With visual poetry we go back to ideograms, which are the origin of writing. But visual poetry has followed a process in my work. I began to say things through language, which is very important, but it came a time when I adopted an anti-rhetoric formula, trying to focus on reality but with a minimum of adjectives, because I’m interested in the head, not the wig. This led me to a detailed description of the object, and that’s only one step away from visual poetry. It was not a gratuitous decision, it was an ongoing process: I went from paper as a support to the object as a support, and finally to the object itself. In any case, everything happened from the inside out. I’ve never set out to make puzzles; everything I do comes from intuitive knowledge.
But in the end, isn’t the shock produced by your visual poems or object poems sometimes close to the absurd?
I don’t think they’re absurd, no more than life in any case. Everything we’re saying is absurd; if you frame it, it’s absurd, but if you remove the frame, it’s life.
You’ve always been at the forefront of what is normally known as the avant-garde, since Dau al Set to the present. And yet you refuse to be called an avant-garde artist.
That’s because avant-garde sounds very military. [With irony, he explains further.] I don’t consider myself avant-garde, but of the moment. But, of course, so many people are rearguard that if you’re of the moment, then you’re avant-garde. That’s why the word irritates me. [He gives an example.] If someone else has a crystal set and yours is a transistor radio, you’re considered avant-garde, but being electronic simply means being up to date, doesn’t it?
Macià, Albert: ‘Joan Brossa’, Avui (Barcelona), 27 December 1989