Eight years after Los Angeles (Vienna Edicions, 2015), which traces the modern architecture of the rich people of this city - illustrated with oils by Joan Longas -, Ernest Farrés Junyent (Igualada, 1967) publishes a book that he himself assumes that he is at the antipodes of that one, the other side of the same coin: Franciscanisms (Stonberg), based on the life experience of Saint Francis of Assisi.
"I have not tried to write a new biography of Francis of Assisi, countless books have already been written about him, countless films have been filmed and even countless paintings have been painted about him. His life, however, served me to exemplify an alternative worldview to the prevailing model of life at the moment, which I would define in three words: a materialist, nihilistic and Cartesian society." To achieve this, he opposes "to this model of dominant society a totally subversive model" from about forty poems, 17 of which are simply titled Franciscanism and six more Parable, "to avoid starting to put different titles or numbers for reiterate the same, I opted for the solution that seemed cleaner to me".
The starting point of the book was the reading of the study that G.K. Chesterton dedicated to the saint and the subsequent reflection on how today "we live neither in the now nor in the yesterday, we live in the future, in a future turned into an abstraction that creates expectations that inevitably lead to frustration and unhappiness so common in our lives". From the radicalism of Saint Francis, he draws lessons for the modern world, "because we live in an apparently democratic, apparently free, apparently open world, and we are surely immersed in one of the most obscurantist periods and societies in history. In the Middle Ages, humans had a fairly clear position in the world through myths, legends, and symbolism. Then, the Renaissance supposes a change to a completely different society, but what we have gained on the one hand we have lost on the other". For Farrés "we are all completely remote-controlled, there is a society that works because we are all slaves, in one order or another. There have been characters like Francis, but also Gandhi or Jesus Christ, who proposed to strip themselves of the conventions of each moment and left a mark".
"Mircea Eliade - continues Farrés - said, almost a hundred years ago, that "there is no completely sincere human act that is not ridiculous, and he advocated that we imitate what is ridiculous because that is how we get closer to living sincerely and real. In contrast to this, what there is is the society of imposture made of conventions, appearances, prejudices, dogmas, falsehoods, which we all assume to live in society, a bit like the idea of the social contract in which we are all hypocrites and show our apparent life in order to live with each other. The moment a person breaks with all these conventions and shows himself to be truly sincere, society calls him ridiculous. Saint Francis of Assisi is a prime example of a human being who, around the year 1200, was born into a wealthy family, and because of his impulsiveness, his outlandish ideas, he decided to break with everything. Breaks with his father, breaks with society, sets everything in motion. He gets rid of everything he considers superfluous, everything he considers banal and useless, appearances, masks, conventions, to show himself to the world in his absolute, physical and figurative nakedness". According to the poet, "in the end what ends up remaining throughout history are the quixotic enterprises of people who broke with all the molds of their time and opted for a dramatic sincerity".
Even if it talks about a Catholic saint, it is not a religious book: "My vision is not religious, but I will not say that I take a secular or atheist approach, at all, I have tried to take a personal approach, simply". And it is still allowed to even put there, like a collage, a fragment of a poem by Charles Bukowski about the fire of the library in Los Angeles, so that "the poems also had a projection in the present", and also, he clearly found it "provocative".
And Ernest Farrés preaches by example and dispenses with everything that is superfluous? "Evolutionarily I am tending towards this year after year. Naturally, I will never make a Saint Francis or start everything to shoot, it is not my intention at this moment, to this day. But it is true that I have seen over the years that by detaching yourself, disappropriating many things, you can be happier and you can find your balance more easily. Now, I'm just like anyone else. We are in a consumer society. We are a number. We are all teleported and we are all being sent to the same cliff. Right now, I still haven't found a way to get rid of my cell phone, for example, although I have gotten rid of other things, even illusions. How many vain illusions have we given ourselves throughout life, that we will do this and that, and we want to get here and there. And it's legitimate, but there also comes a point where you say... then maybe it's not necessary."