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Poèmes objets

Poèmes objets, 1969-1989

Joan Brossa
  • Artist

Acknowledged as one of the great creators of visual poetry, Joan Brossa (1919-1998) was also a visual artist and the author of every manner of text written in Catalan.  This prolix artist was the creator of many object-poems, collages and graphic projects.  It was when he was at the front in the Republican army that he started to write his first poems, at the age of 17.  In 1940, after literary studies which enabled him to discover psychoanalysis through the work of Freud, he met J. V. Foix, a leading figure in the literary avant-garde, and, through him, Joan Miró and Joan Prats, one of the founders of the ADLAN.  Then came his first attempts at visual poetry and the foundation of two resistance magazines against Franco’s repressive regime, Algol, published in Catalan, and Dau al Set, created with Tapiès, Ponç, Cuixart, Tharrats, and Puig.  The first assemblages of disparate objects were dated1951; they fuelled a desire to transform everyday objects into nothing less than poems.  The first object-poem, an open umbrella in which a few shepherds and the infant Jesus in the manger were placed, was exhibited in 1956.  Brossa would produce “sequences” each made up of 20 to 30 units.  The worlds of magic and the spectacular informed his work which shattered the boundaries between different areas of expression.  In the latter half of the 1960s he collaborated on the writing of scripts.  The year 1969 saw the publication of Quaderns de poemes, the first public edition of Catalan visual poetry.  With Franco’s death in 1975, the Catalans retrieved certain rights, including that of speaking their language.  With this freedom, Brossa’s work was helped, and various public commissions ensued, including one in Barcelona:  the urban poem Barcino.  Since his first retrospective in 1986 at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona, Brossa’s work has been regularly exhibited in Europe.  Since his death, new retrospectives around the world have made the Catalan artist’s work well-known.

Nadine Labedade