Enric Farrés Duran
El coleccionista, el artista y todo lo demás, 2018
Installation | Helium ballon, string, metal, cement
|Antoni Miralda – Joan Serinyana|
|Sculpture | Pan made of olive tree wood and photographic fabric|
Ceremonial action with garden fruits and new olive oil at Ca la Maria.
Barcelona, 28 November 2018. An initiative of Cal Cego, col·lecció d’art contemporani
The international artist Miralda and the contemporary art collectors of Cal Cego have many things in common, and others yet to be discovered. They are united by the pleasure of paddling the open sea between cultures and traditions, and the desire to create communities in which to enact little rituals of transformation. The rescuing of wooden dishes and old recipes are life projects which follow guidelines not of material profit but of enchantment. Out of this convergence between the artist and the collectors a project has sprouted, a ceremonial transmutation of oil into gold that takes place in Ca la Maria around a table with fruits from the urban garden: OLIDOR.
A liturgy led by Miralda, accompanied by Montse Guillén and the knowledge of Joan Serinyana, which takes place at dusk when light gives way to mysteries. The preamble of a visit to the little garden at the back of the house opens the doors of nature to the congregation. The group prepares the work table, laying out the fruits they have picked around a magnificent piece of olive wood, the Batea or wash bowl. In its configuration this still-life acts as a tabernacle. The guests choose an ingredient to emulsify in the new oil contained in the Batea, a hand-crafted piece with mythical resonances. Miralda grasps the Batea with both hands and carries it over to the guests’ table, a gesture of liturgical respect for an object that contains the memories if a hundred years.
The wooden chalice is pass from hand to hand and gently swirled, xinxollada, to emulsify the oil with the fruits: the aromatic herbs, pomegranate and lemon activate sacred flavours and symbolisms. In 18 individual cocktail shakers the oil is mixed with the spirits and the ice cubes, breaking the silence with the alchemical sonority of the receptacle that is agitated to make a whole out of diversity. The new liquid material is served in special glasses with teats and mother-of-pearl LEDs. The mystery of the transformation is manifested as the Blue Gold Margarita Cocktail, combining nature and culture, folk tradition and high art. Everyone drinks from the grail of light and their eyes reflect the perplexity of the experience.
To conclude this liturgy of transubstantiation and exaltation of the origins and the future, of the land and its offerings, the people serving the table place before those seated plates with gilded pieces of pa de pagès and invite them to use it to soak up the excess oil. The country bread with its crustand crumbis coated with edible gold. In a time of cultural upheaval and vital uprooting, the artist explores the invisible energies that pass between culture, gastronomy and society by interpreting popular rural and urban traditions in a visionary way. In this ritual action the artist practises, as he always does, a form of democratic creativity that fuses the present with the past, activating not only our perceptive faculties but also new forms of social experience.
For Miralda, the materiality of the form and of collective action is of the greatest importance; he has never practised an idea of art as an autonomous cultural territory. Everything is world, all roads lead back to the origin. The Batea of olive wood with its sinuous veins is the silent protagonist, the most prized piece of this ceremonial.
In the imaginaries and ceremonials of the artist Antoni Miralda, small-scale domestic tasks and large constructions in the public space are creative processes of the same intensity. In much the same way, his physical displacements make him a nomad, while his alchemy of colours and flavours bestows on him a shamanic identity rooted in place – places; a hard-to-classify artist, an anomaly that gives him the highest privilege when it comes to eroticizing delicacies and delighting in gastronomic encounters.
He was born in Terrassa (Barcelona), a place of textile factories and densely woven social fabrics. He travelled and settled as a young man in the Paris and New York of the Seventies, where he energized the processes of his highly individual aesthetic warp and weft and his relational scenarios. He has always guided his works and collaborations like an anthropologist, a way of working far removed from solipsism. For Miralda, art is a stove on which you can cook and a table to be shared. The furniture of this unusual artist’s studio is rich in Pop reminiscences and magical chiaroscuros: cannibalism, aphrodisiac delicacies, organic fruits, martial miniatures, colourful advertising icons, cookery books, pagan weddings, videos, grandmother’s recipes and virtual museums.
His productions, unclassifiable and as such indispensable, have been shown and taken place in leading museums in cities and international events around the world. A wealth of publications disseminate the works and analyze his creative spirit. Together with Montse Guillén, he runs the FoodCulturaMuseum life project, a museum at the mercy of the elements, without time or coordinates. A project for eternity.
In 2018 Antoni Miralda was awarded the prestigious Velázquez Prize for his incomparable way of working the concept of ritual and party in a playful and participatory manner, with an emphasis on the political and critical nature of his works. In other words: the artist knows that bread is more important than money, and friendship more than success.