ARCHIVE / 2016 / Texts

Victoria Combalía
Art historian and critic

A Magnificent Initiative

A large part of my interest in the Mini Print International is due to the fact that I make no distinction between major or minor art, between so-called High and Low Art. I have always been as interested in Art Brut, popular art, all the graphic arts, drawing, watercolour and gouache as in oil painting. For the same reason I am passionate about the world of collage and object art. I have just read an article in the prestigious French review Art Press on what is referred to as Arts Modestes (modest arts) which even has a museum in Sète, France called MIAM, founded by the well known artist Hervé di Rosa. To this I add my great friendship with Rosa Vives, a great expert in printmaking who taught me to appreciate the marvellous etchings of Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso, and my more recent friendship with Carla Espósito Hayter, daughter-in-law of Stanley William Hayter, renovator of printmaking in the 20th century.

Printmaking has a large tradition that goes back to the Sumerians (giving results on soft clay) and to China (already on paper, but with a matrix of hard stone, shell or wood). We all know that the matrix for printmaking can be on wood (wood engraving or wood cutting) or on metal (intaglio) which can result in different qualities depending on the tool used: burin (engraving) or with a needle drawn directly on the metal plate (drypoint). Etching, aquatint, mezzotint, monotype, and later lithography and serigraphy are some of the various techniques that can be used for results that are as diverse as they are fascinating.

In the Mini Print of 2016 I discovered a great variety of styles and techniques, both figurative and abstract in a dichotomy which no longer is a basis for a value judgement. Within abstraction there were examples of lyrical abstraction, geometric abstraction and many examples of the style we call informalist, and resulting from the new technologies there were also examples of digital prints. The presence of artists from numerous countries was very gratifying and I was able to note that from 1981 on, international representation has continually increased. In general the number of countries represented is around fifty, rising to 58 in 2012. This not only demonstrates the prestige of the competition, but also the opening of Cadaques to the rest of the world, which is one of its most representative and commendable characteristics since the 1960’s. And in this, Pasqual Fort and his wife Mercedes Barberá played an essential role, given that participants and winners usually come to this marvellous place on our Costa Brava, conversing with local artists and collectors and enjoying the hospitality of the whole Fort/Barberá family.

The art of printmaking, needless to say, is a chapter apart, with its great specialists, with its own bibliography as well as its specialized graphic arts auctions, where the finest works reach prohibitive prices. A lithograph by Edward Munch, The Scream, from 1895, was sold for 2,351,553 euros last June in Sotheby’s of London. Who wouldn’t want to start a print collection?

Mercedes Barberà Rusinyol
Director of the Mini Print International of Cadaqués

The 36th Mini Print International of Cadaques has received some good news that filled us with joy because of its importance and significance. Interest in the Mini Print by Roser Pintó, director of the graphic section of the Library of Catalunya together with the approval of Eugènia Serra, the library director as well as Jusèp Boya, general director of Archives, Libraries, Museums and Patrimony has culminated in an agreement whereby we have donated a complete collection of the winning prints of all previous exhibitions. The donation will form part of the collections of the library and can be consulted by researchers.

We plan to give a set of the six winning prints to the library every year, so the fund can be considered an open one. Before being incorporated into the fund there will be a brief exhibition of the winning prints in the library.

The Library of Catalunya was created by the Institute of Catalan Studies in 1907. It is housed in one of the most important civil Gothic buildings in Catalunya, the old Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona, built between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The first stone was laid in 1401.

I am greatly honoured by this institution’s recognition of our efforts in promoting printmaking and for its respect for and interest in the winning artists who will enrich the great documental value of its collection. Catalan Public Television echoed this event with a beautiful documentary about the Mini Print International of Cadaques.

The Taller Galeria Fort of Cadaques has hosted the Mini Print during July, August and September arousing the interest and curiosity of the visitors who await it eagerly and captivating with its charm a public that visits us for the first time.

The solo shows of the previous winners aroused great interest. The following winners attended the opening of their shows and acted as jurors of the 36th Mini Print: Danielle Grosbuch, Luxemburg; Cristina Pérez Alay, Catalunya; Stephen Lawlor, Ireland; Victoria Westmancott-Wrede, Germany; Litzco Yamamiya, Japan and William Barnhart, U.S.A. We shared unforgettable moments of friendship and technical knowledge with them.

These solo shows were also exhibited during the month of December in the Artèria Gallery of Igualada (Barcelona) thanks to its director Lluïsa Avante’s enthusiasm for the Mini Print International of Cadaques.

The show also travelled again to Wingfield Barns under the protection of Ian Chance, dedicated as always to maintaining the Mini Print in this beautiful place of England. The Tharrats Foundation of Graphic Arts in Pineda de Mar presented the Mini Print the last week of October and first week of November. Many of its inhabitants and artists who have their studios nearby visited it. And finally, Sophie Cassard hosted the Mini Print in her gallery l’Etang d’Art in Bages where, as always, she receives visitors from the south of France as well as participating artists from all over Europe who come to know the Mini Print in this small and beautiful village of France.

Once more I wish to thank all those whose love of art and culture make possible the continuity of the Mini Print year after year. Thanks to the public, the collectors, purchasers, and to the gallery owners who host the show. Thanks also to those who comment about it and to all our collaborators and supporters. But above all thanks to all the participating artists who send their beautiful prints from all corners of the world. Thanks for your work. We await you all in the 2017 exhibition!