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Enric Farrés Duran

París no se acaba nunca: #Districte cinquè (Never Any End to Paris # Districte Cinquè), 2014

Publication | Artist’s book | MACBA, Barcelona

21 x 14.7 cm

Just as the writer Enrique Vila-Matas does not so much write as rewrite, so Enric Farrés Duran combines and shuffles technical and conceptual strategies, while playing with all the cultural baggage he has at his disposal. Farrés Duran has taken a book by Vila-Matas, Never Any End to Paris, and carried out what is literally a formal cloning as the point of departure for a serial project that invites us to join him on an autobiographical journey in which, as in Vila-Matas, the true and the false, the plausible and the improbable are continually conflated.

To date, three stages of Enric Farrés Duran’s Never Any End to Parisproject have been developed. In Never Any End to Paris # Poblenou, Never Any End to Paris # El Prat and Never Any End to Paris # Districte Cinquè the artist starts from a specific place – the Barcelona neighbourhood of Poblenou, the satellite municipality of El Prat and Barcelona’s Fifth District, in the Raval neighbourhood – as the basis for a series of itineraries in which as many things are brought to light as are hidden, each itinerary duly completed with a book that puts it all in order or contradicts everything.

Thus, Never Any End to Paris # Poblenou traces a route on the strength of a coincidence of initials and location, linking Can Felipa, a public art facility focused on up-and-coming artists, and a Museum of Contemporary Painting belonging to a private foundation. The intervention by Enric Farrés Duran commingled elements of the two institutions in such a way that paintings from the private museum were exhibited in an emergent art context, while works by some very young artists were infiltrated among more traditional pieces.

Never Any End to Paris # El Prat, carried out jointly with Roger Amat-Comellas, proceeded to trace a hilarious sequence of connections between localdesignation-protected agricultural products such as the renowned El Prat artichoke or the blue-legged Buff Catalana chicken and certain oversized monuments to these products found in the United States (Roger Amat-Comellas’s personal circumstances led him to take up residence in the USA), all set to the uninhibited musical backing of the 80s Oi! classic ‘Vacaciones en El Prat’ by Decibelios. The literal itinerary took the form of a group coach trip, which the artist entitledJourney to the Origin.

Never Any End to Paris # Districte Cinquè, the third instalment of the serial project, was produced in the context of the collective exhibition Invocable Realityat MACBA. In the artist’s wanderings through the Fifth District of Barcelona (in which there is no shortage of confusions with another fifth, the Vearrondissement in Paris, also a ​​university district) he engaged in an investigation whose results he then embodied in an installation of inputs and found items in the form of objects, books and sundry other elements. The installation is presented as a small stage for a performance for which we the spectators have arrived too soon; a stage on which we find a set of shelves with various elements, together with a chair, a large pot plant and a poster. We neither know nor can discover what role these things will play in the enacting of the performance we feel must be due to begin at any moment. The secret was disclosed on June 26, 2014, when, with the title Looking for Enemies, Enric Farrés Duran led a small group of people on a guided tour of the Fifth District to places of particular importance in his own biography: the Faculty of Philosophy, the Massana art school and the studio of the designer Peret, among others. There he engaged with former fellow students and co-workers and gave them the opportunity to discuss and refute his ideas from a philosophical point of view or as a kind of ‘settling of old scores’ that, in the last analysis, evidenced the intelligence of his positioning as an artist and his capacity to shake up, shuffle and manage referents, situations and formats.

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Enric Farrés Duran

El Viatge Frustrat (The Frustrated Journey), 2015-2016

Video | Colour | Sound | 1 hour 45 minutes

 

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El Viatge Frustrat/The Frustrated Journey is an art project by Enric Farrés Duran, produced by Cal Cego, in which the artist and the collector embark on an adventure at sea, with the idea of recreating the voyage to France made by the writer Josep Pla and his friend Sebastià Puig i Barceló—better known as Hermós—in 1918. In the story ‘Un viatge frustrat’ (first published in Un bodegó amb peixos, Selecta, 1950), Pla recounts in considerable detail the voyage, using sail and oars and without passports, and the ostensible reason for making it: to visit some relatives of Hermós in Roussillon; however, in the course of the journey the underlying motivation is revealed as being to get home again to tell the story. As we know, Pla never made the frustrated trip, which fits into the idea of creating fictions incrusted with a wealth of authentic details (real persons, types of fish, weather conditions, moods and so on) to give them veracity.

