Benet Rossell "Microcine" (detail), 1981

Although he originally studied law, economics and sociology, Benet Rossell soon took an interest in artistic activity and began to work in an array of disciplines, from drawing and signic writing, painting, and the occasional tapestry or ceramic piece, to action and performance, experimental and commercial film, poetry and theatre, among others. His approach to all these languages is highly personal, and his unconventional output includes optical objects, work with crops, drawings and interventions on film, dibuixos amanits (oiled drawings), affidavits, wordless comic strips, film scripts and dibutexts (drawing-texts), to name a few.

Penso amb la punta del pinzell

'Penso amb la punta del pinzell' (I Think with the Tip of the Brush) was conceived specifically for the Parallel Benet Rossell exhibition. It presents the actual depository of the artist's pictorial works, where all the paintings are packed and labelled with an inventory number, which, on a computer, provides access to all the information about the work except its image. This installation places the idea above the object, prevents the viewer from looking at the work and questions the role of painting in contemporary art, as well as the role of the museum as an institution in the presentation of art.

Cérémonials

Between 1969 and 1973, Catalan artists based in Paris held a series of celebrations and collective happenings known as 'Cérémonials'. Miralda, Joan Rabascall, Jaume Xifra, Benet Rossell and Dorothée Selz organised collective artistic actions with a significant involvement of the public in various places in France and Germany. With a powerful visual force – the chromatic element was fundamental – and coloured food, music, itineraries and ritualised movements, these ‘ceremonials’ were seen as a metaphor for the need for social change that existed at that time.

Off rideau i Societat d'apuntadors (Off Rideau and Society of Prompters)

‘closer to signic representation than text. I came into contact with languages whose codes I was wholly unfamiliar with, languages without codes for me. I found them fascinating, and they were quite possibly the origin of the language that I have cultivated throughout my artistic trajectory, which comes from a multiplicity of signs, icons, micrographies, calligrams or benigrams without a code, unrepeated and unrepeatable, that coexist, articulate and manifest themselves in a manner that is always unique, always reinvented, and that in the end form a micro-theatre or calligraphic representation of the great micro-theatre of the world…'

Parel·lel, paral·lel

'Paral·lel, paral·lel' (Parallel, parallel) revolves around the old cabaret theatre El Molino, on the Barcelona street Paral·lel, though the broader concerns of the project are the neighbourhood and the transformation that it has undergone since the 1950s. In addition to silk screens of the maps of the three cities where Benet Rossell has lived – maps on which the route from his home to El Molino is highlighted – the work includes the cabaret theatre's original sets, which Rossell found in a dumpster while the theatre was being demolished.

Glaçons (Ice Cubes)

As part of the explorations of the city that are a constant in his work, Rossell's polyester resin cubes become transparent containers of objects and images. Initially, Benet Rossell carried them in the pockets of his coat and used them for his micro-performances.

Bio Dop

Benet Rossell and Joan Rabascall were part of the so-called ‘Paris Catalans’, a group of artists who immigrated to Paris in the late 1960s. They produced works in collaboration with Miralda and Jaume Xifra, such as the the collective happenings known as 'Cérémonials' and experimental films such as 'Bio Dop'. Made in Rossell’s studio, the work incorporates advertising images for a brand of hair styling cream and other materials collected by Rabascall. Using techniques such as collage and repetition, they deconstruct the narrative of commercials to reveal the frivolity, vacuity and falsehood of advertising.

Acta (Affidavit)

His work can be described as a poetics of fragility, imbued with irony and a critical spirit. His interest lies in the complexity of simplicity and all the things that get pushed to the edges of reality and language.

I believe an artwork should leave the viewer perplexed, make him reflect on the meaning of life
Antoni Tàpies