Joan Bennàssar’s ports of seaweed

The Mediterranean is our sea, situated between southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. The name signifies surrounded by land, one that determines everything about this area and its coastlines. The Mediterranean world of the artist Joan Bennàssar shapes his personal vision of our history, which tells of a lasting, wonderful and epic world, nourished by our most ancient peoples.

The artist wields a rich, strong and brilliant personality, born out of thorough and thoughtful reflection. It comes from his fondness for ancestral traditions, which grow and are developed by the modernity of advocacy and defined by a fruitful career, typified by rigorous seriousness and total coherence.

In his work of austere outline, of unquestionable poetic composition, love, passion and eroticism organise - explicitly and latently - the impulse of execution. It is probably in his sculpture where one sees with greatest clarity the final result of the union of idea and material. Joan Bennàssar does not fight with this material but maintains an intense drive to arrive at what has to be the culmination of all works of art: the materialisation of the idea, i.e. the creation, and a creation understood emphatically to be a sublime act.

He investigates the historical consciousness and explores matter and technique in order to deploy an alchemy. It is the wise exercise of reflections in which his characters - mainly feminine - symbolise heroines, goddesses, mermaids, nymphs and vestal virgins. Or perhaps they are mere mortals who are stripped of any arbitrariness -only clad in his own gaze -and who project his view of infinity in seeking the indulgence or the protection of a superior force in contributing to an overcoming of earthly weight.

The new project, which Joan Bennàssar is now presenting, has its roots anchored in its axiomatic Mediterranean condition. The large canvasses that comprise the exhibition "My Ports" and the pictorial content that the title suggests are the mooring points over which he erects his identifiable dogma.

The sculpture, "Ports of Seaweed", created expressly for the seafront, has allegorical characters from our history. These have the power of talking to the sea and of listening to it in the way that a friend would confide in you. And while the sea kisses them, licks the wounds of the soul, strokes and covers their voluptuous bodies with an invisible chlamydia of saltpeter, they scan the horizon with the hope of catching sight of the mythical Ithaca. They do so in order to tell their creator how to provide, although, as Cavafy says, they recommend:

To always keep Ithaca in mind,
 Arriving there is your destiny,
 But to no more rush the journey,
 Better it lasts many years, 
And to berth, already old, at the island, enriched by 
all you gain along the way, 
Without waiting for Ithaca to enrich you...

Gudi Moragues Jaulin du Seutre