Joan Massanet (L’Armentera, 1899 - L´Escala, 1969) becomes involved with the circle of Catalan Surrealist artists, for instance Àngel Planells, Esteban Francés and Remedios Varo from his adopted cuty of Girona, that appropriate an artistic language influenced by Salvador Dalí.
Massanet is educated in a liberal environment where cultural and political discussions are commonplace and from a young age he alternates his studies with his passion for painting, his primary motivation. Massanet, a self-taught artist, keeps abreast of avant-garde movements through magazines such as Minotaure and Cahiers d'Art and also via the journeys he makes to visit the most important museums in Europe.
His Surrealist painting comes to fruition in 1927-1928. His pre-war work is poetic, mystical and brimming with symbology, with dismembered heads, hands and feet that often appear in unexpected places. The landscapes are often flat and he uses an extensive range of blues, while the skies are enigmatic and permeate a kind of silence filled with mystery. In 1936 Massanet is the founding member of, as well as participant in, the Primer Salón de Artistas Independientes in the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona, and the same year he is included in the Exposición Logicofobista, organised by ADLAN (Friends of New Art) in the Librería Catalònia - one of the most important events in Spanish Surrealism.
His post-war painting is dramatic and mystical and closer to Expressionism. The world of transformations with strong and painful characteristics persists with the representation of numerous bulls and horses symbolising strength and instinct.
After the Sixties, Massanet crosses a threshold and enters into a world of alchemy and collage, the last of his pictorial phases, bursting with sensibility and irony; the subject matter, colour, texture and the diversity of objects transform his work into authentic reliefs, where three dimensions become the focal point. In this period the artist works with sand, resin, rope, wood from boats, fabrics and objects shaped by nature and produces a set of sculptures, made from pieces of found stone and wood, that are often either totems or virgins that evoke primitive cultures and Roman Art.
Due to his varied career and output, Joan Massanet played a prominent part in the history of Spanish Surrealism, hence the reason his work could be seen previously in the Museo in collective exhibitions such as Surrealismo Español (Spanish Surrealism), held in 1994, and in Huellas Dalinianas (Traces of Dalí), held in 2004.
Museo de Arte de Girona (22 October, 2005 - 29 January, 2006)