Today we inaugurate the virtual exhibition INCANDESCENT MEMORIES of the artist and cartoonist Josep Serra i Tarragón (Tarragona, 1970), within the framework of the artistic and informative project 'Art & Fire'that the Pau Costa Foundation started four years ago.
This virtual exhibition consists of 95 works ceded by the artist, and inspired by '[...] his first igneous observations, his drawings and the fire of Horta (from Sant Joan) of 2009 […]'as he explains in his biography. From today, every day we will offer you one of the works that complete this collection by Twitter, and a weekly summary by Facebook. A part of the works of this collection will be exhibited from January 31 to February 3, 2017 in Barcelona, during the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit and the International Congress on Prescribed Fire.
Josep Serra i Tarragón - Tarragona (1970)
46 years ago I was born in a land where summer fires were something lived as tragic and yet intriguing.
During those years (80-90), my retina became impregnated with the yellow-orange color, the bluish lights at dusk, the distant incandescences and the convective smoke columns that filled the skies of my summers.
The seaplanes loading in the port, the smell of burning wood, the acoustic warnings of the retardant discharges and the men fighting the flames had to leave, by force, imprint on a child and adolescent.
At that time I already had an art look in the form of a drawing. He saw the world as now in terms of morphology: shades, shadows, patterns, spectra, perspectives, iterations, etc. and not pieces of a logical and coherent system.
Much later, doctor on the outside, cartoonist on the inside, I used coal as the main technique of expressing my need for communication.
No one would have suspected that the coal with which it dirtied the sharp drawing blocks would have a connection with its origin: The Fire.
It was the vision of the documentary broadcast on Channel 33 in 2015: “El Gran Silencio”, which would be the source of ignition of a latent fuel hidden in some corner of my brain. The overwhelming first-person stories told by the firefighters in Horta de Sant Joan would become the starting point for a growing interest in the dynamics of the forest fires that I had witnessed every summer.
Although I had already drawn on this subject, my obsession accelerated exponentially after the contact established with some of the protagonists of the documentary: Marc Castellnou, Oriol Vilalta and Pepe Pallàs.
My work grew as I discovered that the Pau Costa Foundation had an Art Fund (Art & Fire), and it caused in me a strange feeling, as if that ongoing project had been waiting for me since its creation.
My obsession with the magical ancestral vision of night fires was evident in the multiple cakes, but also the last illustrations were aligned with a certain sense of communicating that there is beyond the sadness that a burned forest can induce. Apart from the formal beauty that I found, it can be said that the intention was and is to show the hopeful and vital continuity aspect that our ecosystems have naturally disturbed by fire regimes.
Surely, without this prodigious encounter between my first igneous observations, my drawings and the 2009 Horta fire, these creative combustion products would never have surfaced in me.
Cambrils, October 6, 2016