Joan-Pere Viladecans: "The cartel is a scream"

From Picasso to Duchamp, through Magritte, Braque, Dalí, Miró, Malévich or Chagall, the great artists of the 20th century have left their mark on posters designed to advertise cultural events or to set out in a quick and spontaneous message their commitment to certain social movements.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 22:58
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Joan-Pere Viladecans: "The cartel is a scream"

From Picasso to Duchamp, through Magritte, Braque, Dalí, Miró, Malévich or Chagall, the great artists of the 20th century have left their mark on posters designed to advertise cultural events or to set out in a quick and spontaneous message their commitment to certain social movements. . The opportunity came to Joan-Pere Viladecans (Barcelona, ​​1948) as a result of his first exhibition, in 1969, when, betting on the talent of the young painter, he was commissioned to create the poster for Pere's film Portablella Nocturn 29. It was the first of a colossal production that today already totals around 150 works that have served, he says, as a “stimulus” for creation and that, placed side by side, make up a kind of artistic and vital biography in which both his personal language come together. plastic as well as their ideas and their social and emotional involvement in collective experiences.

“Deep down, the poster is a cry, a blow to attract attention, to serve. And that's what I like the most. When you are alone in the studio, many doubts come to your consciousness about whether what you do is useful or not, if what we do serves a purpose. We know the answer. Yes, it works, or in any case it works for us. But this is different. "I look around me and I truly believe that I have been useful, that I have been able to provide a modest service to the people around me," says Viladecans in one of the rooms of the Museu d'Història de Catalunya where this Wednesday Viladecans Cartells opens, a of the most “special” exhibitions of his long career.

“It impresses me more than if it were a great anthology of plastic work,” he confesses, “because here, in each poster, there is a social, civic, sentimental implication, which begins and ends in the same poster, but in the next one it returns. to be activated with something else." The exhibition is curated by the writer and literary critic Julià Guillamón, who in addition to works for films (El somni català, by Josep Maria Forn...), theatrical works (Nocturn per a acordió, by Dagoll Dagom, El gat negre, by Strindberg...) and events such as the Terrassa Blus Festival, the April Fair, the Catalan Culture Congress or the Passió d'Olesa (his most recent work, a reinterpretation of which made 37 years ago), has put together the posters that have accompanied his exhibitions, book covers (the Poesia de Llibres del Mall series) and newspaper and magazine covers.

Guillamon accompanies the tour with the words with which great figures celebrated the appearance of the young painter in the seventies. This is the case of Raimon: “Viladecans, like all those who have half a brain in the Catalan Countries, urgently poses to us the problem of identity from the individual that he is to the human group where he was born. That's why he finds the words on the wall.” Or the most unexpected of Antonio Gala: “He has chosen (who really chooses?) to reach abstraction through minute realities; to reach serenity through ardor.”

“The posters have been an enormous stimulus for me because you have to serve an idea that is imposed on you and that enriches you, it leads you to study the topics in depth, although sometimes you almost collapse,” he jokes. He has also allowed him to go out on the streets with serial editions that have become prized collector's items. Some have been witnesses of censored exhibitions, such as the one he devised for the Municipal Museum of Mataró, where he arranged packages of tiles that the public stepped on when entering the space, smearing a mouth painted in the center with their footprints. Others, like the one about Amnestia, Drets Humans i Art that he made for the Fundació Miró in 1976, cost the workers who beat them in the street an arrest.