christian berstart brut
SearchClose christian berstart brut

For the second time, the gallery dedicates a monographic exhibition to the work of spanish artist Joaquim Vicens Gironella, showing more than 20 cork sculptures from the 1950s to his death.

In 1948, Joaquim Vicens Gironella (1911-1997) became, after Adolf Wölfli, the second outsider artist to be exposed by André Breton and Jean Dubuffet in the pavilion that Gaston Gallimard provided them in the garden of his publishing house. An enthralled Dubuffet wrote in the introduction of the exhibition catalogue: “This living material, this organic flesh he manipulates – we can hear trees and forests utter through the cork – seem to stir the artist into poetic litanies, even sending him into wild delirium. The movement of his creation is Spanish: a frenzied dance, a brutal veracity, the tragically grotesque, a reverence to ugliness, alongside grave, philosophical eroticism, blood, and death.”

The Catalan cork worker, who exiled himself to Toulouse following Franco’s victory, applied his skills to unfettered creativity.
His intricate cork sculptures and bas-reliefs gave flesh both to the sacred devotion and to the profane sensuousness of his native Catalonia, sometimes fused together in a demonstration of the surprising filiation of Catalonian Romanesque art and Surrealism. As an artist, the way he honored of this tawny cork’s qualities could rival with the most aristocratic of sculptural art. Whether he polished it or preserved its roughness, he was forging a bewitching pact with light.

Behind the perceptible jubilation showed, here and there, the melancholy of exile, the nostalgia of a paradise lost by the one who wrote in a letter to Dubuffet: “I rejected all the lesson”.

Such historical collections are getting scarcer and scarcer, in opposition to outsider art’s ballooning notoriety. It is why, 15 years after the first exhibition we dedicated to him, we are particularly happy to honor his incredible talent with a representative showcase of his work from the 1950s to his death.

Joaquim Vicens Gironella: - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella: - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella: - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella: - © christian berst — art brut
Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
movement symphony - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella movement symphony, 1963
21.26 x 15.35 in
desire (flamenco rhythm) - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella desire (flamenco rhythm), 1970
16.14 x 38.19 in
Joaquim Vicens Gironella the estrambotic, 1980
9.45 x 14.17 in
the spirit of the old castle n°2 - © christian berst — art brut
Joaquim Vicens Gironella the spirit of the old castle n°2, 1970
38.58 x 20.08 in
Joaquim Vicens Gironella
Joaquim Vicens Gironella during the shooting of the movie *Le Liège et la Mémoire* 1992-1993 - © christian berst — art brut

Born in Catalonia, Gironella (1911-1997) followed at an early age in his father’s footsteps in cork craftsmanship. Engendering a lifelong history with cork, unbothered by the exile to France forced by Franco. Thus, in 1948, Jean Dubuffet and André Breton dedicated an exhibition to him. Then, in 1967, Gironella is included in the exhibition L’art brut at the Musée des Arts Décoratif (Paris), hosted by François Mathey, then chief curator. Since 2021, he has been part of the traveling exhibition Francesc Tosquelles. Comme une machine à coudre dans un champ de blé, which will end its road at the New York American Folk Art Museum (after Les Abattoirs, Toulouse ; The Reina Sofía Museum , Madrid ; Contemporary cultural center Barcelone).

Joaquim Vincens Gironella paradis perdu
Joaquim Vincens Gironella : paradis perdu - © christian berst — art brut

Text: Guillaume Oranger
Foreword: Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition joaquim vicens gironella: lost paradise, from April 6 to May 14, 2023.

Press review
Joaquim Vicens Gironella : l’Evangile du liège
Damien Aubel, Transfuge. May 9, 2023.
Sélection galerie : Joaquim Vicens Gironella chez Christian Berst
Philippe Dagen, Le Monde. May 6, 2023.
Bénédicte Philippe, Télarama. April 28, 2023.
El ‘paraíso perdido’ de Vicens Gironella se presenta en París después de recalar en Londres
Conxa Rodríguez, Público. April 13, 2023.
Joaquim Vicens Gironella:

You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.