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Opinion

Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art

Seu de Palafrugell de la Fundació Vila Casas
Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art

On the occasion of the death of Antoni Vila Casas, we reproduce this article which is the prologue to the act to make him an adopted son of Palafrugell and which was read by Natàlia Chocarro Bosom, Art Advisor to the President - Fundació Vila Casas et al · bonart collaborator for more than a decade. The text was heard on Saturday 4 February 2023 in Palafrugell, in front of the Vila Casas foundation and accompanied by various authorities and artists. Antoni Vila Casas always had in mind the fact of providing coverage to the whole country and creating a network between the capital and the rest of Catalonia.

Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art Vila Casas amb el diploma que acredita ser fill adoptiu de la vila

January 1999. First work: Illes Medes , marble sculpture by Marcel Martí

Sitting in the waiting room of Casa Felip, overwhelmed by the beauty of the space and both nervous and excited, I wait for Mr. Vila Casas received me in his office. I have a job interview with him and an immense desire to get on board the young but ambitious Vila Casas Foundation. An institution created in 1986 but which since 1998 - a year before my interview - began to incorporate the areas of artistic and architectural heritage. From the serenity conveyed to me by the old chapel in Ausiàs Marc's apartment, taking advantage of the ecclesiastical atmosphere of the space, I pray to the god of fortune that once I enter his office, the angels will be happy to play my team

Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art Natàlia Chocarro a la dreta, amb el regidor de cultura de girona Quim Ayats, al centre, i l'artista Vicenç Viaplana

January 2023. Second work: series of drawings by Ràfols Casamada

While I contemplate Casamada's hypnotic drawing on paper, I receive an unexpected call with an assignment included. The plenary session of the Palafrugell Town Council has approved, by unanimity of all the political groups, making Mr. Vila Casas an Adoptive Son of the Town. Despite my more than obvious youth, being the Foundation worker with the most three years under my belt, I was asked to say a few words at this handover ceremony. A task that I sincerely accept as honored, but that I would like to understand polyphonic and choral. What you hear is my voice, but I aspire that these are words that also represent the dozens of workers that our beloved Vila Casas Foundation has had, has and will have in the future. Comrades who have made this ship sail the oceans of art and heritage for 25 years now with a DNA - or to continue with the sailor simile, with a well-defined log book: respect, solvency, rigor, professionalism and respect. An unbreakable love for art and those who make it possible, the artists.

July 2000. Third work: Menol River , oil painting on canvas by Jose Maria Guerrero Medino

After the fleeting adventure of Ca la Tona, in Pals, the Foundation opens that year in Torroella de Montgrí the Palau Solterra, its first tentacle - firm, solid and contemporary - in the Empordà. And to say Vila Casas, you know, is also to say Empordà. The status of adopted son of Palafrugell that Mr. Antoni Vila Casas receives today, speaks to us and also evokes the love and passion he feels for this land; landscapes, soft, bright and windy, which he continues to observe with dazed eyes and with the passion of the first shots. The weekends have been - they are! - a witness to his faithful romance with the Empordà. Mr. Antoni Vila Casas is not interested in traveling the world, but he is - and if I may use the term - military in Empordanessism . A perseverance that makes Pla's words good. "We people from Emporda", he wrote in El meu país , "we tend to look at this country of ours with so much affection, that we have always considered that one of the most sensible things that can be done is to come and settle there ". This is what Mr. Antoni Vila Casas has done. He and, of course, his Foundation.

February 2023. Fourth work. flying space (piece missing)

92 years old This is, today, his biological age. An age, with very Olympic resonances, which does not coincide, however, with that of his spirit, which is much more in line with the adolescent condition of someone who is an "adopted son". If Rusiñol had been born in the 21st century and was looking for a protagonist for his immortal work, you can be sure that the headline would be L'auca del senyor Antoni . Even today he still wants to do all the roles of the auca. Everyone!

He is, first of all, old school: a gentleman from Barcelona, both elegant and discreet; a tireless, indefatigable worker, both generous and persistent; someone who attaches great importance to commitment, to forms, to tone. A man of his word with whom they can also sign, as they did with that messianic player, contracts on paper napkins without any fear. A flat, humble person, someone who knows what it means to step on the street and do it from day one. Someone who can talk to a workforce and a prime minister and do it with equal respect. A person with a vocation and absolute dedication to his - and also a little bit our - Foundation. Someone who, from the certainty of knowing what the money costs, invests and negotiates hard. A person from whom, 25 years later, I continue to learn every day.

