'Costa Brava': Paradoxes of landscape
Joan Rabascall revisit the landscape scenarios of the region with a photo exhibition at the Museu de l'Empordà
In 1982 Joan Rabascall (Barcelona, 1935) portrayed the Costa Brava parodying the idea of an idyllic landscape digested by the communication mechanisms of mass culture. He set his camera in 12 non-places chosen for their non-photogenic image and exhibited them at the Galería Canaleta in Figueres, together with a limited edition on postcard format. Today, 30 years later, Rabascall has reissued this work as a continuation to the open debate raised in the seminar Arxiu Paisatge 01 (1972-2006), where he met Perejaume, Josep Ponsatí and Francesc Abad, among others, at the Museum of l'Empordà in 2006.
The exhibition compares the two sets of photo shoots to give an overview of the evolution of the landscape of the Costa Brava and question about an aesthetic problem in relation to the paradigm of landscape as an art form used by the mass culture. To Rabascall, half between the real and the idealmlandscape there is a territory in which the media limited the representation codes to the banal. And, on the other side, there are the canvases painted by generations of artists that have made landscape the main Ampurdán-genre since the nineteenth century, they have worked in a direction that evokes the landscape as an idyllic atmosphere dominated by light and forces of nature. And all this leads are very far to reality.
In the last three decades, Rabascall has focused its work on a critical partnership that uses images taken from communication circuits to perform a sociological paradox and uncover the manipulation of culture. Following the theme of the popular imagination, he reflects on the painting, its commonplace on visual culture and conventional cultural stereotypes. His work has been exhibited recently in: Disagreements (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, MACBA, 2005), First Generation Art and Moving Image (1963-1986) (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, MNCARS, 2006), or The Small Charm of Technology (Extremadura and Iberoamerican Museum of Contemporary Art, Badajoz and ZKM Centre for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, 2008).
And he has been the subject of several retrospectives in France-Villa Tamaris Centre d'Art de la Seyne-sur-Mer, the France-Japan Institute of Tokyo and Yokohama, and, especially, on the exhibitions held at MACBA and the Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen in 2009. Costa Brava will remain at Museu de l'Empordà in Figueres until October 14. Alejandro Martínez