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Exposicions

Exhibitions

Fantastical beasts!

Fantàstics!

Exhibition of fantastical festive beasts
Palau de la Virreina (la Rambla, 99)
From 1 to 8 February, 10 am to 8 pm; 9 February, from 10 am to 3 pm

Festive, popular beasts

Festive, popular beasts are one of the most recent additions to traditional culture. In recent years, the creativity and imagination put into constructing fire beasts has entirely outdone the many existing expressions of the most classic of monsters: the dragon.

This exhibition offers a whole series of fabulous beasts from Barcelona and all over the country, expressions of contemporary imaginative interpretations of legends and myths, and even of the inspired creations in comics, literature and cinema from the genres of fantasy and horror.

Walk around and admire a selection of the most irreverent and dangerous festival beasts that have challenged the classical models of our festivals and enriched them since the 1990s.

Festival beasts are a set of procession or entertainment figures in the form of a more or less fantastic animal, each with their own symbolic meaning and a well-defined festival role.

Throughout our history, real or imaginary animals have been presented in diverse and stereotypical ways as symbols of our beliefs and feelings.

The diverse cultural influences that are the basis of our tradition endow animals with a personality and symbolism, creating beasts and making them the object of myths, legends and supernatural meanings.

These symbolic traditions were reinterpreted by the Church which, from the 14th century, when it created the Corpus Christi procession with entremeses based on biblical episodes and the lives of saints, found it difficult to do with live animals and to reproduce mythological ones.

Consequently, the entremeses and procession performances introduced simple pieces of scenery in the shape of beasts built with wooden frames covered with cloth or hide.

Over the years, these figures, much more carefully designed and with their own particular protocol, became one of the social hallmarks of the ostentation in religious celebrations and solemn civic occasions.

The lleó (lion), mulassa (female mule), bou (bull), víbria (she-dragon), drac (dragon), cavallets (hobby horses) and, above all, the àgila (eagle) all intervene in the entremeses as characters that gradually take on a personality of their own and are incorporated into the Catalan festival panorama with a specific and very well-defined festival role.

Participants include Atzeries from Gràcia, Bretolàs from Sant Andreu del Palomar, Nèbula and Hydros from Trinitat Vella, Tolc from Clot, Bèstia from Parets del Vallès, Magnafoc from Vilobí del Penedès, Nyctalos from Albinyana, Grafus from Tortosa and Maxtord from Tordera.

 

The Fantastic Beasts

In the last quarter of the 20th century, following the restoration of democracy, the streets became the ideal space for popular festivals and for people to interact socially and culturally.

It was a time when people turned to their traditional and cultural roots and festival models were “reinvented” using classical criteria and figures such as the beasts but giving them a new role in celebrations and festivals.

During the first years of this new period, the construction of festival beasts was practically limited to making dragons, with various interpretations of that figure, and recreating historical beasts for formal occasions.

But, beginning in the 1990s, some people applied their imagination to designing and building festival beasts with the idea of linking these new figures to local features, giving rise to all kinds of new and fantastic beasts that enriched the festival landscape.

Innovation in creating new figures is the source of inspiration for the young constructors and groups that carry the beasts who, with a predetermined idea of the festival role of their new figure, shun the classical models and stereotypes.

These days, popular festival beasts represent one of the most up-and-coming areas of traditional folk culture with the result that, in the last 20 years, the creativity and imagination that has gone into making new fire beasts has exceeded the many existing expressions of the most classical monster of all: the dragon.

This exhibition offers you a number of fabulous beasts from Barcelona as well as other towns and cities round the country. They are expressions of contemporary imaginative interpretations of legends and myths, and even creativity inspired by the comics, literature and films of the fantasy and horror genres.

Participants include Atzeries from Gràcia, Bretolàs from Sant Andreu del Palomar, Nèbula and Hydros from Trinitat Vella, Tolc from Clot, Bèstia from Parets del Vallès, Magnafoc from Vilobí del Penedès, Nyctalos from Albinyana, Grafus from Tortosa and Maxtord from Tordera.

© Xavier Cordomí

 

Laies, the giantesses

Laies les gegantes

From 10 to 11 February, 10 am to 8 pm; 12 February, from 10 am to 6 pm

The little giant Laia, plus Laia and Laieta from Plaça Nova, Laia from the Gegants de Pi, Lola from Raval and Barceloneta’s Maria la Neta will be among the all-female gathering of giants from Ciutat Vella who will be meeting at Palau de la Virreina to proclaim Santa Eulàlia as Barcelona's patron saint and pay homage to all of Barcelona’s women citizens. They will be parading together in the Les Laies procession and dance on Wednesday 12, St Eulalia’s Day.

 

18th Exhibition of Small Giants of the Coordinadora Festival Groups and 16th Exhibition of Small Giants and other school items

Pati Manning - CERC (Carrer de Montalegre, 7)
Inauguration, Saturday 1 February, 5.30 pm
From 2 to 7 February, 10 am to 7 pm

The traditional exhibition presents the children's figures created over the years by the giant carrier groups, the schools of Barcelona and other towns and villages that participate in this initiative of the Barcelona Giants Coordinating Committee, in order to encourage the participation of children in the world of giants. On Saturday 8 February, at 11 am, they will walk in the street parade through the city’s streets.