fotos inauguracio expo amat 1624.09 – 30.12.2020

Exhibition by Frederic Amat
Curated Vicenç Altaió

Opening of the exhibition, Thursday 24th September at 8 pm
in ACVIC Centre d'Arts Contemporànies (Sant Francesc, 1 Vic)

Exhibition Obra Negra by Frederic Amat
27.11.2020 – 24.01.2021
a L’albergueria (carrer de l’Albergueria, 1 Vic)

Opening, Thursday 26th November at 7 pm

[+ info L'Albergueria exhibition]


For the first time we may see Frederic Amat’s books in one collection, a long illuminated itinerary that allows us to understand many of the core subjects he has encountered in his investigative travels through visual writing research and his elective affinity with other "poets", both his contemporaries and from all times, and from diverse cultures across the world.

The first evidence of this relationship is his cover drawing for J.V. Foix’s poem "We will all be in the Port with the Unknown", New Year's Eve 1973, which, in his eightieth year, the well-known poetry scholar and friend of the arts sent around to his friends. So, this poet of the first avant-garde generation, just as he had done before with Miró and Dalí, and as he later did with Tàpies and Ponç, offered to a young artist of twenty years of age the renovating space of philological culture and advanced aesthetics.

Later, it was Amat himself who invited Joan Brossa, of the second generation of the poetic avant-garde, an explorer of visual poetry, theatrical poetry and the paratheatrical arts, to collaborate in his first book, an exceptional magic box, "Book of Rain": silk screen prints form the scenic backdrop for the performances. 

Since then, his remarkable encounters and pairings with texts written by literary authors have been realised in publications which trace the artist’s intellectual biography. In fact, these publications pass on the baton from one observer of the world, a reader who has chosen those books which hold meaning for him, to an artist who distills what has been handed to him, in order to create afresh a visual writing that is also poetry and seed.

Although we should not differentiate between the larger and the smaller books in the collection, we have constructed "the cave" by mounting the larger-format artist's books on the walls, a body of original graphic work, accompanied by a parallel literary text as reference. On the tables, and of no lesser significance, we have placed covers and open pages from a number of artist's books, a compendium of the visual archive in book format that collects and commemorates para-artistic, proto-literary, cinematographic and theatrical experiences, and which represents a graphic exploration equivalent to his pursuit of the visual arts.

On the rear wall, dedicated to illustrated books that inspired Amat to do hundreds of drawings which evoke ancient writings and civilisations, we have put together a mosaic extracted from “The Thousand and One Nights”; and we close the exhibition with originals taken from Homer's “The Odyssey,” advancing into the modern world of publishing as literature does, backwards, to our classics. We have left out, due to lack of space, with a few exceptions, artworks for book covers or magazines from the commercial publishing system.

Amat, with the same freedom as he displays in his art, ranging from drawing and collage to painted celluloid and deliberately distressed earthenware, and from drawing on paper to drawing in theatrical space, makes use of all the techniques of image reproduction: from classic acid etchings and wood engravings to screen printing in solid colours, industrial offset, photocopying or digital printing. The books of Frederic Amat, who has always been a unique connoisseur of the most important achievements and collaborations between artists and poets and publishers of art books, are the works of one who has made a thorough exploration of poetic visual impact. In addition, since the beginning of the 21st century, with the contributions of his partner Estela Robles, Frederic Amat’s books have shown a huge advance in those features, the innovative and traditional, artisanal and industrial aspects of graphic design, which both these creators in the worlds of books and artists’ books bring to the table.

There is an indecipherable writing in the universe that science translates into signs, formulas, images, and systems. In the same way, humans have established a technical, practical and highly efficient communicative linguistic code that transcends the semantic orality of air, crowded with an infinity of syllabic nuances; writing that, once it loses its rôle of functional immediacy, is reborn, thanks to art, as writing perceptible to the eye and to the mind. This is what Amat does: he rebirths writing.

