One of the most striking pieces of street art in Barcelona’s Poblenou neighbourhood was painted by Spanish artist Gonzalo Borondo for the 2015 Open Walls Conference.
The painting’s title, Fer llenya, is a term used by Castellers (the people who build human towers) and refers to the collapse of a tower.
It’s easy to assume that the mural is simply a graphic representation of a large Castell tower captured in the exact moment of its demise.
However, there are a couple of other elements that Borondo incorporated into the design which make me think that there’s more to it than at first meets the eye.
Firstly, there’s the fact that the background of the painting depicts a person’s head being traversed by an arrow.
The Catalan idiom De l’arbre caigut tothom en fa llenya (everyone makes firewood from the fallen tree) basically means that the masses will seize mercilessly on the opportunity to attack the vanquished.
It’s commonly used when referring to the downfall of a someone in the public eye, normally politicians or celebrities. Although I don’t recognize the person portrayed, I suspect that this is what Borondo was refering to.
Then there’s the two triangles, one pointing downwards and the other upwards. I’m not sure what they could mean exactly, but there has to be a message in there somewhere.
Perhaps the entire painting is a reflection on the way that society builds people up before brutally tearing them down again.
Whatever its meaning, Fer Llenya is an impressive piece of artwork and, if you plan to visit the Poblenou neighbourhood, I urge you to check it out.
If you are a fan of street art, you could combine a visit with this itinerary.
About the Artist
Gonzalo Borondo was born in Valladolid (Spain) in 1989. At the age of 14, he moved to Madrid where he attended art school and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. At around this time he began experimenting with graffiti and street art.
In 2010 he was invited to take part his first street art festival in Istanbul. Since then he has created numerous large scale murals and staged exhibitions in cities throughout Europe and the US. Borondo currently lives in London.
Fer Llenya was painted on the rear façade of the building located at Carrer de Lope de Vega No. 109 and can be seen when facing north-east on Carrer de Pallars. (See map below)
How to get there
The mural is located one block from the Poblenou metro station on the L4 (yellow line)
Other attractions nearby
La Rambla del Poblenou
The Can Framis museum