Tardor / Autumn

-in kind collaboration with Centre d'Art La Rectoria, Sant Pere de Vilamajor & Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura.

This series is a continuation of my previous work Memòria, based upon the poetry of Salvador Espriu. Espriu, born in Santa Coloma de Farners in 1913, was acknowledged as the great poet of post-civil war Spain. His literary opus soon became a symbol of the peaceful resistance and the hopes of post-war Catalonia. He had been the great hope of the short story in Catalan before the civil war, but after that event, he chose to go into an 'internal exile' in which he decided to contribute towards 'saving our words' so that for him it was necessary to start anew. 

 

Espriu turned to poetry because among other reasons it allowed him to elude the uncultured Spanish censorship of the time. His mission was to make his language sing and survive the years when Franco insisted that a unified Spain required a single tongue and forbade the use of other national languages – i.e. Catalan. His work is a long meditation on death and on the passing of the time that leads us to that end, in which the title of this series,Tardor (autumn) alludes to. 

 

In these pieces, I have painted over pages torn from a Catalan-Castellano dictionary, using a mix of gesso and acrylic paint. On the surface, excerpts of Espriu’s poetry are scribbled in graphite. There are various words from the dictionary entries I deliberately chose not to obscure– whether it be a word taken directly from the excerpt or words left unconcealed that connote a certain feeling expressed in his lyrics.

 

These pieces have layered meaning. In the most literal sense, they are a celebration of words, the survival of the Catalan language after years of censorship and repression. However, they are also deliberately ambiguous, offering subtle suggestion, hinting at death, the passing of time, and exploring themes of loneliness, longing and more explicitly, desire.

© Cynthia Grow 2019

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