Salvador Juanpere
Spain, 1953
Salvador Juanpere (Tarragona, 1953) embarked on his artistic career in the 1980s and soon emerged as one of the most significant representatives of ‘new Catalan sculpture’. From the outset his work reflected the traditions of Minimalism and Arte Povera, and he sought to pinpoint a felicitous intersection between these two poetics of contemporary sculpture (Fulla rasant i punxa, 1986). In recent years sculptural practice itself has become the central subject of his work: pedestals, anvils, pallets and toolboxes are transformed into poeticised objects, usually recreated in fine materials. This approach is exemplified by the installation Gli instrumenti dell’arte (2005), which presents wooden reproductions of the tools most frequently used by the sculptor, alongside fragments of previous works. Based on this metalinguistic turn, executed with great technical skill, Juanpere’s work has offered a sustained reflection on the craft of sculpture, its processes and methods, and above all, the direct encounter with materials. Juanpere extends this focus on sculptural practice by quoting the work of past artists (Bernini, Oteiza, Judd and Penone). This vast constellation of referents, alluded to in a clearly nostalgic tone, seems to announce the end of a craft once deeply informed by humanist principles, which can only be revisited today as a fragile reminiscence. Thus when Juanpere evokes Brancusi’s Muse endormie—an early twentieth-century work that heralds the arrival of modernism in sculpture—in Muse épuisée (2013), a piece of marble perforated by words that confine the sculpture to its own literalness, the gesture speaks volumes. Juanpere has created works in all possible formats, from small-scale pieces to permanent public sculpture. An example of the latter is Viatge global, viatge local, viatge personal (2008), a work installed on the walls of the entryway of the Roquetes underground station in Barcelona. Four hundred and eighty-seven panels are perforated by words that seek to reflect the imaginary of the neighbourhood over the period from 1953, when it was built, to the present day. The form and colour of the panels are reminiscent of the fluorescent highlighting used to mark important points in texts. The work is thus an exercise in making memory visible.

Artworks by the artist included in the Collection Artworks by the artist included in the Collection

  • Scathing Blade and Spike  / 1985