them to be burned to imbue the staff with aeronautical spirit.”
That bonfire was followed by another, this time an order to scrap all the company’s competition cars.Miguel Elizalde Biada
El Periódico (2017)
Carme prepares the wedding of her seventh son, Pedro. She has been a widow for ten years and, in addition to taking care of her large family, she is also president of Elizalde, S.A.
She is 60 years old and her hair is gray. She sits at her desk and writes letters. The first is addressed to the florist, to order flowers for the wedding. She chooses sunflowers because they are a symbol of unconditional love, happiness, and optimism.
Another letter is addressed to a distant friend. She reflects on Arturo’s death and the sudden change in her life: from simply being a wife and mother of nine children, she finds an unknown strength, becomes the director of a great automobile company and takes responsibility for making her husband’s dream come true.
These letters, presumably written during the preparations for the wedding, are related to a series of everyday, domestic and industrial objects that represent different facets of Biada’s life and link the Casa Elizalde with the Mercat de la Concepció and the historical context of the time.