September 2015. Fifth work. Faces of the soul, by Bigas Luna.

Tolerance and respect are other of Antoni's virtues. Respect for those who think differently; respect and tolerance towards the actions that others take to defend and make their arguments visible. Some ideas that, even if they don't share yet, allow them to be expressed. A good example of this was the example he gave to many of us that September, on the day of the opening of the Bigas Luna retrospective at Can Framis. With what philosophy did he attend the anti-system boycott.

2013. Sixth work, Tribute to Frida Khalo by Lita Cabellut.

To the ability to work I would like to add the ability to overcome that Mr. Antoni Vila Casas has always demonstrated. It is an example of struggle, constancy, perseverance. You will allow me a note of personal tone, but it comes very suddenly. Unfortunately we both had to go through difficult times, and we both found in the arms of the Foundation the warmth and harmony that our bodies needed. It was his turn to live in 2013; to me, in 2018. Living through complicated situations has not made him, however, lose his sense of humor. But ask the sculptor Joan Mora. I still remember that the day we visited him in his workshop, Mora told us that his family made tombstones. Mr. Vila Casas-, without hesitation, took the opportunity to request and leave his in charge. Because the work done does not disturb!

February 2023. The girls, by Agustí Puig.

When science thought of Diogenes to name a syndrome, it did not take into account that some accumulations could deviate slightly from the pathology they were describing. Antoni is, on his own merits, the great Catalan collector of contemporary art of the last two centuries. Said like this it may sound very excessive but, plain and simple, it is what it is. A collector who enjoys the act of collecting; a collector who is a parent of each and every piece: he can tell you what you want about all of them and he has an anecdote about all of them.

When it comes to acquiring parts, I confess, he hasn't always listened too much to us. But far from worrying me, what I feel is admiration because he has made his way by walking and has been able to ignore those who wanted to convince him to turn his project upside down. Ignoring and bullying, another of his passions. He is one of those who think that only intuition can give shape to such a personal project

A passion that, you can imagine, leads to a problem of space. Or, rather, spaces, but which, now, we have been able to solve.

Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art Agustí Puig en una exposició organitzada per la fundació Vila Casas

November 2018. Guardians, sculptural ensemble by Xavier Mascaró by Can Framis.

As you all know, Mr Antoni Vila Casa is the first defender of his Foundation. Never ceasing to be a gentleman, neither in substance nor in form, he is in a permanent state of vigilance. Be careful not to ask him too much about the invention of the Barcelona superilla . The impulse that generated the irruption of the project, however, he knew how to delegate it in sculptures that were warriors and guardians at the same time; some pieces by Xavier Mascaró that, above, he had the generosity to give to the city and that aim to protect the surroundings of Can Framis.

February 2023. Eighth work. Oil painting on canvas, Menol River, by Jose Maria Guerrero Medino.

So much activity, of course, has made Mr. Vila Casas collector begins, excuse the redundancy, to collect recognitions. Another variable of Diogenes that he accepts with humility and gratitude. Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, Sant Jordi Cross, Montblanc Award, CONCA Award, Gold Medal for Cultural Merit of Barcelona, Gold Medal of the Generalitat, Adopted Son of Palafrugell...

Of course, it is beginning to be urgent to find a new wall to be able to fit all the recognitions he has been getting.

i'm done I do it with one of the most recurring phrases of Mr. Vila Casas, a phrase that echoes throughout the Foundation: "I have a project in hand...". The mind of Mr. Vila Casas never stops, never stops thinking about projects, imagining new adventures, new milestones... But it has been these bursts of air that have made possible, for example, the itineraries of works of our background A way to grant an exhibition tour to artists and to bring art closer to as many people as possible.

In short, a burst of life, of excitement...

The workers of the Foundation know how and when he worries about the continuity of the project, the fact that his steps are not erased and that the Foundation continues for many more years. I would like to take advantage of my last words to tell him that those of us around him today would be delighted and honored to continue being part of the adventure that he was lucky enough to want to live 25 years ago. How delighted and honored we are, today, to be able to accompany him on such a special day.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Vila Casas And most of all, thanks for that!

Vila Casas, a cultural chronology of love for art Vila Casas amb els premiats i els editors de bonart durant els premis que el grup cultural organitza i que es van fer diverses vegades a la seu de la fundació barcelonina de l'entitat.

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