imatgeGoula web br29.01.2021 – 25.04.2021
Exhibition by Montsita Rierola and Jordi Lafon, with the collaboration of several playful people.
Curated by Ana M. Palomo

Museu de l’Art de la Pell (C. Arquebisbe Alemany, 5. Vic)

Exhibition in the programme of activities to commemorate the ART AND SCHOOL programme’s 10th anniversary

Unexpected access to a hoard of game pieces and elements produced by the well-known wooden toy company Goula, headquartered in Vic from 1942-1996, catalysed an artistic project which included activities such as game-play, critical reflection, networking, exchange and participation in order to establish a variety of perspectives based on a common industrial and social legacy. Later on, the curiosity aroused by this topic led in parallel to a doctoral thesis entitled Goula: Art, Games and Memory, From an Industrial Adventure to an Artistic Experience by Montsita Rierola, which connects the historical case study of the Goula industry to the practice of art and play.

The two strands, the artistic and the historical, have come together in the materialisation of an exhibition, the direction of which differentiates details of research work and deploys a variety of methodologies in contemporary artistic practice to construct a new story that presents part of the memoir on the future of the Goula industry and reflects upon the various universal issues that concern us, such as politics, the environment, health, sustainability, education, gender, among others.

The importance of the project, as well as its thematic relationship to the the Art and School programme’s main theme for this year, which revolves around the subject of games, have led to the inclusion of the exhibition Goula. A Project about Art, Games and Memory, project in the programme of activities to commemorate the ART AND SCHOOL programme’s 10th anniversary. For this reason, ACVIC is collaborating in the organisation and management of the exhibition.

Goula; A Project of Art, Games and Memory is the result of a fascination. When some time ago, an abundant stock of miniatures, figures and educational games, emerging from the closure of the Goula factory, fascinated Jordi Lafon and Montsita Rierola, an interesting game constructed specifically on cultural values began. Suddenly, an uncontrollable succession of unravelled concepts and tasks was revealed, one which did not lead the artists to follow a flat path towards a precise destination, but which required a difficult and laborious journey of congruent concatenations. Like an avalanche of reality, which never contracts and which hides behind dilated time, that pile of leftover pieces from a random storage originated an energetic artistic motivation, based upon intuition, and markedly ludic and experimental. The discovery of large quantities of various shapes, colours and textures, lent them glimpses of the possibility of a daring artistic production, which would begin to leave definite imprints in 2006. Behind that intense creative stimulus, which would maintain its initial drive through to the present day, was appearing, like a shadow that followed it unfailingly, a proposal for an exciting and rigorous academic study that would emerge as a certainty in 2012, and that would gradually materialise ... And, in the middle of this intricate programme, the idea was slowly acquiring substance.

This huge project, more than ten years in the incubation, is a multidisciplinary exercise part of the way between archeology, anthropology and sociology, which considers the value of games in the context of art, memory and education. The name Goula, as a commercial brand, conjures up a collective imagination, and a tributary iconography through which to recover the company’s historic memory, to witness the political, social and cultural changes in an era, and to manifest the adaptation and evolution of the different elements of gaming in the ludic and educational fields. This summary of arguments suggests an isolation that is reflected in the project’s title, and especially in that of the subtitle of Montsita Rierola’s doctoral thesis which arises from that initial stimulus: Goula; Art, Games and Memory, From an Industrial Adventure to an Artistic Experience.

Early miniatures, plastic figurines, Urbis construction sets, figures expressly drawn from popular traditional characters such as Aladdin, Little Red Riding Hood or the Little Mouse who Swept the Doorstep (based on a Catalan children’s tale), added to the catalogue of bobblehead-style models, figures sold either as individual pieces or forming part of small thematic collections, the set of educational games, the visual document that grants an arrangement to the oral memory of the "manufacturers of illusions", the office records, the advertisements; such things comprise part of the legacy of the so-called, and well-named, "industrial adventure". In parallel to the arduous but very exciting research journey, the artists consolidated an artistic project that did not involve a reproduction of academic discourse, but which appropriated the processes of collation and classification characteristic of research methodology and wrapped it inside a game, embedded within the framework of art, which revealed it to be a generator of knowledge: an artistic experience.

