Series of debates co-ordinated by Enric Berenguer and Francesc Puntí

Tuesdays January 25, February 22, March 29,and May 31 at 7.30 pm

These days, art brings together a whole series of debates and practices which go far beyond their most immediate reality. Philosophers, thinkers, therapists and scholars dedicate themselves to it, questioning how it relates to what is said about it and what is done with it. Such a relationship is debatable, but that's exactly what it is about: a needed conversation, and everything it produces.

The starting point for the debates in the Simptomart series is art in its condition of a symptom, in the Freudian sense of the word: not as the illness itself, nor as its manifestation, but as both its interpretation and treatment at the same time. As a symptom, art interprets and treats something in a way which is the specific response of one person to a point of impossibility. But this is a response which is not trying to solve anything; and paradoxically, being an answer, it is already a form of treatment.


Gala, sublime invention

Now that the Dalí year is over, we shall talk about his most sublime invention, Gala. But, weren't we talking about symptoms? Undoubtedly there are few symptoms that are more consistent, and therefore more useful, than those which are made flesh in a loving partner. We shall examine how it is that one subject's universe can depend on something occupying that space of The Woman (with capitals). Let us suggest that around this elaborated, recreated signifier made flesh, the wide open anguished universe becomes ordered, inside the cosmos of a liveable meaning. Obviously, not just any woman would lend herself to the occupation of this limitless space. Gala had her own qualities, which Silvia Munt examines in her excellent film Elena Dimitrievna Diakonova: Gala.

To talk about all of this, we will be welcoming Silvia Munt herself, film and theatre director, actress and winner of the Catalan Film Writers' Guild Award for La plaça del diamant (1982), the best actress Goya for Alas de mariposa (1992), and the Premio Sant Jordi for La pasión turca (1995).

Víctor Català: escritura y feminidad

Víctor Català: writing and femininity.

"Caterina Albert i Paradís (L'Escala 1869-1966) published her works under the pseudonym of Víctor Català. The fact that she gave a masculine name has always been the cause of any number of interpretations.

Firstly, her contemporaries wondered who this exceptional writer could be, hiding behind this false name. When they found out, they were surprised to find that a woman was capable of writing such 'virile' works. Modern day feminist criticism has taken the use of this pen-name as a sign of resistance and self-vindication.

For the author herself, the birth of these novels was a complicated one, about which she had to take great care. Through her words, we will attempt to follow the trail of how Caterina Albert's writing is symptomatic of her relationship with femininity."

Neus Carbonell
Associate professor at the Centre Dona i Literatura at Barcelona University.

TUESDAY 29th of MARCH, 7:30 pm
Louis Ferdinand Céline: Journey to the Depths of Abjection

The session will focus on the figure of the French novelist and doctor Louis Ferdinand Céline (Courbevoie, France 1894-1961).

Céline managed to make himself an object of hatred for most of the world, while making profound modifications to the French language, contaminating it with his symptom, through the paradox of his purification enterprise. From Journey to the End of the Night, originally published in 1932, via his antisemitic pamphlets, right up to Rigodon, we shall be following Céline on his voyage of no return.

Taking part in the session will be poet and translator, Arnau Pons.

TUESDAY MAY 31th, 7:30 p.m.
Camarón: the last cantaor

The final film showing in this "SymptomArt" season focuses on the art of flamenco, and one of its best-known, most legendary performers. Camarón de la Isla (José Monje Cruz, Cádiz 1950 – Badalona, Barcelona 1992) combined tradition and modernity, secrecy and fame, el cante at its most sublime and at its darkest.

Let us suppose – as we have already done with Georges Bataille, Ferdinand Céline, Victor Català or Gala and Dalí – that one specific very unusual aspect of Camarón is brought into play both in his work and in his life. This is the symptomatic aspect which we shall be looking at.

Taking part in this session will be Enric Folch, lecturer in the History of Flamenco at Barcelona's Escuela Superior de Música, and Lluís Cabrera, founder of Barcelona's Musicians' Workshop.