Monday, November 24, 2008


Geneva - A new ceiling artwork that was meant to inspire dialogue, human rights and global solidarity was unveiled Tuesday at the United Nation's Geneva offices.

Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo unveiled his lavish, $23 million ceiling painting at the
United Nation's Geneva offices on Tuesday– a project that has evoked controversy over its hefty price tag. In a ceremony with Spain's King Juan Carlos and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Barcelo gave the world its first glimpse of the 16,000-square-foot (1,500-square-meter) elliptical dome full of bright colors and torn aluminum. The most striking element may be the hundreds of small icicle-shaped pieces that dangle down from the ceiling.

The 50-year-old abstract artist used more than 100 tons of paint with pigments from all over the world. The ceiling took over a year to produce, and Barcelo worked with architects, engineers and even particle physics laboratories to develop the extra-strength aluminum for the dome.

Miguel Zugaza, the director of the Museo del Prado, defined the artwork as "Barcelo’s most important and the best public art project made by Spain in several decades.”
The artwork drips off the ceiling like stalactites in a cave and is surrounded by patterns meant to symbolize the sea. The multicoloured work, with strong green-blue tones and bright splashes of red and orange, tries to promote human rights, cooperation and dialogue, Barcelo said.

Barcelo was praised for using innovative techniques and original mixes of materials to create the cave and sea-like feel of the new ceiling. However, some critics questioned the high cost of the project.

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