Art Universe Collection

Univers Art, collection of books from the Univers label, from Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana

Art Universe Collection

The world of culture is celebrating its birthday. Two years ago now, a new art collection was born, Univers Art, promoted by the Enciclopèdia Catalana group. Joan Ricart, editor of Univers Art, explains that the intention of the collection is to give voice to Catalan art and propose a canon. It is also intended that little-known Catalan artists reach people and that projects by living Catalan artists originate. In the medium term, the collection will want to give space to emerging artists, to make them known. Finally, his intention is that these volumes will also be translated.

The first two titles, much celebrated by the attentive public, were Primeres avantguardes, signed by the art historian Joan M. Minguet, and Miró and the Catalan poets, the work of the trafficker of ideas Vicenç Altaió. Both books were first a large-format volume intended for bibliophiles, published by the Enciclopèdia Art label. Now they are published adapted, in a more affordable format and with a price also within the reach of a wider audience. The first, by Minguet, offers a vision of Catalan painting from the avant-garde period, from 1906 to 1939, with a new reading, a look that questions and provides new criteria on the period and includes many artists who until now have not had been taken into account. The original book gathers one hundred and fifty works, and in this adaptation the choice has been reduced to one hundred. The second, by Altaió, is a work that the author has been developing and researching for thirty years. The book contains nine chapters, each dedicated to Miró's relationship with a Catalan poet, and takes the style of a report. The chosen poets span the entire 20th century: JV Foix, Salvat-Papasseit, Carner, Sindreu, Brossa, Perucho, Espriu, Martí and Pol i Gimferrer.

The collection continues with two more titles: Àlex Mitrani with a book entitled Segones avantguardes and the memoirs of Francesc Torres entitled La campana hermètica. Mitrani, for his part, is writing a book to discover the originality and diversity of avant-garde Catalan painting under Franco. Between 1940 and 1975, in Catalonia, art and modern aesthetic positions became an act of resistance characterized by originality, freedom and experimentation. Expressionist or primitive figuration, the different formulations of abstract art, the impact of pop culture or the expansion of painting towards new materials are the main declinations of a stage that witnessed the maturity of the great names - Miró, Dalí and Tàpies - but also from the push of a flock of up to eighty artists - Guinovart, Mari Chordà, Hernández Pijuan, Esther Boix, Brotat... - that a large team of specialists led by Mitrani show and analyze in this book. Regarding La campana hermètica, Francesc Torres, taking as his starting point an autobiographical piece exhibited at the MACBA, looks back and gives us lucid, substantial, sharp and honest memories that intertwine personal biography with the evolution of art and universal history. Pioneer of video art and with exhibitions around the world (Whitney Museum, MoMA, International Center of Photography, Nationalgalerie, Russian Museum...), Torres has been a protagonist and privileged witness of the evolution of contemporary art and of major events such as May 1968 or the 9/11 attacks in New York, where he has lived most of his life.

Univers also publishes Gaudí vs. Design, curated by Juan José Lahuerta, a refreshing vision of Antoni Gaudí and his way of conceiving and executing the creation process. With sharp and well-documented insight, Lahuerta starts his speech from the artist's workshop to unravel and explain the creative method of the Catalan architect. While analyzing the most emblematic - the first works, the large commissions of Eusebi Güell, the bourgeois houses of the Eixample and the Sagrada Família - and with constant allusions to the history of art - from Bellini to Duchamp -, the author identifies the Catalan architect's inspiring references and lists his most characteristic creative resources: coupling, collage, juxtaposition...

David Armengol, in Emerging Art: The Harvest and the Journey, proposes an unprecedented history of emerging art and the new generations of artists born between the eighties and the nineties. No essay has yet been published to write its history. This book is a particular review of emerging Catalan art, all based on a reading of the artistic context narrated through the movements (journeys) and stays in the territory (harvests) of the artists who start and seek consolidate their trajectories from Catalonia. The publication unfolds in two complementary parts. On the one hand, an analysis of the emerging arts ecosystem in Catalonia: calls for proposals, art centers, galleries, etc. And on the other, a sum of leading voices, a list of artists who, from different disciplines, support an existing typology of art.

Finally, a new book published by Univers is Cent dues artistes, by Elina Morandi, the first essay that comprehensively reviews the activity of women artists in Catalonia from the 19th century to the present day and reproduces it, with great format and superb print quality, the most outstanding works. Incorporating the entire field of visual arts, the essay elaborates a genealogy of female creative experience and shows more than a hundred works produced in very different contexts, but with the link of coherence of having been conceived and realized by women. A large team of art specialists has selected the works and written the articles reviewing the life and work of the one hundred and two artists, many of whom are little or not at all known.

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