Under the stage name "Gecé" Ernesto Giménez Caballero (Madrid, 1899-1988), intellectually multifaceted and a key figure in the Madrid avant-garde scene during the Twenties and Thirties, he is also the author of a collection of over sixty literary posters, produced between 1925 and 1927. They all display his poetic, artistic and critical heritage which recognises the visual poetry imprint of Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammes; the transformation of the page into a scene of a collage of heterogeneous images in the same futuristic style as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s parole in libertà, and as noted by Martí Peran - curator of the exhibition - the synthesis (and play) between the textual records (verbal) and visual as proposed by Francis Picabia throughout the pages of 391.
The posters collected for this exhibition - organised by the University of Barcelona in collaboration with the Library and Documentation Centre of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía - are part of the Catalan publisher Gustavo Gili’s collection. Halfway between a collage and a visual poem insofar as they are a combination of artistic and other poetic elements, these posters enclose a critical role through the glossing of a specific publication, despite them generally dealing with a character - as in the case of Musa de Muñoz Seca (year), El poeta Alberti (year) or Marquis de Bradomín se hace sansculotte (year) - or with his literary career, as reflected in Cinco fases de José Ortega y Gasset (year) or Estratigrafía de Ramón Pérez de Ayala (year). With a tone characteristic of avant-garde declarations, Gecé defines his literary posters as follows: "They are a mixture of literature and art, of biography and announcements, of banners and alleluia, of light and proclamations, publicly, expressively modern".
Founder and editor of La Gaceta Literaria (1927-1932), Giménez Caballero first exposed his literary posters in Madrid in late 1927, in the halls of Inchausti Editorials and soon after in Barcelona, at the Dalmau Galleries in January 1928. Despite the negligible impact they had on critics it is worth noting the vision of writer Lluis Montanyà on these posters, who notes that "its function is to act as an immediate graphical response where the key points of the work or the artist who is the subject of the gloss are schematised." This is, as noted by Gecé and remembered by Perán, "the poster is presented as the visual form of an opinion, instead of building a discursive judgment." Thus, synthesis (in the formulation of the message) and symbiosis (in the technique used) become the main features of these works, which acquire the complete aesthetic object category.
Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona (June 15 - July 16, 1994)