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Antoni Miralda – Joan Serinyana

Olidor, 2018

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.

Pilar Bonet


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Antoni Miralda

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.

Pilar Bonet

 


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Joseph Beuys

Difesa della Natura, 1982

Multiple | color offset on cardboard, signed by the artist
35,5 x 44,5 cm.

The relationship of the human being with nature is one of the central questions in the thought of Joseph Beuys. From 1971 on Beuys was a frequent visitor to Italy, where he developed the project DIFESA DELLA NATURA, his proposal for the emergence of a new culture in which art was to become an everyday act that went beyond the artistic context. The gallery space run by Lucrezia De Domizio and Giuseppe Durini in Pescara provided Beuys with the opportunity to experiment with different systems of agricultural cultivation – he saw agriculture as linked to the centrality of the human being liberated from all ideology of power – and to pursue this investigation of the truth through his own presence in nature. At Pescara he organized encounters, actions and debates as forms of collaborative practice, of betterment and defence. Between 1971 and 1985, Beuys carried out a series of works associated with the Difesa della Naturaproject, articulated in the following actions: Encounter with Beuys (1974), Grassello (1979), Piantagioni (1984), Olivestone (1984) and Unfinished Projects (1985).

 Encounter with Beuys (1974) is a debate in which the artist posits nature as possessing an infinite, continuous, linear time and space and a terrestrial physicality that cannot be different from or far removed from a curved, infinite, continuous and linear cosmic spirituality. In this context, he puts forward the notions of free creativity and the expanded concept of art, linked to the belief in the universal power of human creativity and the conviction that art can bring about revolutionary change. In Grassello(1979) Beuys used slaked lime (grassello) to restore his house and studio in Germany, and synthesized the reaction of the Italian material on coming into contact with German water in the formula Ca(OH)2+ H2O. The essence of the work is the journey of the material from Pescara to Düsseldorf, a process documented photographically by Durini. Piantagioni (1984) was a collaborative project combining agricultural wisdom and the ecological function of plants, organized for human purposes, which resulted in the planting of 7000 oaksin Kassel. Olivestone (1984) consists of a sculpture made from fivestone vats used by the Durini family since the sixteenth century to decant and purify olive oil. Beuys created larger stone cuboids, placed the vats inside them and filled them with 200 litres of oil from the Durini estate. As in communicating vessels, the oil seeps through the sculpture, producing a reflecting mirror effect. Olivestone combines plant and mineral elements, the solid and the liquid, feminine and masculine aspects, chaos and order, utility and aesthetics.

 From this starting point various elements, including multiples in limited and unlimited editions such as cases of wine and bottles of olive oil, graphic material, stamps, documents and so on are the material means of disseminating these ideas of Beuys in this great project holistic conceived with a view to liberating the Western world from its materialism and achieving a social harmony based on direct democracy and mutual solidarity, irrespective of people’s economic, religious or political status.

Montse Badia


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Joseph Beuys

Ölflasche, 1984

Multiple | Bottle of oil olive, with printed label
26 cm

The relationship of the human being with nature is one of the central questions in the thought of Joseph Beuys. From 1971 on Beuys was a frequent visitor to Italy, where he developed the project DIFESA DELLA NATURA, his proposal for the emergence of a new culture in which art was to become an everyday act that went beyond the artistic context. The gallery space run by Lucrezia De Domizio and Giuseppe Durini in Pescara provided Beuys with the opportunity to experiment with different systems of agricultural cultivation – he saw agriculture as linked to the centrality of the human being liberated from all ideology of power – and to pursue this investigation of the truth through his own presence in nature. At Pescara he organized encounters, actions and debates as forms of collaborative practice, of betterment and defence. Between 1971 and 1985, Beuys carried out a series of works associated with the Difesa della Naturaproject, articulated in the following actions: Encounter with Beuys (1974), Grassello (1979), Piantagioni (1984), Olivestone (1984) and Unfinished Projects (1985).

Encounter with Beuys (1974) is a debate in which the artist posits nature as possessing an infinite, continuous, linear time and space and a terrestrial physicality that cannot be different from or far removed from a curved, infinite, continuous and linear cosmic spirituality. In this context, he puts forward the notions of free creativity and the expanded concept of art, linked to the belief in the universal power of human creativity and the conviction that art can bring about revolutionary change. In Grassello (1979) Beuys used slaked lime (grassello) to restore his house and studio in Germany, and synthesized the reaction of the Italian material on coming into contact with German water in the formula Ca(OH)2+ H2O. The essence of the work is the journey of the material from Pescara to Düsseldorf, a process documented photographically by Durini. Piantagioni(1984) was a collaborative project combining agricultural wisdom and the ecological function of plants, organized for human purposes, which resulted in the planting of 7000 oaksin Kassel. Olivestone (1984) consists of a sculpture made from fivestone vats used by the Durini family since the sixteenth century to decant and purify olive oil. Beuys created larger stone cuboids, placed the vats inside them and filled them with 200 litres of oil from the Durini estate. As in communicating vessels, the oil seeps through the sculpture, producing a reflecting mirror effect. Olivestonecombines plant and mineral elements, the solid and the liquid, feminine and masculine aspects, chaos and order, utility and aesthetics.

 From this starting point various elements, including multiples in limited and unlimited editions such as cases of wine and bottles of olive oil, graphic material, stamps, documents and so on are the material means of disseminating these ideas of Beuys in this great project holistic conceived with a view to liberating the Western world from its materialism and achieving a social harmony based on direct democracy and mutual solidarity, irrespective of people’s economic, religious or political status.

Montse Badia


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