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Pep Duran

Pep Duran celebrates 25 years of Temporada Alta, filling the sky with signs charged with poetry.

In addition to bringing together some of the most notable contemporary Catalan artists, the posters for the different editions of the Temporada Alta festival provide another curious fact: many of the artists who have created the posters are related, in one way or another, to the world of the theatre. Narcís Comadira, as well a painter and a poet, is also a playwright. Frederic Amat has developed a prolific career as a set designer. In the work by Carles Santos, music, theatre and the visual arts are often inseparable. Jaume Plensa collaborated with La Fura dels Baus in some of the early operas for the company. In addition, there are other artists who don’t have a direct connection to the theatrical world, but one could say that their work also draws on the ritualistic and festive roots which are there at the origins of the theatre. This is the case with Antoni Miralda, known for his mass performances and also of Eulàlia Valldosera: the installations by this artist evoke intimate rituals and which sometimes have both the fragile and ephemeral character of a play.

The Temporada Alta festival is 25 years old. Consciously or unconsciously, Salvador Sunyer has commissioned the poster for this edition from an artist, Pep Duran (born Vilanova i la Geltrú, 1955), who, among the roll call of artists with whom he has collaborated, is, along with Frederic Amat, the artist with the strongest relationship to the theatrical world. In addition to being an artist, Pep Duran is also a set designer. He is a professor at the Institut del Teatre and has a hand in the set for the staging of The Courage to Kill, by Lars Noren, by the Director Magda Puyo which the TNC will release in October. The poster of Duran has had a similar impact to that caused by the posters of Àngel Jové and Antoni Miralda. The split melon poster by Miralda caused many explicit comments. That of Pep Duran, a red oval, full of holes or protuberances that have a hole at the end, could cause the same. But it isn’t like this. Looked at more closely, it can be seen that the poster of Pep Duran is, in fact, the photograph of a piece in relief. The protuberances are reels of thread. As he himself explains, using these the artist wanted to evoke "the thread of Ariadne, the thread of the 25 years of the Festival". The reels could also be the "25 eyes", as if the poster was a portrait of Argos, the mythological giant whose head was covered in eyes and who never slept. "They are a sign in the sky", concludes the artist, thinking about how his work will be seen on the banners. On the other hand, the reels can evoke the textile past of Coma-Cros, where the headquarters of El Canal are based, although it seems that authorities are not willing to thread the needle and put the operation of the centre under full sail.

For Pep Duran, the poster is not a strange medium. He has been making them since the 70s and has even made them for his own exhibitions. The spools that he has used for the poster of this edition of the Temporada Alta festival refer to humble materials that characterise his work. They are used to make the link with art povera, and above all, as he says himself, "with Antoni Tàpies, Joan Miró and Joan Brossa". In recent years the Macba Museum has exhibited two pieces that embody the inventiveness of Duran with such materials: Retaule laic a monumental ceramic that could be seen in the La Capella in 2011 and, last year in the exhibition Especies of spaces, an installation consisting of the recycling of a number of earlier works.

Antoni Ribas

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