Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001
Exhibition

Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001

Albert Ràfols-Casamada, 1953-2001

The exhibition Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001 assembled almost one hundred works by the artist, including drawings, collages, pictorial elements, sculptures, visual poems, literary works, and an extensive collection of documentary and graphic material that illustrated his active role in Barcelona’s cultural scene. The inclusion of minor or transversal works emphasised the importance of poetry, literature, and drawing in the work of Albert Ràfols-Casamada (Barcelona, 1923-2009).

As Victoria Combalía wrote in her text for the catalogue: “The painting of Albert Ràfols-Casamada can be situated within a vibrant abstraction with roots that draw on autochthonous sources and also on the history of twentieth painting itself, particularly Matisse and North American abstraction”. The tense equilibrium of his paintings can be interpreted as a personal and non-transferrable synthesis between classicism and modernity. His work contains echoes of Mediterranean noucentisme, the luminous experiments of Fauvism, Braque’s cubism, the constructivism of Torres García, the chromatic-spatial explorations of Rothko and Motherwell, and flirtations with the everyday references of Pop Art.

The exhibition was in line with one of the central tasks that the Museum had begun to promote at the time: the study of influential figures from the Catalan art scene in the second half of the twentieth century, in order construct a historical survey from a contemporary perspective.

This show presented a selection of almost a hundred works in various formats. Laid out in chronological order, it covered the work of Ràfols-Casamada from the mid fifties up to the present day: drawings, collages, pictorial objects, sculptures, visual poems and literary works, together with documentary and graphic material illustrating the artist’s active role in the cultural life of Barcelona. At the same time, the inclusion of work regarded in certain cases as transversal or minor seeked to reveal the importance of poetry, literature and drawing in his work.
Albert Ràfols-Casamada (Barcelona, 1923) has been involved with painting since his childhood, permeated by the spirit and the values of post-Noucentisme. After giving up the study of architecture, he commenced his artistic career in the early fifties, influenced by movements and poetics such as constructivism and abstraction, derived from Cézanne and Matisse and the experiments with light of the Fauves. His work has close links with the modern tradition, marked by a synthesis of the Fauve and expressionist figuration of the first avant-gardes; at the same time, in his configuration of a language of his own he also drew extensively on the informalist abstraction of post-World War II Europe — the so-called “second modernity”.

see more show less
dates
22 March 2001 – 20 May 2001
title
Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001
dates
22 March 2001 – 20 May 2001
title
Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001
artist
Albert Ràfols-Casamada
Barcelona
1923
Albert Ràfols-Casamada (Barcelona, 1923 – 2009) was one of Catalonia’s most important and multifaceted artists. He started drawing and painting under the guidance of his father, Albert Ràfols Cullerés, and dropped out of his architecture studies after a few years in order to concentrate on painting. He exhibited his work for the first time in 1946 in Barcelona with the group Els Vuit. A scholarship from the French government allowed him to move to Paris in 1950, and he remained there until 1954. On his return to Barcelona he soon began to hold regular exhibitions, and in 1961 he held his first show at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (1960-1963). Ràfols-Casamadas had a long career as a painter and writer and produced an extensive and highly regarded body of work. He was able to integrate the best of Henri Matisse and American abstract expressionism in an extremely coherent exploration of colour. Although he initially began painting figuratively, he gradually evolved towards a kind of abstraction based on the importance of colour and the use of geometric structures. In the late fifties and early sixties he began making collages and narrowing his chromatic range to an austere predominance of shades of white. In the eighties, at the peak of his creative maturity, he again began to use signs with a strong symbolic and aesthetic component and to highlight the importance of colour in his work. He began teaching art and design in 1962 at Elisava art school and later at EINA, an art school based on the pedagogy of the Bauhaus that he co-founded in 1967 along with a group of intellectuals, teachers and artists. He was the director of the school for seventeen years. Although his literary career began quite late in life (he published his first book of poems in 1976), he nonetheless produced work in several genres such as essay and poetry, and also illustrated several Catalan literary classics. In 2000, Proa published his complete works of poetry in a single volume: Signe d’aire: obra poètica (1939-1999).
read more
Albert Ràfols-Casamada. 1953-2001
1 artists