In 2013 the Museu Picasso celebrated its 50th anniversary. To commemorate this anniversary, a documentary exhibition was presented, explaining the genesis of the museum. As a result of the research carried out on the occasion of this exhibition, and with the idea of sharing the trajectory of the museum with the citizens and keeping the artist’s legacy alive, we present an interface that narrates the origins of the museum with a rich combination of texts and documents.
Col·locació de la placa del Museu Picasso de Barcelona. c. 1966. Fons documental del Museu Picasso de Barcelona. Foto: Hernández
Once again, the museum would like to highlight the relevance of the role of documents in the artistic and historical processes, not only as testimonies but also as generators of knowledge. The records are therefore the traces of facts that now allow us to do a storytelling.
The online publication “The Picasso Museum, 50 years in Barcelona. The origins“, developed as a result of the collaboration and dialogue between the Museum’s team and the team of designers and computer technicians, is proposed as a timeline when the events that determine the trajectory of the Museum are linked together. In building this itinerary, the archive documents, understood as testimonies of the activities and relationships that led to the creation of the Museum, become essential and end up being the cornerstones of the interface.
Acord del ple municipal per a la creació del Museu Picasso 5 d’agost de 1960. Museu Picasso, Barcelona
Based on the key notion of a chronological journey rooted in the documentary records that are preserved and which show the process of creation of the Museum, the story of the genesis is developed giving the user the option to establish different levels of depth in the interpretation. The first level of access that allows for quicker, but less detailed interpretation, is structured in four chronologically arranged conceptual blocks that correspond to the major moments that sum up the Museum’s formation. Each chapter, identified with a title, is accompanied by a small explanatory text that gives the reader the option to enter into the story, which will then be narrated by the documents themselves, and illustrated by one or several photographs. These blocks are:
- The ties of Picasso with Barcelona
- The relation of Picasso with Sabartés
- The gestation of the Museum
- The constitution of the Museum
Based on these four conceptual blocks, but arranged chronologically, the rest of the information levels are broken down. Each step or level of interpretation is easily recognized by means of design elements such as colour or the type of font, for example the second level is headed by a blue letter. That way, the users can quickly locate themselves and know which step they are on. As in the first level of information, the rest are also determined by a title followed by a small explanatory text and one or more photographs.
However, the image gallery is the essential element that shapes the interface and becomes its common thread. Image galleries – there are many – contain the documentary records that tell the story. These documents are arranged in the same order in which they were produced, so that the reader can access the original source in the natural way in which it originated, in such a way that they can create their own storytelling. All the images that form part of the different galleries are accompanied by the reference information that identifies and credits them. It is worth highlighting the fact that these “documents” which explain the facts are often textual, but on other occasions they are plastic (posters, photographs, reproduction of artworks, etc.) which favour the variety of interpretations and shows the wealth of the documentary collections.
Un dels documents que narra la història del Museu. Pablo Picasso amb el notari Raimon Noguera i el regidor Josep Blanjot a la residència de Picasso Mougins, 1969. Fotografia, autoria desconeguda. Museu Picasso, Barcelona
Un dels documents que narra la història del Museu. Palau Berenguer d’Aguilar. Barcelona, 22 de maig del 1954. Fotografia Francesc Ribera. Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona
To facilitate navigation for those who do not want to do a continual interpretation, the interface has a menu, which can be accessed on the right side of the screen, and which allows you to go directly to one of the four conceptual blocks without having to go all the way through the storytelling.
For the Museu Picasso of Barcelona it is very exciting and a satisfaction to make available to the community a tool that narrates in a summarised way and with hundreds of documents the genesis of the Museum. This is a work which is the result of research and one which was created with the idea of finding new ways of arranging documentation, but it is not a closed instrument; instead, we want it to be a foundation that, as the research progresses, grows and becomes richer.
Head of the Research Centre