March 16, 2011 - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) - Pep Duran’s A Chain of Events
March 16, 2011

Pep Duran’s A Chain of Events

Working process for the installation by Pep Duran at the Capella MACBA. Ceràmica Cumella

#03 Pep Duran
A Chain of Events

Until 5 June 2011

Capella MACBA

Exhibition curated by Chus Martínez
Organised and produced by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Specifically made for the Capella MACBA, A Chain of Events, an installation by the artist Pep Duran (Vilanova i la Geltrú, 1955), should be seen as a work-essay. Made in two parts—Retaule laic (Secular Altarpiece, 2010–11) and Peça escrita (Written Piece, 2010–11)—the intervention brings together and distils the intellectual, formal and aesthetic influences at the core of this artist’s way of working and thinking.

The origin of the work stems from a process of exhaustive revision of the last decade of Duran’s artistic production, the innumerable images that have fascinated him, from the Russian avant-garde, experimental theatre or the Bauhaus, to the metamorphic Latin-American modernities. Thousands of references and hundreds of texts configure a personal archive that grows and evolves through the constant accumulation of sources. This has led the artist to dig deep into the relation that exists between form, seen as a perennial archetype pointing to a time that coincides with the present yet goes beyond it, and life, understood as a desire to leave a mark on the eternity of form with the actual experience of the moment.

The first part of the installation, Retaule laic, a large piece presiding over the central space, where the altar of the old chapel would have been, is composed of sixty ceramic modules made in close collaboration with Toni Cumella, a major ceramicist, whose family has accumulated knowledge of ceramics and art for two generations. Cumella and Duran have created a white wall where the repetition of identical and similar elements plays a fundamental role: difference and identity of forms, reliefs that appear on the white ceramic surface as if trying to pierce it. This large sculptural wall is an alphabet. It names time. In what was once a sacred space, a place created by our culture to allude to that which is not subject to the laws of time and nature, this secular altar reminds us of the difference between those things that repeat themselves and those that never return.

The second element in the installation is Peça escrita. Also made in ceramic, nevertheless there are enormous differences between this and the piece that presides over the altar: the texture, the colour and the appearance of a text refer to a different world within the same universe. The text is a fragment of a poem by Francisco Ferrer Lerín. Everything in that second piece refers to the notions of fraction, part, fragment. The texture of the wall suggests the vegetation that covers and perhaps hides a significant construction from a past civilisation. Without revealing it completely, the phrases merely hint at the longer text of which they are a part. The idea that there is a ‘key’ to everything is another fundamental concept in our cultural understanding. From the missing link to the most recent vaccine, everything evolves round the idea that there is a solution; all we have to do is find it. The key does not always deliver its promises or rather it pushes them even further into an uncertain future, while leaving the present in a state of constant interrogation that affects every layer of language.

This work shows no interest in a better past, or in a catastrophic vision that sees civilisation ending as it began. It revolves around the notion of the risks that have to be taken in order to understand the present, and the laws and models that could open up new scenarios for reality, other than those already imagined, through forms that can relate the numerous disciplines that affect man. Art is undoubtedly one of them, if not the most fundamental.

Further information and Twitter

#03 Pep Duran. A Chain of Events, digital publication of the Capella MACBA Series, available at on April 2011.

Opening times
Weekdays, 11 am to 7.30 pm
Saturdays, 10 am to 8 pm
Sundays and holidays, 10 am to 3 pm
Closed Tuesdays (except holidays)
Open Mondays

Capella MACBA
Carrer dels Àngels, 7
08001 Barcelona

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
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