Flash bursts, 70’s. The contribution of the artists to the art fund of the Avui newspaper

Dates: From February 25, 2023 to January 28, 2024

Opening: Saturday March 11, at 12 noon

Curated by: Elina Norandi

Production: Girona Museum of Art

The x-ray of an instant, in feminine

When the first issue of the AVUI newspaper came to light, on Sant Jordi’s day in 1976, the newspaper’s art collection already had many works of art, close to 600, that the artists had given as direct support to the publishing project of the newspaper. first newspaper in Catalan after the Franco dictatorship. The edition of the newspaper had brought together a large part of Catalan society and many intellectuals, writers and artists of the moment.

Among the artists, the list of women was high and outstanding: almost a hundred names that allowed us to have a vision of the moment, as if it were an X-ray of an instant. Many artists gave their works with their political convictions, but the application also represented an important opportunity to gain visibility in an artistic field that was still not very favorable to the intervention of women, and the possibility of being part of a collection that, already I knew it would be very important. Thus, the collection has one hundred and six works signed by women, many of them are essential names in Catalan art, and others are still pending study and recognition.

The exhibition presents a selection of 51 works by the most important Catalan artists of the moment and is a new opportunity to list names and trajectories that today we know are poorly represented and little visible in the halls of the art museums of Catalonia. The relevance of the exhibition also lies in the fact that all the works were made and given at a very specific moment, and allows a first reading of what was the paradigm of art in Catalonia produced by female artists: we can see a great diversity of styles – from more classical figurative proposals to abstract proposals and even the first conceptual options – and above all the variety of techniques – painting on canvas, wood, sculpture, illustration… – among which ceramic productions, enamel or tapestry stand out.

We can see the work of:

Roser Agell · Carme Aguadé · Antònia Aguiló · Angelina Alòs · Aurora Altisent · Susina Amat · Rosa Amorós · M. Rosa Andrés · Lola Anglada · M. Dolors Balanyà · Pilarín Bayés · Maria Bofill · Esther Boix · Magda Bolumar · Roser Capdevila · Engracia Casas · Maria Cirici Pellicer · Colita · Claude Collet · Carme Coma · Rosa Farré · Sefa Ferré · Pilar Font · Carme Garcés · Aurora Gassó Maria Girona · Eulàlia Grau · Chon Hernández Cros · Conxa Ibáñez · Núria Llimona · Carme Llobet · Madola · Montserrat Mainar · Isabel Mas · Fina Miralles · Mercè Morey · Esther Palomer · Pilar Perdices · Maria Assumpció Raventós · Amèlia Riera · Maria Teresa Roca · Elisenda Sala · M. Teresa Sanromà · Isabel Serrahima · Rosa Siré · Conxita Sisquella · Anita Solà d’ Imbert · Montserrat Torras Sans · Maria José Vela · Alejandra Vidal · Emília Xargay

Although they are not all that gave work and are currently listed in the collection, there are those that continued to be active beyond the 1970s and that developed a professional career that we want to highlight today. The selection is limited to the works made in the 1970s and which were given in the first call for support for the newspaper. Later, in the 1990s, a second call was made to grow the Avui art fund, but then the participation of women artists was less. These works and artists will be the subject of a second exhibition that will take place in 2024 as a continuation of the one now being presented. Both exhibitions will have a single catalog with texts by Elina Norandi and cataloging of all the works.

The project of the Girona Museum of Art complements and adds to the work that the Network of Art Museums of Catalonia is promoting in this sense for the recovery of women artists and for the compilation of their testimony, a project also entrusted to Elina Norandi . In this line, the program of activities that will be carried out throughout the year 2023 reduced from the Girona exhibition will delve into proposals that give a voice and presence to a large part of the authors who are still active today.

The Art Fund of the AVUI newspaper

In 2011, and after the bankruptcy of the company Prensa Catalana S.A, publisher of the newspaper, the Generalitat de Catalunya made a commitment to acquire the 604 works that then constituted the newspaper’s art collection. With the acquisition, the disintegration of a historically and artistically significant collection was avoided, as well as a possible export of works outside of Catalonia.
The Fons was set up from the donation of a work by the artists in support of the publication of the first newspaper in Catalan, in the 1970s. The Avui newspaper, the first newspaper in Catalan after the Franco dictatorship, received the support of a large part of Catalan society and also of the artists who responded to a previous call from the newspaper itself to donate a work and help strengthen the company. When the first issue of the AVUI newspaper came out on April 23, 1976, the art fund already had a good number of works, exhibited in January 1976 at the Miró Foundation in Barcelona, with the suggestive title “A town becomes his diary.”

In the 1990s the funds were expanded with 69 new donations, under the artistic advice of Pilar Parcerisas. These new additions were exhibited together with a selection of the previous ones in a large exhibition at the CCCB in September 1994. The entire collection, since 1991, was deposited in the Vilabertran monastery, where they were exhibited in rotation until 2004. With the bankruptcy of the newspaper, the works were guarded in warehouses of the monastery, and finally they were acquired by the Generalitat de Catalunya. After its acquisition, the fund was divided into two large blocks. The first one was made up of the 24 original covers commissioned by the newspaper over twenty years from various Catalan artists. All this set was deposited in the Museum of the History of Catalonia, which that same year in 2011 dedicated an exhibition that related the originals with the published front pages of the newspaper and emphasized the most historical aspect of the newspaper. The rest of the works, the main bulk, were deposited at the Girona Art Museum, with the aim of reinforcing the collection with works of contemporary art.

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