The process of production in the field of art thus becomes a metaphor for the game because it is based on the imagination and the freedom to explore, to experiment and to interact with objects and reality, because it avoids any utilitarian pretension, and because it manages, in approaching the symbolic game, to separate the object from its significance. The ludo-linguistic drift encouraged by the controversial expression “art for art’s sake” and transformed for the occasion, if you will, into “the art of the game” or “the game of art”, serves as an ideal theoretical corpus for an artistic experience that empowers the linkage between beauty, aesthetics and critical sensibility, qualities intrinsic to works of art, with the will to encourage first of all a critical reflection on documentation and memory, secondly a re-examination of modes of processing themes, materials and ways of disseminating contemporary languages, and thirdly a possibility of reinforcing the presence of imagination and art in educational processes. Throughout the exhibition, from the private Lafon-Rierola production, or in the promotion of collective participation and collaboration, there is an express desire to elaborate upon the ludic dimension with respect to the creative model to be followed. In accordance with this premise, the artistic project exhibits spontaneity, intuition, transgression, which is intentionally implicit, and which affects the perception of the whole environment in the spirit of interpretation.

Finally, the game, at this point, needs the presence of a spectator, a trusting player who enters the ambush that the artists have laid for them, without showing any trace of fear for the consequences of their participation. The fascination must now continue, among all the lures implicit within the act of playing.

Ana M. Palomo
January 2021


The educational activities arising from the exhibition Goula; A Project of Art, Games and Memory are aimed at all sectors of the general public, covering the fields of both formal and non-formal education, reaching out to everyone. These form part of the activities on offer to celebrate the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Art and School programme, which this academic year 2020-21 focuses on the theme of Games.

Guided activity for school groups

Accompanied by a professional educator, there will be a participatory tour of the exhibition based upon games of observation and of making connections, essential actions in artistic education. Visitors are invited to participate actively in the experience by establishing interrelationships between the pieces of Goula toys and the various artistic approaches present in the exhibition, looking for connections between them. The content on display has been chosen with visitors’ needs in mind, to promote interdisciplinarity and to make use of pedagogical resources that encourage critical reflection, dialogue, listening, respect, observation, creativity, self-knowledge, plurality and coexistence.

Dates: mornings and afternoons from Tuesday to Friday, from February 2nd to April 23rd, 2021 (with advance booking).
Groups: Recommended for Early Childhood Education (P5), Primary, Secondary and Higher Education students.
Approximate duration: 60 minutes.
Observations: Taking into account the hygienic measures in force, the activity will be carried out in small groups and in accordance with regulations. ACVIC will offer a parallel activity to the exhibition, TRILOGY OF HIDDEN REALITY, by Isaki Lacuesta, in order to divide groups so that each may participate alternately in the two activities.

Undirected activity

A fun environment for families and anyone who wishes to play with some of the original Goula toys.

Dates: mornings and afternoons from Tuesday to Sunday, from January 29th to April 23th, 2021 (with advance booking).
Observations: Taking into account the hygienic measures in force, it will be necessary to carry out the activity with a limited number of participants at the same time.

Accompanied visits

Artists Montsita Rierola and Jordi Lafon invite visitors to share their exhibition in person, and to tell the story of how it came about.

Dates: Saturday, February 13th, March 13th and April 10th, 2021 at 12 noon. (with advance booking).

Training seminar for teachers

Online course and a walking tour outside the Centre. The main objective of the course is to present an artistic project articulated through games and play, accompanied by the artists, the exhibition’s curator, the professional educator, including a participatory, ludic outdoors activity led by an artist and walker.

Dates: Three 1-hour sessions on Tuesdays, March 9th, 16th and 23rd from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and one 3-hour session on Saturday, March 27th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
> link to + information

Location of activities: MAP, Museu d’Art de la Pell, C. Arquebisbe Alemany, 5. 08500 VIC. Except for the online training seminar for teachers, which includes a tour outdoors.

Registration: ACVIC. Centre d’Arts Contemporànies.
Tel +34 93 885 37 04 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sant Francesc 1. 08500 Vic.  
Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Price: free activities

espai construccio br*Image from Free play space

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