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This visual poem by Joan Brossa stands just in front of Barcelona’s Roman wall, where the aqueduct once entered the city. This curious sculpture, which blends in perfectly with the city’s most ancient stones, spells out the word Barcino, the Roman name of Barcelona, and is the artist’s tribute to the ancient colony.
In the Plaça Nova, in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, almost touching the wall of the former Roman city, seven giant letters contrast with their historic backdrop. They are part of the alphabet created by Joan Brossa to spell out the word Barcino, the principal name of the Colonia Iulia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino, which was the origin of present-day Barcelona. The letters, six of them made of bronze and one of aluminium, are bolted to the ground and make up a fun and original display, very much in keeping with this Barcelona-born artist’s visual poems. Although the letters spell out a single word, each one is a work of art in its own right, and as a whole they create an interplay with the perspective and their surroundings. Surroundings which are defined by the cathedral, the wall, and the reproduction of an archway from the Roman aqueduct, which begins to emerge next to the sculpture.
The ideogram was created by Joan Brossa in 1992 and put in place in 1994, a few years before his death. Brossa, a poet and fine artist, was bold enough to make his art public by bringing it into the street, thus enabling him to pay his own particular homage to the origins of Barcelona.