Sanfaina a la guillotine, 1991

'Samfaina' on the Guillotine, 1991
Object, 8 x 54.3 x 36.2 cm

Do you seek inspiration from objects for your object poems?

The objects I make derive from visual poetry. They represent a change of support. After using paper, printing, silkscreen, I wanted a change of material: objects that meant something by themselves. I see a lot of vacuous imitation in young people’s poetry. On the other hand, it is quite normal because, what can someone who has just started writing say? What baggage do they have? They’re just things they’ve read and stayed in their minds. And so we get books that are just books from books from books. They lack vibrancy and a sense of adventure. In a visual poem you risk everything because it has no past. You’re not protected by tradition. If the poet gets it wrong, the whole thing is a failure. The literary code acts as a safeguard; if you can write a technically accomplished sonnet, you’re safe, even if you have nothing to say, because you wear the dictionary as a life vest. I see in today’s literary poetry an excess of wigs and a lack of heads. It lacks that impact Miró wanted when he said: ‘For a work to make the brain function, first it must make an impact, like a punch. Paf!’ Carles Riba had already observed that words ‘get tired’. Therefore an authentic creator must try different languages, like when the avant-garde found abstract painting. Why should poets adopt a conservative, bland, lifeless stance? Why corner poetry? I have known more than one ‘poet’ who wouldn’t talk about airplanes and trains because there aren’t any in Greek literature. I call that abdicating. Because the best way to conquer tradition is to continue it, not to repeat it.

Gual, Antoni; Ruiz, Carles: ‘Joan Brossa: l’alternativa poètica’, Carrer dels arbres: trimestral de cultura. 2nd period, no. 1. (Summer 1986), pp. 14–23

Technical details

Original title:
Sanfaina a la guillotine
Registration number:
Brossa, Joan
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Fabric and ceramics on wood
8 x 54.3 x 36.2 cm (height x width x depth)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium. Joan Brossa Fund. Long-term loan of Fundació Joan Brossa
© Fundació Joan Brossa, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

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