Joan Mañé Fort is a Catalan artist from Reus, graduated in geography and history from the URV University of Tarragona. For six years he was a student of the famous Catalan artist Pere Calderó Ripoll. He has had several personal exhibitions in his native Spain (Reus, Tarragona, Figueres, Barcelona, Madrid), and abroad (New York, Paris, Florence, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Ghent, Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg).
In April 2023, two books by the artist were presented. The protagonists are two current Catalan artists, Eveli Adam de Campdevànol and Remei Mulleras, who is the author of the museum at the air free “El Pessebre de Can Roseta”. This museum has become a complete representation of Catalan culture and tradition. There you can find 107 monuments from Catalonia made of cork and stones, as well as the representation of up to 22 different traditional crafts.
We talked to Joan about his books as well as we asked him what literature and painting have in common.
“Literature and painting have in common that they are both artistic expressions. They are two sources of art, visual and figurative, one goes through painting and the another one through writing. Both are the result of human creativity, both enrich us and help us better understand the world surrounds us. From an early age, in addition to drawing, I often won school writing competitions. At the age of twenty-seven, I started writing articles for local newspapers and started doing art criticism. I have subsequently published articles for art magazines and introduction for art books.
Two years ago, in 2021, I wrote my first book “Art in books” (Oliveras Publishing House in Sant Joan les Fonts, Girona, Catalonia). Subsequently, it was the same publishing house that commissioned me to make these two biographical books of these two artists, Evelí Adam and Remei Mulleras, becoming my second and third books.
The protagonists of these two books are two current Catalan artists, Evelí Adam, painter, sculptor and cultural promoter, and Remei Mulleras, painter and creator of outdoor museum “El Pessebre de Can Roseta”. Both of them are from Girona.
To better understand, let’s see what they say about themselves. Evelí Adam explains: “My work is a constant experimentation, especially with material, with different textures and colors. I want to reflect everything that surrounds me and that for some reason touched my soul or excited me. I want to embody nature and its aesthetics, its color and its shape, therefore everything that surrounds me gives me the strength and inspiration, allows me to work with wood, fabric or paper…”.
Remei Mulleras, the creator of the 800 m2 museum in the forest. After more than 20 years dedicated to the improvement and expansion of its particular exhibition of Catalonia in miniature, the museum has received more than 70,000 visitors. “To describe the museum concept I always use three words: culture, art and tradition in the middle of nature”, – explains the artist. She adds: “35 years of being a dressmaker has given me clarity in design. When I think about a monument, I draw a picture, and if I don’t like it, I draw until I get what I’m looking for. Only then do I start creating it”.
El Pessebre is dedicated to the main monuments, geniuses and traditional crafts of Catalonia, such as the Sagrada Família, the Cathedral of Girona, the Monastery of Montserrat… etc., as well as to the geniuses who have had an impact on the cultural and scientific life of Catalonia, such as Antoni Gaudí, Narcís Monturiol, Albert Pla…
One of the part of this museum is dedicated to the different traditional catalonian crafts of the past centuries, many of them were also historically carried out in Andorra. I am talking about crafts such as potter, for example.
The most interesting thing about this place is, first of all, its privileged position, in nature, in the middle of a beautiful forest of cork oaks. The same material is used for museum exhibits. The museum is open to the public all year round.
The history of the creation of this place is connected with the competition held by the municipality of Sant Gregori, in which Remei participated year after year, winning many first prizes. In the end, she decided to immortalize her exhibits, replenishing the collection every year.
The books were published in Catalan. They are on sale in bookstores in town of Catalonia, including Valencia. You can also find them in online bookstores.
For this next year, I am waiting for the next assignments from Editorial Oliveras, which will surely be another biography of another artist and I will be very happy to be able to write it”.
Text: Irina Rybalchenko for El Periòdic News