There is no doubt that art is a complex form of knowledge and, to paraphrase Harald Szeeman, we could say that artists are seismographers of the changes that take place in society. Art is a form of questioning and with their work artists ask more questions than they supply answers. The importance of art is based on its capacity to change our perception of the world. That is why artistic production finds its reason for being in the production of meaning; in both a contextual and an existential sense.

Art is always a reflection of its time, of the period when it is produced and developed. To build up a collection of the art of the present is an option as fascinating as it is brave, an uninhibited approach to the art of our time. A commitment to the present involves the will to take part in that present and to assume its contradictions. To develop a collection from the art of the moment not only means taking part in that construction, it also implies a will to be a participant in an era.

The Cal Cego project started in 2006 and is based on a private collection which has sprung from the personal taste of its creators, Roser Figueras and Josep Inglada. The will to go beyond the home and become a cultural heritage which will reflect a period and promote knowledge of art are the engines that drive the project. The mission of Cal Cego is to contribute to the creation of meaning, knowledge and exchange of ideas, from Barcelona and in relation to the rest of the world.

The aims of Cal Cego, the Contemporary Art Collection project are:

– To create a cultural heritage that will be the reflection of a period.

– To support the artistic ideas and discourses of the present moment.

– To promote knowledge of art.

– To become an innovatory forum for contemporary art.

To achieve those aims, Cal Cego has designed an action programme with a number of different lines, ranging from consolidating and enlarging the collection (cataloguing, conservation, new acquisitions and the production of new works) to support education and research (through the online Master of Present Art started in collaboration with IL3-University of Barcelona), to create community (via Alumni) or a whole series of activities focused on the dissemination of contemporary art and a broader knowledge of it; exhibitions, projects, collaborations with other institutions and initiatives. Moreover, the Cal Cego website not only intends to be a portal for information, but also a platform for knowledge (with a catalogue raisonné of all the works) from which specific projects and activities can be developed.

Cal Cego is a collection without a permanent venue and works on this nomadic concept. There is no permanent exhibition space for the collection, which at present contains about 400 works.

Some of the criteria of the collection are the following:

– There are no rigid categories; it is the concept that structure an evolving fabric.

– The collection of groups of significant works is given priority over isolated ones.

– Traditional techniques coexist with other, more contemporary ones.

– Photography is the best represented medium, but by no means the only one, since painting, video, sculpture, drawing and installation are other formats found in Cal Cego.

– There is an interest in bringing together artists from different contexts and generations. And so we find Muntadas and Allan Sekula alongside Francesc Ruiz or Jonathan Monk; Helena Almeida or Alicia Framis; Hans-Peter Feldman and Peter Piller, to illustrate the diversity of contexts and generations.

It is possible to stablish various roadmaps in the collection that ultimately aims to raise questions about our present, from issues of representation, the status of the image, perception, questioning the evidence, the critical aproach and  the role of the artist himself, his need to identify and point out things and situations.

The Cal Cego project sets out to treat the collection creatively, living it as a learning experience and as a tool of collaboration and work in the construction of meaning.


Montse Badia