Cultura

From the Volunteers´ Footbridge to Almozara Bridge

The footbridge planned by the engineer Javier Manterola - Volunteers´ Footbridge and popularly named "The Thorn"- was one of the most outstanding infrastructures of the city in 2008. A beautiful view of the Pilar Basilica can be seen from it, but also of the left bank of the Ebro -where we can gaze at the work of the sculptor Miguel Ángel Arrudi and the architect Bayo named Ranillas.

The ten huge sculptures than can be seen on the wall were added at the last moment, since that empty surface was an irresistible temptation for graffiti makers. The wall was filled with silhouettes and climbing plants, but, walking by Ranillas Avenue, we will discover that there are more than 600 small bronze frogs over rocks, in the parapet, hidden under the benches and fountains, and even in the cube made in concrete placed as part of this work of art at the entrance of the park where Arrudi and Bayo put their signatures. Depending on the season, some of them will be half-covered by plants, a fact that was taken into account by both Aragonese public artists when they started to think about the development of the old Ranillas Route, with geometrical pergolas covered by climbing plants. But the name Ranillas also inspired a sculptorical hommage to these batrachians that lived here before. Therefore, they presented their project in 2006 to the category of "strictly sculptorical average and small size works for being serialized and multiplied in wide sectors".

It was the first work of art of Exposagua to be showed publicly (December 2007) and was so enthusiastically received by the citizens that these small bronze-fogs are sold in many art galleries of the city and -even though some of them have been stolen- in general they have not suffered many vandalistic actions. Arrudi was so proud of them that he even included several frogs on his sculpture The Three Sisters -placed at the entrance of the park besides Almozara Bridge, where we can find also some little ones.

We also can see interesting examples of public art on both sides of this bridge restored in 1987, that originally was a railway bridge. A Baldwin vapor engine on a base placed at the north median strip, is one of the most notable examples of industrial archaeology turned into a monument. At the other side of the bridge, we find the sculpture Quetzal made by the civil engineer Antonio Martínez Santoja, which evokes the silhouette of this American bird in his own "Op Art" style. The bird is made of prismatic metal sheets turning around an inner axis and describing aerodynamic forms.

Curiously, the sculpture has been placed here, at Europa Square, where its theme does not match the place and its figure passes unnoticed. But, it is impossible not to remark the high Obelisk on marquina marble ashlars designed by the sculptor Alberto Pagnussat and the Asociación Pablo Gargallo (headed by him), an artistic group of Zaragoza that, in the 80s, proposed to build once again monuments made in stone. Many examples remain in different areas of the city. We can see also the Hommage to Sancho Gate, made by the sculptors Florencio de Pedro and Pedro Hernández Prieto, to remember this gate placed in the old town. It is made in concrete with loops on the steel sheet that heads the fountain several metres beyond, and, besides it, a high mast placed at the center of a small square at la Almozara Road.