Colectivo GòticSur was created by Montserrat Clausells and Manolo García. They are both painters from Barcelona; García is also a musician and poet. In a studio situated in the city’s historic centre, the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarters), surrounded by churches and cathedrals, and five minutes away from the sea, the two creative minds have invested time, freedom and reflective hours towards an unusual experience: a pictorial fusion within one shared territory.
A four-hand piece of art entails both creators’ deliberate, conscious decision, to put oneself at each other’s service. A service not understood as a limitation but, on the contrary, as the ultimate practice of creative freedom, for the new creative space involves a new beginning. When two visual artists capture their desires and inspiration on a canvas, aware that the other one can modify and transgress what one has previously produced, a new artistic space inevitably takes place and, with it, new creative horizons. This exercise of detachment, of des-individualization, is an act of freedom for one’s self, and thus from the world. Therefore, the artists liberate themselves from the labels acquired from other’s expectations, as well as from those that they enforce upon themselves.
An artist’s regular audience hardly expects a transgression of this sort. But great artists have been capable of overcoming their “stage fright” every time that they have taken new stylistic paths, every time that they have encountered new practices—Montse, Manolo and myself recalled the memory of Picasso and Braque united in their creative excitement over sticking up a newspaper cut-out on a canvas, and their discovery of the collage.
This collection offers an unhurried, slow-paced journey through the trails of dreams and imagination, a journey that ascends until disappearing from the very maps, from the delimited space. It is an attempt to make possible the impossible, a series of more than 15 pieces produced jointly, side by side with other individual works. Perhaps the candles that the two artists lit at Basilica of Santa Mar for Luke the Evangelist, patron saint of painters, public notaries, doctors and brewers had something to do with the creation of the collection…?
Leaving rituals aside, this collaboration also gives cause for remembering Catalan poet Joan Brossa’s words describing his meetings with painter Joan Ponç: ‘I was friends with Joan Ponç. We saw each other daily and Joan often painted what I had written hours before: there was mutual understanding. The collaboration of painters and poets only makes sense between people with the same voltage who act independently and coincide not in the cooking, but in the fire’s flame.’*
In the present case, we witness the first collaboration of two artists with very different styles, which, nonetheless, reveal themselves as complementary. The nearly spatial abstraction of Montse Clausells’ vacuums is filled with Manolo García’s figurative fantastical world. At the same time, the boundaries between the two blur, resulting, occasionally, in the artists imitating each other, generating the new artistic space mentioned above, a brand new and poetic creative harmony. It is that “out-of-the-way harmony” —or squint, depending on how you look at it...—, as painter Cavaradossi puts it at the beginning of Puccini’s Tosca, that hides behind the ‘different beauties’ in which ‘art, in its mystery, fuses the two beauties and confuses them...’
MERCEDES CONDE PONS
Art historicist and musicologist
Director at “Revista Musical Catalana”, published by Fundación Orfeó Català–Palau de la Música Catalana
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