Gasull’s photographic legacy is coming to the Museum

Gasull’s photographic legacy is coming to the Museum


Two very different photographers, linked by time

Photographs by two creators who have the gift to immediately perceive the depth that we, caught up in our daily affairs, are unable to observe. That is an ability only the most creative photographers have –to find artistic content in any situation, even the most unforeseen situations. In their works, Martí Gasull Coral and Martí Gasull Avellán also show us how art has changed over time, from one generation to the next. From the years preceding the Civil War, when avant guard artists were hopeful that art and the world were about to evolve, to the problematic modernity that was shaped amidst the social and artistic difficulties caused by the dictatorship and subsequent democratic recovery. It is worth remembering that, when taking a picture, photographers stop time itself, in an even more evident way that in any other art form.

What exactly do photography creators achieve with their work, which may seem easy but is in fact far from it? They unveil to us, unexpectedly, that which we thought we already knew. Photography emphasises a fact that is not always as recognisable in paintings or sculptures: the fact that the photograph uses reality to shape a different one, even if it may appear to be the same one. Works of art, in every form, are new events that open doors to unknown spaces.

What have Gasull father and Gasull son got in common? In my opinion, they both base their work on the world we deem as real, which is their starting point. But while the works of the one revolve around the city, its spaces, its inhabitants and its objects, the works of the other focus on portraits instead. Gasull Coral, inspired by the avant guard photographers that brought about a fresh new outlook on photography, sought the plays of light and shadows in streets, open spaces under autumn skies or the smoke of a locomotive, catching the simplest of realities by surprise: a specific angle of a house, a street lamp, modest settings or children looking at the camera. Beings, things, situations which, unexpectedly, turn into something else in the mind of the observer.

Martí Gasull Avellán's portraits weren't taken in particularly different places, nor do they correspond to characters from any field. He specifically portrayed painters, sculptors and other plastic artists, poets and politicians. Because of the fact that these are well-known characters, they initially feel more realistic. The photographer, nonetheless, found the way to add depth to the outlook on each character, adding the elements of surprise and creativity in the way he captured each subject's most characteristic and unique traits. These photographs are a sample of Catalan art covering a long period of time: from the first generation of the artistic renewal after the Civil War, such as painters Josep Guinovart and Joan Hernández Pijuan, to the next generations, such as Sergi Aguilar, Riera i Aragó or Madola. Alongside said painters and sculptors, there is the art historian Daniel Giralt-Miracle, musicians Xavier Benguerel and Mestres Quadreny, poets J. V. Foix and Joan Brossa, and foreign artists Kounelis and Christo.

This exhibition, which covers two very different periods, brings to light the contrasting marks that each historical period made in the collections of the artists, Martí Gasull Coral and Martí Gasull Avellán. It also emphasises, thanks to the quality of their works, the permanent quality of art and its value as a tool to discover the world, as well as ourselves.