Ricard Planas Camps Art critic and cultural manager
Green Buds of Art
In the book 100 Years of Painting in Cadaqués (*) the painter and dynamic cultural promoter Joan Josep Tharrats successfully strives to make a portrait of the cultural-artistic ecosystem that this emblematic Catalan village of the Costa Brava represents. The truth is that Cadaqués is one of the few oases where art has existed with impressive strength for centuries with decades of more or less potency. We are now at a time of retrocession. Let’s not fool ourselves! The excesses of capital and overbuilding as well as erratic cultural policies – whenever they existed – systematically impede the introduction of new airs of modernity in a village that is in itself very special. The newly rich and the noisy masses are leaving culture out, its leit motiv. Culture versus tourism: a debate of vehement tensions, clearer and more current every day. Extrapolating very much we could affirm that “without culture there is no tourism, but without tourism culture can exist”. Nevertheless the crises have green buds, and we are really rethinking these tendentious relations: we are beginning to understand natural patrimony as patrimony, as a primordial wager for the future (the urbanizations near the Cap de Creus don’t help much!). But if we speak of green buds, in another dimension but without belittling its importance, and within a countercurrent frame of silent optimism, we have to end up with a private initiative, the Mini Print International of Cadaqués. A great joy: a family project, thoughtful and carefully planned and continually modified for more than three decades, to take the pulse of “liquid postmodernism”, without harming itself but with a firm hand and always moving towards a known and intuitive improvement.
The First Time
Some years ago, more than it seems to me, I calmly walked along Hort d’en Sanes Street in Cadaqués, an epicenter of art. For the first time I moved along with the anxiety of secret discoveries. New eyes, virgin eyes, eyes of rediscoveries that only children can again reveal to you. And the first thing I ran into was the gallery of the Italian Lanfranco Bombelli, Galeria Cadaqués, another indispensable reference of the XX century, not only of Cadaqués but peninsular, that is now directed by Huc Malla. Once I finished visiting the exhibition organized by Bombelli, architect, gallery owner, concrete artist and passionate collaborator of the Mini Print, – every year he made a print expressly for the show – he led me a few meters further on and I ended up in front of a giant etching press: the Mini Print. This event takes place in the Taller Galeria Fort, named by Pascual Fort, another master and exceptional artist and founder of the whole caboodle. Thus everything fits together. Hyper stimulated retinas cried tears of color, they were full of chromatic impressions of diverse tendencies and colors; an eclecticism. That multitude of countries and nationalities united like a patchwork fascinated me as well as -I can’t deny it- overwhelming my vision. Kilos of imagination, condensed by a technique that is ancient and modern at the same time. The visit was revelatory, as was the amiability of both Mercedes, mother and daughter and her partner who, since the death of Pascual Fort, proficiently pilot this great Cadaqués oasis. Minutes later, Eduard Arranz-Bravo, another notable of Cadaqués with an extensive graphic work – he always gave special emphasis to this technique – accompanied me to his studio opposite the Taller Galeria Fort. Thus past and present coincide. I re-encounter them every year with delight for new discoveries and small purchases apt for all pockets, in a good practice of socializing culture and art. An occasion that is already an immaterial patrimony of Catalonia. For many years Mercedes!
(*) “Cent anys de pintura a Cadaqués” Tharrats, Joan Josep. Parsifal Edicions, 2007. ISBN 84-95554-27-5.
Mercedes Barberà Rusiñol Director of the Mini Print International of Cadaques
751 printmakers participated in the 32nd Mini Print International of Cadaqués. Their beautiful works offered visitors the opportunity to know and comprehend the different techniques currently used by artists all over the world. Joan Figueras, Mayor of Cadaqués and great follower and admirer of the Mini Print was present at the opening at the Taller Galeria Fort
The propagation through the media of the competition brings multitudes of visitors, art lovers, who establish a relaxed communicative relation, influenced by sea, sun and the sense of freedom that is breathed in Cadaqués and that helps in a better assimilation of the artistic factors.
Like every year, participating artists and the general public from many countries visited us. We noted a greater number of families from the United States and Australia as well as an increased presence of very interested young people.
The presence of last year’s winning artists at the openings of their exhibitions was especially interesting since it made possible the interchange of cultural points of view, techniques and friendship. The Catalan Núria Casapeu, the Japanese Kyoshiro Takahashi and Noriaki Kondoh, the Australian Andrew Donohoe and the Belgian Roger Dewint came and acted as jurors to select the six winning artists that we hope to meet at their exhibitions next summer. We regret the absence of María Fernández Rivas who was unable to come to Cadaqués, but her work as well as that of the other winners deserved the praise of professionals and the admiration of everybody.
Ian Chance brought the exhibition to England in the lovely town of Wingfield Barns during July, August and September. Its proximity to Cambridge facilitates the arousal of a great artistic as well as didactic interest.
With growing expectations the “Tharrats Foundation of Graphic Art” in Pineda de Mar received the Mini Print during October and November. Its location near Barcelona and other villages of the Maresme brings about a large turnout of visitors. We are grateful to the Foundation and to Xavier Amor, Mayor of Pineda for their interest in the Mini Print whose continuation is assured by their support.
The gallery L’Etangd’Art in Bages, near Narbonne, directed by Sophie Cassard, receives the Mini Print in November, December and January, animating the Christmas holidays with its presence. Many participating artists from France and Europe visit the exhibition in Bages and many thus discover this beautiful French village.
The Catalan Government’s Cultural Department through its Barcelona Territorial Services collaborated in the edition of this catalogue. We are very grateful for its help in these difficult times and for its understanding of the importance of the image of Catalonia that the Mini Print transmits to the whole world through its propagation and internationality.
My last words always are directed to the participating artists whose beautiful works make the Mini Print International of Cadaqués possible. My admiration and respect to them all and to all those who, hopefully, will participate in the 33rd competition.