A poet, playwright and visual artist, Joan Brossa (1919–1998) produced an extensive body of work. In the 1940s he met the poet J.V. Foix, who would become one of his literary references, the philosopher Arnau Puig, and the artists Modest Cuixart, Joan Ponç, Antoni Tàpies and Joan-Josep Tharrats. Together they founded Dau al Set (1948), an avant-garde group and magazine to which Brossa contributed Surrealist texts consisting of dreamlike and hypnagogic images close to psychic automatism. It was the beginning of a significant literary oeuvre that used language as a means of experimentation and led the author to embrace visual poetry, dramaturgy, sculpture and performance.
The main elements of his poetry, such as irony, association, decontextualisation and the refusal to differentiate between the word and the object, formed the basis for his creation of objects. Although he had already produced a couple of three-dimensional objects during his Surrealist beginnings, it was not until 1967 that Brossa dedicated himself fully to the world of objects, thus freeing himself forever from all linguistic restraints. The eighties and nineties were very fertile in terms of his visual production, thanks to the wide variety of concerns he had been accumulating during his poetic career: the search for everyday magic, social denunciation and transgression. In his later years, Brossa’s work was widely acknowledged with translations of his written work, exhibitions of his visual production and awards. He was finally seen as one of the key figures of the Catalan avant-garde.
Besides his literary production, Brossa’s visual work was the subject of numerous exhibitions at major institutions such as the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1986; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1991; Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, 1994; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia, 1997; and Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 2001, among others. International exhibitions include representations at Art’20, Basel, 1989; São Paulo Biennial, 1994; Venice Biennale, 1997; and solo exhibitions in Munich, 1988; New York, 1989; Céret-Colliure, 1990; Houston, 1990, London, 1992; Marseille, 1993; Malmö, 1993; Paris, 1995; Kassel, 1998; and Mexico City and Monterrey, 1998, among others.