The world of culture has lost a great person and above all a true artist. Jordi Maragall i Mira (Barcelona, 1936-2023) left us on the 1st of January. He has been a creator who with his attitude has been able to respond to introspective needs through the exercise of painting.
Unfortunately, it was at the same time that an exhibition of his was presented at the Fundació Lluís Coromina in Barcelona, of which I am the curator and in which he had placed all his enthusiasm. Under the title "Sempre amb les veles suspeses", taken from the poem Excelsior by his grandfather Joan Maragall, he gathers - through fifty works - a retrospective taste of more than sixty years of creative activity. A suggestive title in which the poet explains the never-ending journey of the creator, who seeks knowledge in his future, and in which Jordi Maragall, on his arduous path, imbued himself with experiences and wisdom. The times we met to prepare this exhibition, I remember him with an affable, dialogical and sincere character; an energetic stance in defense of creative freedom above all else.
Jordi Maragall i Mira was a member of an important Catalan saga of artists and intellectuals: son of Jordi Maragall i Noble and grandson of the poet Joan Maragall. He completed his primary and secondary studies at Escola Virtèlia in Barcelona and his training in painting and drawing began at the Valls Academy also in the same city and continued at the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc. After finishing high school, he studied painting in the workshop of the painter Ramon Rogent together with Josep Roca, Pep Serra, Bosco Martí and others. He participated in some groups and presented a first selection of his works at Sala Vayreda in Barcelona in 1959. Stays in Madrid and Paris would follow, thanks to a scholarship granted by the Cercle Maillol (French Institute of Barcelona) , who introduced him to great museums and masters and connected him to the languages of international painting and the European avant-gardes. Roualt, Matisse, Kokoschka, Léger, Morandi, Nolde and Munch will be his references.
Cinc franges. 2010 Oli obre tela. 92x73 cm.
His restlessness led him to work tirelessly on a painting in which he alternated figuration and abstraction, as well as the use of different vocabularies. But the expressionist echo will be his guiding thread throughout his career. Alberto del Castillo, Àngel Marsà, Rafael Manzano, Juan Cortés, Rafael Santos Torroella, Daniel Giralt-Miracle, Josep Maria Cadena, Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Pilar Parcerisas or Xavier Rubert de Ventós, praised in their writings the work and creation of 'this indefatigable artist.
A work that is difficult to classify, since it does not follow any particular current or trend. Outside the established modes, realism and abstraction will be reflected depending on their needs, in a coming and going without any prejudice. In the text of the Dau al Set gallery catalog (1984), the critic Victoria Combalia emphasizes the use of different juxtaposed expressions that Jordi Maragall uses in his own interest. The exhibitions in the Sala Gaspar (1990) and the Sala Parés (2015), among others, will follow, as well as the one that is still present at the Fundació Lluís Coromina in Barcelona, inaugurated in November 2022.
This exhibition traces his life journey: from the portraits and the first figures loaded with pictorial magma, continuing through the figures where he shows us his drawing virtuosity or the still lifes where he searches for the essentiality of shapes and colors that strip away all anecdote Later on, it evolves towards the predominance of Paleo constructive values, especially through the use of color and gesture. At this point he stays with the dynamics of the shot, with an unleashed force of movement and a chromatic forcefulness that invades the pictorial space.
Sèrie Franges VII. 2007. Pintura sobre paper. 100x70 cm.
Jordi Maragall leaves us a wide, diverse and personal legacy. A frank work on an inner journey that retraces the signals experienced through perceptions, looks, memories, feelings and experiences. A work born from the most intimate experiences in search of maximum independence.
As a person and artist I would highlight some qualities that he transmitted to me in a very forceful way: sincerity, freedom and passion. Sincerity for his positioning, freedom because he never followed any trend, disregarding fashions, and passion for his compulsive act with tireless and constant work. A task done day by day; persistent and tenacious; an inexhaustible worker for whom art and life were one and the same. His determined character led him to be decisive in his convictions. We have lost a friend and a great artist. Jordi you will always be in our memory!