BASE ELEMENTS GALLERY

As far as any cultural centre goes, the ones richest in history are the most engaging. Rome’s Renaissance Palazzo Altemps; London’s Tate Britain; the Parisian Louvre; and even Berlin’s very own Sammlung Boros, which in its time has been a World War II bunker, a banana storage facility and even a techno fetish club.

Although Barcelona’s Base Elements art gallery is just eleven years old, Californian native, co-founder, Robert Burt has led a life that’s rich enough to provide that history, as it shows throughout the gallery. Robert persuaded his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Monica Riu to move back to her hometown of Barcelona. Driven by a love of Barcelona’s artistic heritage, they made plans to set up a studio to enable Robert to dedicate his time to ceramics, of which he is classically trained in. Although plans eventually fell through, Robert’s connections from the art shows and events he threw back in the states gave him the means to represent artists in Barcelona, which quickly snowballed into a full-blown artist’s gallery.

Although Barcelona’s Base Elements art gallery is just eleven years old, Californian native, co-founder, Robert Burt has led a life that’s rich enough to provide that history, as it shows throughout the gallery. Robert persuaded his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Monica Riu to move back to her hometown of Barcelona. Driven by a love of Barcelona’s artistic heritage, they made plans to set up a studio to enable Robert to dedicate his time to ceramics, of which he is classically trained in. Although plans eventually fell through, Robert’s connections from the art shows and events he threw back in the states gave him the means to represent artists in Barcelona, which quickly snowballed into a full-blown artist’s gallery.

The increasing popularity of urban graffiti and street art is recognisable not only throughout city streets, where pieces adorn and decorate public spaces, but now within the actual art market itself. Barcelona is a city that’s heaving with these kind of works, from unattributed graffiti tagging to elaborate wall murals. And now these artists have a gallery that they can call home. A place where their work is given a literal and figurative canvas.

Base Elements is not just a gallery, but a creative hub. The space is jam-packed with frames, posters, canvases and works of art. If you’re already familiar with Barcelona’s street artists, you may recognise works from painters such as Pez, Zosen, Uriginal and Btoy. If not, all the more reason to venture here yourself in order to find out.

The gallery functions as a studio as well as a workshop, encouraging and generating an individualistic and rebellious atmosphere. Not only are artists allowed to work here, but in Peruvian artist Pezkhamino’s case, he was even permitted to live in the workshop itself, all as part of an ongoing performance piece which allowed the public to watch him as he spent his time at Base Elements creating his own original works.

Robert sees the Base Elements as a twenty eight-year-old project, in which all of the creative ventures he has embarked upon since his early twenties have all in some way, shape or form inevitably lead up to this point. And those artistic projects of his vary incredibly. From throwing underground raves, to hosting performance art happenings, the thread that weaves throughout each and every one of them is an innate sense of ingenuity and an authentic desire to provide and create. Both values of which are intrinsic to Base Elements gallery, and keep it what it is today.

The difference between the grand, state-financed cultural centres and the independent ones is the voice of who they represent. While discovering the traditional heritage of Barcelona, or any city, is still an impressive piece of the tourist jigsaw, they can’t begin to compete with the excitement that comes from representing the ever-changing artists of now. Robert Burt and his gallery appreciate and understand the artists, providing them with the space they need in order to flourish, and giving us lucky lot the chance to discover them in the process.

Base Elements gallery

C/ del Palau 6 (Barrio Gótico)

08002 Barcelona

Spain