Miquel Barceló, one of the world’s most highly paid abstract artists, was commissioned by Spain to redecorate “Room XX” and its ellipsoidal dome at the Palais des Nations. He used more than 100 tons of paint to turn the negotiating room into a cave dripping with thousands of 50-kilo multicolored artificial stalactites.
“The cave is a metaphor for the Agora, the first meeting place of humans, the big African tree under which to sit to talk, and the only possible future: dialogue, human rights,” says Barceló. Using postmodern rhetoric which closely mimics that employed by Zapatero, Barceló describes his new work as “reaching towards the infinite, bringing a multiplicity of points of view.”
The 1.500m2 (15.000ft2) ceiling,
which was co-unveiled on November 18 by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain
in the presence of UN Secretary General Ki-moon, is being hailed by the Spanish
government as one of the UN’s most important works of art. Some are even comparing
Barceló’s new “symbol of multilateralism” with Michelangelo’s work at the Sistine
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group