Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau (Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul) is a stunning Art Nouveau World Heritage site in Barcelona. Previously used as a working hospital, it is set to open its doors to the public as a cultural attraction on 24th April 2010, with an exhibition of photographs of Barcelona by Michael Thomas Jones, entitled ‘Modernista: Gaudi and his Contemporaries in Modern Day Barcelona’. The exhibition was commissioned by the Scottish Government’s Access to Architecture team, in partnership with the Glasgow School of Art, of which Jones is a graduate. The original architecture of Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau was designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner and has recently been restored for public use.
The Mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, is set to open the inaugural exhibition in April. Such is the excitement and expectation surrounding this beautiful Art Nouveau complex, 30,000 people are expected to visit during the exhibition’s opening days. The photographs in Jones’ ‘Modernista’ collection are an example of his personal response to Spanish Art Nouveau and how this architecture sits within 21st century Barcelona. He has captured the way in which many of these exquisite buildings sit alongside seemingly incongruous structures, as the city has changed and developed, and has engaged some of the unsung individuals who work or live within Barcelona’s architectural landmarks.
The exhibition was premiered in Glasgow last autumn to mark the centenary of Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art building and an associated book was published in December 2009. In the introduction to the publication, Jordi Hereu writes: “Even Barcelonans can be surprised by Michael Thomas Jones’ photographs. His images show the reality of our heritage and can help us reflect on what needs to be done to return the necessary dignity to our heritage.”