Dive and Immersion is a series of exhibitions organized by the Fundació Joan Miró at Espai 13 throughout 2022, with support from the Fundació Banc Sabadell. Curated by Pere Llobera (Barcelona, 1970), in collaboration with Martina Millà, head of exhibitions at the Fundació Joan Miró, the project surveys the state of the art of painting over the course of four exhibitions, with artists from the Barcelona scene employing a wide range of the many languages used in its context. The exhibitions by Victor Jaenada, Marcel Rubio Juliana, Marria Pratts and Martín Vitaliti showcase the possibilities afforded by the notion of expanded painting, in conjunction with methodologies and research from the world of emerging art.
The series takes its name from Galician poet José Ángel Valente’s free translation of the title of the poem “Il tuffatore,” by Italian writer and Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, rendered in Spanish as “Salto e inmersión.” (1) Montale was inspired by a fresco from a fifth-century BC tomb depicting a naked young man diving headfirst into a pool of water. Both painting and poem explore ideas of life, death and the circularity that binds them together. Jaenada, Rubio Juliana, Pratts and Vitaliti thread these same concepts through their own projects in a tragic and lucid vein. In their installations, artefacts and paintings, all four artists address the need to find their own voices in this cyclical succession. The title of the series also hints symbolically at these artists’ deeply felt, radical commitment to their work.
Victor Jaenada (Barcelona, 1977) begins the series with Isabel, a performative installation piece sparked by a childhood premonition and brush with death. Turning Unamuno’s “tragic sense of life” on its head, Jaenada is worried less by the thought of death than by the prospect of having to play an ongoing role in existence. The series continues in April with Marcel Rubio Juliana (Barcelona, 1991), who investigates the alchemical process at play in resurrection. In contrast to Jaenada’s fatalist approach to survival, Rubio Juliana’s Resurrection explores the possibility of rebirth and delves deeper into the concept of transmutation. In July the baton passes to Marria Pratts (Barcelona, 1988), whose painting and architectural artefact 1 possession Drift takes a dynamic approach to time and space by decomposing the project—and its own process of preparation—into a vast archive of objects, waste, routines and obsessions. Finally, Martín Vitaliti (Buenos Aires, 1978) brings the series to a close in October with Silly Symphonyan immersive audiovisual installation on the exploitation of resources in the industry of early animated cartoons.
An accompanying publication will contain texts and artwork created over the course of the series, and a program of activities will connect with various of the main ideas explored in Dive and Immersion†
Espai 13 is a space devoted to emerging artistic and curatorial endeavours. It was created in 1978 in Espai 10, a room off the foyer at the Fundació Joan Miró, for young artists based in Barcelona. It moved to its present location following the late-1980s extension to Josep Lluís Sert’s original building. Over the past 40 years, this pioneering space has held exhibitions showcasing the work of over 500 artists and offered young professionals a unique opportunity to hone their newly acquired curatorial skills. Espai 13 has played a key role in launching the careers of many successful artists, curators and cultural managers. Its continuous programming over the course of more than four decades has made Espai 13 an unparalleled platform within the museum world. Its own history mirrors the evolution of emerging artistic and curatorial practices from the last quarter of the twentieth century until the present day.
(1) American classicist William Arrowsmith opted for the more literal “The Diver” in his English translation.