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Exhibitions

The MUME presents "Joaquim Vicens Gironella: Living in turbulent times and creating from the margins"

The MUME presents "Joaquim Vicens Gironella: Living in turbulent times and creating from the margins"
bonart la jonquera - 05/04/22

The Exile Memorial Museum (MUME) opens on April 9 at 5 p.m. the exhibition Joaquim Vicens Gironella: Living in turbulent times and creating from the sidelines, curated by art historian Narcís Selles. The initiative is the result of a collaboration between the center and the Museu del Suro de Catalunya, located in Palafrugell, where the exhibition will also be on view from 15 October.

Joaquim Vicens Gironella (Agullana, 1911 ― Toulouse, 1997) was the son of a family of Republican cork craftsmen and cork makers. From a very young age he showed civic, political and cultural concerns as well as a passion for writing that would not leave him throughout his life. During the thirties he collaborated in the local and regional press, especially in the Empordà Federal . Following the military coup against the Republic, he was part of the Anti-Fascist Committee and the Municipal Council of his people, first by the CNT and then by the PSUC. On the war front, he directed the publication Victoria , aimed at Republican fighters.

The victory of Spanish Catholic fascism forced him into exile and he spent a year interned in the Bram concentration camp. Once free, he found work in a cork stopper factory in Toulouse, where he raised a family with Republican refugee Paz Santiago Ruiz, with whom he would have three daughters. Following the German occupation, he was sent to the Récébédou concentration camp and from there to Le Croisic, where he was assigned to the Todt Organization to take part in the construction of the Atlantic Wall. Returning to Toulouse, he directed the magazine Catalunya , sponsored by sectors of the resistance.

Shortly after the war, Vicens Gironella abandoned political action and began an original sculptural work in cork outside the aesthetic trends of the time, which made him one of the central names in the so-called Art Brut. , one of the most important international currents of post-war Europe.

The French artist and intellectual Jean Dubuffet saw his works and was captivated by them, as they were in line with the idea of Art Brut that he was then developing and that he wanted to represent a current of otherness in relation to instituted art. In 1948 he presented it in a personal exhibition in Paris and dedicated a monograph to it; Vicens Gironella later took part in the most significant shows of the trend in Europe and the United States.

Currently, the work of the author from Agullan enjoys a remarkable level of projection, is present in several museums and has been part of highly relevant international exhibitions, in Paris, London, Ravenna and Geneva. The Collection of Art Brut of Lausanne, the main center of the world of this trend, preserves more than fifty pieces by Vicens Gironella. His work has been the subject of numerous references in articles, books and doctoral theses.

This situation contrasts with the little knowledge that is available in his native country, even among specialists, despite being the most historically representative Catalan author of Art Brut. A misinformation that this initiative aims to help overcome.

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