Combination and rhythm, colouration, spatial distribution, prolongation of the gesture, action, temporal circumstance and location are steps in the dynamic construction of the verbal and corporal language, as much as they are in the fixed nature of visual writing. A form of writing that, personalised by the lyrical self, in this case by Frederic Amat, experiments with this and that, in a breaking of codes and limits to gain another unparalleled, subjective and universal expression, and so return to the founding origin of the language as its infinite projection. It is at this point where a kind of art and poetry come together with a majestic stimulus of freedom. This is when, starting from point zero, laden with all scriptures (of civilizations and languages, of memory and breakdowns), art becomes poetry in itself. This is the highest contribution that Frederic Amat makes, as evidenced in this exhibition: to go beyond the interpretation of others’ written works, to the re-founding action of visual writing.

Poetry, considered as a halfway house between formal and experimental textuality, as well as a vocation for life, is at the heart of Amat’s art. An art that drinks from the evocative impulse of the poem when it has been detached from its content to be written anew in another experience and life. The art of Amat's books, then, does not illustrate, does not depict, nor does it deconstruct, but establishes what belongs to poetry: the search for linguistic essence. So everyone, all by themselves - Amat too - is a civilisation and a culture. Other artists bearing the same hallmark have also sought the same as Amat; J. V. Foix and Octavio Paz; Lorca and Joan Brossa and Arrabal; Juan Benet, Cabrera Infante and Joan Goytisolo; John Cage, Bob Wilson; Ferlinguetti and Mark Strand; Brines, Altaió and Argullol... and so on.

From the beginning, from the point to the line and the word in the gesture, and the phrase as a space of spaces on the plane. Everything is rhythm and accent, pause and sudden apparition. History is born between the mark and the silence. The place where the action is performed is the time of writing and the place where its dynamism is perpetuated is in the space of the book, its cave and architecture.

Vicenç Altaió

Frederic Amat 
(Barcelona, ​​1952). Frederic Amat's works defy categorisation, and have been exhibited and published throughout the world. His open conception of painting has led him to integrate a multiplicity of artistic languages ​​into his creative work.

He has designed sets for dance and theatre based on texts by García Lorca, Beckett, Juan Goytisolo, Koltès and Octavio Paz, among many others. He also created and supervised work on stages for Stravinsky/Cocteau’s Oedipus Rex oratorios, Caldara’s Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo, Falla's El Sombrero de Tres Picos, and for Sánchez Verdú's opera El viaje a Simorgh. He has also illustrated various literary works such as The Thousand and One NightsThe Odyssey and Seven Days by Mark Strand, with Bob Wilson.

In his interventions in architectural spaces, he has undertaken projects that combine painting, sculpture and ceramics: El mural de les ollesVillanurbsPluja de sang and Mur d’ulls, among others. In keeping with this wide-ranging career path, he has expanded his painting into the field of cinematography in films such as Journey to the Moon, Lorca's only film script, Foc al Càntir by Joan Brossa, El Aullido, with a script by Cabrera Infante, Danse Noire and Deu Dits ...

Vicenç Altaió (1954) poet, essayist, art critic, opinion writer, publisher, cultural agitator and trafficker in ideas. He was the driving force behind the magazines Tarotdequinze, Eczema, Arctic and Cave Canis. He was director of the KRTU (Culture, Research, Technology, Universals) and the Arts Santa Mònica (Arts, Science, Thought and Communication). He has curated numerous exhibitions on artistic, literary and scientific topics. He has recently published Miró i els poetes catalans. He played the role of Casanova in the film Història de la meva mort/History of My Death, by Albert Serra.

 Always alert to aesthetic oscillations and the contributions of critical and scientific thought, he has put together ovre the years a highly personal body of work. Among his books are the 10 volumes of the series "Traffic in Ideas" and poetry, collected in Massa fosca (Too Dark) (Poetry 1978-2004) and continued in Santa Follia de Ser Càntic i Radicals lliures. In Vicenç Altaió, els ulls fèrtils, Llibres amb artistes i un traficant d’idees (Vicenç Altaió, Fertile Eyes, Books with artists and a peddler in ideas) he collected together 27 artists’ books.


Photography: Historia Naturae, 2011. © Frederic Amat, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2020. Photography by Xavi Campmany



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