The retrospective exhibition of Ángel Ferrant (Madrid, 1890-1961) sets forth a review of the artists output in chronological order, from his first works in the 1910s to the series Escultura infinita, which he works on during his final years.
The exhibit is arranged into ten different sections and presents a biography dominated by the desire for innovation and the rapid withdrawal from academic conventions, leading him to the formal experimentation of abstraction. The exhibition also includes a “Ferrant Studio”, dedicated to developing various didactic activities given Ferrant's role as an innovator of artistic pedagogy and his interest in children's drawing.
Ferrat begins as a professor in the La Coruña School of Arts and Crafts where he partakes in academic events and presents works within academic realism, for instance La cuesta de la vida (1910) and El hombre del mono (1913). Following this early period he quickly shifts towards the innovation of the concept of creation and art object; his time spent in Barcelona between 1920 and 1934 changes his clacissistic languages into a more modern grammar, namely the synthesis of lines, for example in La escolar (1925) and Llobregat (1927). Other works, for instance Reyes Magos (1931), represent his first attempts at abstraction as he opens out to incorporate new sculptural techniques.
Various factors define Ferrat's subsequent work and his position as an educator for later generations. One one side, his participation in founding the ADLAN group (Amics de l´Art Nou) in 1931 and the Exposición Logicofobista (1936), recognised as the link to the Surrealist poetry of the object. And on the other, from 1945 he reconsiders found objects within the poetry of the objet trouvé; by and large he works with natural objects, stones, sticks and shells, transforming them into collections of what he calls “non-utilitarian expression”. This principle is broadened towards the end of the Forties as he finds an aesthetic and formal model in Prehistoric Art for sculptures such as Partenogénesis (1950), Metamorfosis de cartílagos telúricos (1950) and Majestad (1951).
Ferrant is key to the establishment in 1949 of the I Semana de Arte de la Escuela de Altamira and the Decena de arte abstracto (1953) conferences in Santander. He persists with this approach and in his exhibition in 1957 in the Syra Gallery in Barcelona he presents work that portrays the aesthetics of abstract primitivism and emphasisess the lexical association between forms, as in Toro-figura 6 (1957) and Figura 10 (1957).
Within his varied and innovative output, his articulated and mobile sculptures are also of note as they display his concerns with movement and occasionalism and his constant graphic investigation as a means of generating ideas and forms for his work.
The exhibition as a whole takes a global look, through dozens of sculptures, drawings and work documents, at Ferrant's work as a draftsman, sculptor, designer and educator.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona (October - December, 1999)