Toni Catany. A Mediterranean glance

Castellano Català

Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera presents a photographic exhibition with a wide selection of the Majorcan Toni Catany, who lived most of his life in Barcelona. Fleeing chronologies and seeking a more personal view of the artist, the exhibition reveals the mainstreaming of his work, showing us the multiplicity of its meanings and avoiding topics.

The first thing we find are those elements that unite his work with the search of the Mediterranean, photographs of his native island, from different years, put into dialogue while uniting them with physical elements that take us back to his childhood. These handmade elements, made also with earth elements, such as shells and flowers become much more than memories or fetishes elements, they turn into a part of the photographic work exhibited, into necessary complements.

The series and photographs transport us to most of the countries that Toni Catany visited. In all countries he looked for elements, which placed one after another give a universal significance. The exhibition forces us to make dialogues where time and space is not important. Thus, a vase of flowers in 2008 in Venezuela, and another photographed in 2013 in Tuscany, can coexist in the same space and at the same time, giving a new meaning of those elements, which tell us something about the author’s life.

Needless to say that beyond the symbolic elements of all the meanings that allow us to draw many conclusions thanks to the perspective from curators Antoni Garau and Alain D’Hooghe,  we highlight the technical quality and constant research the artist had with the photograph. Thus, we can find mixed series, without qualitative differences, of studio shots and clicks made on the street; at the same time we see how he plays, how he plays with technical elements and how these different techniques, first analogue and then digital, allow us to understand completely different things.

On the other hand, we have series that really allow us to become Toni Catany himself. We talk, for example, of series that show us, from a subjective position, handcrafted elements (does it sound familiar?) from around the world. He shows us exactly how they were. Thus, if a jewel on a handkerchief lays next to an envelope of a used drug, so will it be portrayed and exposed.

We started talking about the idea of the Mediterranean. It may seem very contradictory that this element named the whole article because as we have said and we have been stressing all the time, photographs are from all around the world. But the dialogue that appears, the similarities of contents, the expressions of the faces that tell us very similar things no matter where they are from, lead us to end up with a more global reflection. It is to ask ourselves whether the idea we have of the Mediterranean isn’t in reality the ideal and utopian idea of a society and a culture that don’t exist literally anywhere in the world, but that at the same time can be found and recognized anywhere in the world. The exhibition “go and return”, we believe, also tries to tell us something very similar to this.

Gabino Martinez Muñoz

Other articles related to blogger’s visits to exhibitions organized by the Fundación Catalunya – La Pedrera:

Flashback. The Thousand and One Lenses of Leopoldo Pomés

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