The virtual exhibition INCANDESCENT MEMORIES from the artist Josep Serra i Tarragón (Tarragona, 1970) is inaugurated today. This collection is part of the project ‘Art & Fire’ from the Pau Costa Foundation, a project with the aim to disseminate art on forest fires started four years ago.
The collection is composed by 95 drawings inspired on ‘[…] my first perceptions, my drawings and the Horta de Sant Joan Fire in 2009 […]’ as he mentions in his biography. From today, we will show a drawing of the collection every day through our new media channels on Twitter, and once a week on Facebook. A part of the collection will also be exhibited during the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit and the International Congress on Prescribed Fires taking place between the 31st of January and the 3rd of February of 2017 in Barcelona.
Josep Serra i Tarragón – Tarragona (1970)
I was born 46 years ago in a land where summer fires were perceived as a tragic and intriguing phenomena.
During those years (80-90), my retina was impregnated with yellow-orange, blue lights at dusk, distant spots and convective plumes of smoke filling the skies of the summer time.
Aircrafts loading at the port, the smell of burning wood, acoustic warnings for retardant dropping and men fighting the flames, all those things had an impact to me as a child and teenager.
At that time, I already used drawing as my artistic expression. I saw the world and its morphology in terms of colors, shades, patterns, spectra, perspectives, iterations, etc. rather than a logical and coherent system.
Later, as a doctor from the outside, and artist from the inside, I used mainly charcoal drawing to express my need for communication.
No one could have guessed that the dirt of charcoal in the drawing blocks would end up connected to the origin: The fire.
It was the documentary “The Great Silence”, broadcasted on the Catalan TV in 2015, that ignited the latent fuel hidden somewhere in my brain. The awe-inspiring stories told by the same firefighters from the Horta de Sant Joan Fire in 2009 that became the starting point of a growing interest on the dynamics of forest fires that I saw summer after summer as a child.
Although I had already drawn on this subject, my fascination on forest fires accelerated exponentially when I met some of the protagonists of the documentary: Marc Castellnou, Oriol Vilalta and Pepe Pallàs.
The number of artistic creations increased when I discovered that Pau Costa Foundation has an Art Fund (Art & Fire Project). At that moment, I had the strange feeling that this project was waiting for me since its inception.
My obsession with the magical and ancestral look of fires at night was evident from the colors used to illustrate fires, but also from the latest illustrations intending to communicate that there is more beyond the sadness of a burned forest. Apart from the formal beauty I perceived, the intention always was, and it remains, to show the vital continuity of our ecosystems naturally disturbed by the fire regimes.
Surely, without this prodigious encounter between my first perceptions, my drawings and the Horta de Sant Joan Fire in 2009, these creative combustion of products would had never emerged.
Cambrils, 6 Octubre 2016