Sèrie: "SOS: senyals de fum des d'un subsòl", 2018

S.O.S. Smoke Signals from Underground, 2018
Drawing, 40 drawings: 25 x 36.8 cm each

SOS: senyals de fum des d’un subsòl is a series that began in 2005 and grew over the years to include the daily drawings made during the lockdown imposed by the pandemic in 2020. The drawings in the MACBA Collection date from 2018. Conceived as pages of a book, they are the result of the daily practice of drawing, a way of using it to record thoughts, write one’s feelings or as a visual calendar to combat the transience of time.

They feature faces, bodies, body parts and sexual allusions, but also elements and objects in clearly narrative scenes. In their variety and also in their deep unity, they condense the artist’s view of life and art, both tragic and comic at the same time, often erotic, and with more or less explicit references to some of the artists who have influenced Llena, such as Tàpies, Miró, Goya, Balthus, Paolo Morandi, Philip Guston or Lucio Fontana. Placed side by side, they establish relationships and set up sequences in which the white areas are as important as the narrative elements. It is a large mosaic that functions as a vital witness or as a calligraphy of thought.

‘SOS: senyals de fum des d’un subsòl is a warning call. A smoke signal in search of complicity.

Paul Valéry wrote this note in his Cahiers/Notebooks: “I write these notes the way musical scales are made – the way we walk every day at a certain time. And I write them, not to make a work or a system with them, but as if I had to live forever fulfilling a stationary function – just as a spider spins its web, without tomorrow or yesterday.” I draw the same way.

I sort my drawings by month and arrange them like the pages of a book. There are currently several thousand. Thanks to this excess, each one erases the memory of the previous one. (...)

Cobwebs are barely perceptible. They are nets that trap insects to feed spiders. My drawings want to feed emotions. They age with time like wine in wineskins. They want to be drunk by those who feel nostalgia for pictorial writing.

These drawings are method. Utopian hope.’ Antoni Llena, 2017

Technical details

Original title:
Sèrie: "SOS: senyals de fum des d'un subsòl"
Registration number:
Llena, Antoni
Date created:
Date acquired:
On display
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Mixed media on paper
40 drawings: 25 x 36.8 cm each (height x width)
Meier Building, Level 1
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to Agrolimen
© Antoni Llena, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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