Unlike Pla, Farrés Duran actually made the frustrated voyage, setting out from the Costa Brava in the month of August 2015. What is more, his intention was to create not a realist fiction but a fictionalized reality on the basis of specific documentation which is closer to holiday photographs and videos than to the epic and tragic tradition so often associated with projects related to the sea by artists and filmmakers (we might think here of Bas Jan Ader’s In Search of the Miraculous or Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog, to cite a couple of examples).

The Frustrated Journey of Enric Farrés Duran is the opposite of heroic: an artist is towed in his tiny boat (a two-metre wooden barge, motorless as the result of a mysterious theft) by another, perfectly seaworthy vessel (a replica of the poet and publisher Carlos Barral’s boat, named ‘Captain Argüello’ but popularly known as ‘La Barrala’) skippered by the art collector Josep Inglada, one of the people behind Cal Cego. During the trip there are difficult moments and periods of leisure, waiting and chance encounters.

In The Frustrated Journey everyday life occupies almost all of the footage, which is filled with time spent waiting, time in which nothing out of the ordinary happens. There are no stories of love or hatred, robbery or murder, there is no mystery and no amazing coincidences, but the fact that nothing happens and yet expectations are created also deserves some explanation, and, as the voice-over tells us at one point in the video: ‘Appearances do not deceive, they are appearances.’ In the light of this, Farrés Duran’s points of reference are to be found in writers like W. G. Sebald and Enrique Vila-Matas or artists like Ignasi Aballí and a whole genealogy of ‘No artists’ who, like Bartleby, disappear, stop writing, stop making nothing the object of their work to approach reality from new perspectives.

Time is another key theme, with vacation time and production time mixing and merging, like the time on shore in which nothing happens, waiting for better weather conditions to make the trip.

In a very ordinary, everyday way the video addresses some of the major themes of art, such as the relationship between artist and collector, the decision to let oneself be carried along or to take the helm and, to some extent, the debunking and revising of roles: the artist is no longer heroic — he devotes part of his working time to stretching out in the small boat and posting on Facebook — and the collector is no longer the patron who purchases the work, or produces it by providing the funds needed to being it to fruition, but the person who provisions and sails the boat and does the cooking. Another aspect of this is the journey towards internationalization (quite clearly shown here as a naive position), which is so important if an artist’s work is to be recognized and legitimated.

In The Frustrated Journey the script is being written as it happens. The video — a format that Enric Farrés Duran explores for the first time with this work, which has been edited by Telma Llos Martí — makes use of resources reminiscent of YouTube tutorials or Skype video conferencing; we are shown Google Maps, archive material and the artist’s own computer desktop. In this way, using video treatments and present-day communication formats, Enric succeeds in translating to video the use of the first-person narrative that, in other projects, has taken the form of a book or a guided tour.

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Enric Farrés Duran

 (Palafrugell, Girona, 1983)

 


 

Enric Farrés Duran (Palafrugell, Girona, 1983) is a teller of stories in which the real and the fictional continually brush against and modify one another. His work is articulated on the basis of researches, coincidences and fortuitous encounters and the possibility of making connections between different places, objects and circumstances. Farrés Duran creates narratives that bring out hidden and unexpected relationships, which in some cases involve different times and places. The story — narrated and written — plays an essential role in these processes, and the information it provides is essential to our engaging with the process and the connections it establishes. Farrés Duran’s projects are embodied in installations, walks with commentary, guided tours, books and videos.

In much the same way that the novelist and essayist Enrique Vila-Matas does not so much write as rewrite, Farrés Duran combines and shuffles technical and conceptual strategies as he plays with the sum of his cultural baggage. The reference to Vila-Matas is not casual, because the artist has taken his novel Never Any End to Paris and created what is literally a formal clone of it as a starting point for a series of projects in which he takes us on an autobiographical journey on which the true and the false, the plausible and the improbable merge and fuse.

In conjunction with Joana Llauradó, Farrés Duran has developed projects for the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and the Museu Frederic Marès, in the form of guided tours that explore various aspects related to collecting and archiving, how historiography is written and the different levels of mediation surrounding the works.

One of his most recent works is The Frustrated Journey, produced by Cal Cego, which takes as its starting point the short story ‘El viatge frustrat’ by Josep Pla. Here, as in other of his works, Farrés Duran initiates stories that combine actual facts and invented elements which he, as the good narrator he is, invites us to follow and enjoy, but also to question and challenge.

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