ALWAYS! ALWAYS!!

JOAN BROSSA

Brossa is an unclassifiable creator who, however, has been simultaneously described as Dadaist, surrealist and conceptual. Along with his research in the tropological space of vocabulary he was able to give himself with passion to the writing of the sonnet, turned into a synthesis of abstraction and reality. Some of his poetic cycles are an extreme example of automatism, something he also admired in Miró. His interest in magic is certainly present in his unique combination of the prosaic and the poetic. From Escorça (a bark of a linden found in the street and mounted on a small wooden base) his first object made in 1943, the same year in which he published his first book La bola i l'escarbat, he made a work of extreme coherence, with a playful tone and, of course, reflective.

 

 

We could remember some of his poetic objects: a hammer next to a card built by the halves of the ten and the lady of hearts, a light bulb in which the word poem is written, a soap marked by the fingerprint, autumnal leaves subject bureaucratically by a clip, a lipstick wound by a stick, a round dice or a pair of dice inside a jug, a soccer ball worked with a pacifier, a padded deck. In their own words, these juxtaposed, metamorphosed, subject to the metaphorical things are "tracas, Japanese surprises ... at reduced prices". In truth every thought emits a hit of dice; writing is giving space to everyday magic. That which is fulfilled in the displacement of the space of the expanded letter of Mallarmé to the surrealist image inscribed under that paradoxical formula of the Count of Lautréamont: "beautiful as the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissection table".

 

 

There is a photograph in which Brossa is seen eating some cards from a deck, in a moment of strange voracity or trick: chance becomes edible. This rare artist, founder of the magazine Algol (1947) and fundamental activist in the adventures of Dau al set (1948), closely linked to Tàpies, let himself be carried away with pleasure by the surprise, the chance and the transformism that for him exemplified Frégoli perfection.

 

 

According to Gimferrer, it is in the scope of the magical vision of nature that the three most characteristic obsessions of Brossian poetry are developed: "the personification or, more exactly, the animism; the repetition, and, finally, the interrelation of the natural world and the world of the objects of the human habitat ". A decisive book by Brossa is the one that bears the curious title of "Made me Joan Brossa"; Cabral de Melo warned of the emergence of reality in these poems, after having made the prose and the theater of systematic hallucination, with which he has sought the fifth foot of the cat and the seventh face of the dice. There, the antipoetic or, better, concrete style prevails, in which Brossa departs from the "atmosphere impregnated with cardboard-stone magic". From the fascinating visual poetry books that he made in 1959 (Suites) to actions and theatrical works such as La Suite buffa (1966), this creator strengthens his universe of subtle movements, theatrical seduction and, nevertheless, family closeness.

 

 

Ultimately, Brossa's working method is life; he contemplates and collects what happens, modifies objects, transcribes conversations, gives free rein to his sense of humor in which the common is arranged in an illogical key. Remember a Brossa poem: "BETWEEN CARPINTEROS./ - Now, to retouch it, so that it fits / completely, you had to remove the ribbon in front. / - And if we squeeze a little more wood? / - What do you mean with squeeze? It's from the back / where it rubs. / - Ah, from the back ... / - And from the top part even, even. Put him / a wedge / so he does not move. " Between poetic sarcasm and haiku, Brossa offers a fragment of reality that, when transformed into verses, acquires a fun and disturbing tone. It is also true that in his writing or in his objects may appear unforeseen things, serious objections to the established codes in a deranged time: the clocks are inside the potatoes or have several hands.

 

 

The insolent poetry of Brossa does not cease to surprise, its findings (the telephone on the die, the headphones with earrings, the padlocked deck, the eye as buffer of the bottle, the hook sandwich, the fried egg fused with the consecrated host, etc.) are, simply, memorable. Brossa challenges us from the shop windows, either with the first object that showed, precisely, in the showcase of the tailor shop Wales of Barcelona in 1956 (an open umbrella and supported on the floor inside which was a manger with the inevitable caganer) or with that armchair luxuriously upholstered in silk and sawed that was maintained, however, in a precarious balance that was presented again in another precarious equilibrium that he presented again in another showcase in 1985. Without a doubt his mind was a bottomless deposit, full of poetic ideas, many of which he had to wait decades to realize them.

 

 

From the impressive retrospective at the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum (1991), Brossa entered a hyperactive period or, to be more precise, at the moment of the visibility of its incessant work. To the actions, the visual poems, the posters, the works for television and the objects came to add pieces that we could consider installations, for example, Cadenes de Dàmocles (1994), Final (1994) or the Emplaçaments with which it inaugurated the Miguel Marcos Gallery of Barcelona (1998). These latest works, as indicated by Enrique Juncosa, delved into their usual concerns: "an obstinate identification of stupidity with the bourgeoisie -which may seem to some unusual, is very effective to aureolar his work with a transgressive air-; the will to represent three-dimensionally the different linguistic or rhetorical figures -which gives his works the appearance of hieroglyphs-; and the surrealizing juxtaposition of banal and everyday objects in the search for new expressive possibilities, and a fascination with magic -where everything is under control and has a trick-, which translates into skepticism about the ineffable and speculative ". Brossa, sarcastic and surrounded, in his study, of papers, newspapers and, ultimately, dust, always tried to generate the marvelous, his school of look transports us beyond the tedium of the empire of banality.

 

 

Fernando Castro Flórez