Tribute to a style, an atmosphere and an era
La Ricarda is a mansion in the Prat de Llobregat, near Barcelona. There, among pine groves, not far from the sea, the architect Antonio Bonet Castellana designed a family residence that has remained as a landmark of Spanish rationalist architecture. Inaugurated in 1963, La Ricarda was an example of her era: it represented a moment of economic splendor and the will to enjoy this splendor with the austere forms of the modern movement. The house was designed with smooth transitions between internal and external spaces, so that the domestic sphere flowed easily into the natural one. It had transparent glass interiors and refined and simple furniture: stylized fireplaces, clean shelves, low glass tables … A beautiful and relaxed world devoted to the enjoyment of life. La Ricarda has been one of the recent sources of inspiration for Bea Sarries, who has been dedicated for several years to painting architecture. She consolidated this line of work with an extensive series of paintings dedicated to the interior of a house in the Ensanche (Rambla Cataluña, 61). She painted the house at the time that the family, that had lived there for a century, was dismantling it. The books, spread by all the rooms, acquired an unusual role. From this experience of interiors full of emotions and history and with a very restricted range of dark colors, the painter seems to have come out searching for the light, austerity and soft chromatisms that she shows now. In this exhibition the artist recreates in her own way, along with those of Bonet Castellana, spaces created by other architects such as Coderch, Sáenz de Oiza, Fisac or Richard Neutra. She does not always faithfully reproduce them, but instead interprets some details to give strength to her compositions. Although the architecture and interiors she portrays have sometimes been accused of coldness, Bea Sarries paintings are warm and emphasize the human imprint through the use of color and the loose and visible brushstroke.
In 2000, in his book “Modernism rediscovered”, Julius Shulman published his fabulous photographic archive of Californian architecture, which was influenced, as La Ricarda of Bonet Castilian, by an spirit of prosperity and the search for a relaxed, functional beauty closed to nature. It was “the other side of modernism,” according to Shulman himself. The pictures of Bea Sarries also pay tribute to that happy spirit and that suggestive era, and she accomplishes this tribute in an original way.
Text by Sergio Vila-Sanjuán