San Francisco de Horta

San Francisco de Horta, Barcelona, 1949

It was our first commission for a mural, in l 949. Because of the conditions of the walls we decided to use a tempera technique; a mixture of rabbit’s glue diluted with water and lots of sanding in between. A very academic approach technically and esoterically. We were at the time finishing our studies at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona. The sculpture was made by Carulla Serra, a fourth member of the group that left us soon after this collaboration.

The church was new and standing in the middle of a plaza. No trees, fountains, flower beds or benches. A very simple and economic housing project for the working community. The rector and promoter of the development was Mossen Francis Camprobi, a priest student with us, and a very good friend.

We made the mural during the summer vacations and had a fantastic time working together, discussing projects for the future and talking about art, politics, and other topics.

It was the beginning of many years of activity in the field of murals, glass windows, tapestries, mosaics and sculptures, as a group, but much more, individually. For myself it was the beginning of many frustrations and problems concerning payments, lack of time to do the work properly and constant doubts about what I was doing. At the end I see that it didn’t matter that much, considering that very little has been preserved of the large quantity of art work that I produced from 1950 to 1980 .

In 2003, fifty five years after making the mural, I went to visit San Francisco de Horta with the idea of making colour photographs. The priest was very pleased to meet me and turned on all the lights on the altar. I was horrified to realise that all the painting had been REPAINTED ON TOP to make them look BETTER. . The person that had done the improvement had covered up our signature and date (1949 ) and signed his own name and date (1998 ). All the colours are now completely flat, pastel and plastic looking and outlined by a regular black line. It was not a great art work to begin with but now it is dead.