Joan Brossa (Barcelona, 1919-1998) is one of the most important twentieth-century writers in the Catalan language. A poet, playwright and visual artist with a long creative career, he was always linked to an avant-garde conception of culture. A founder of the Dau al Set group (1948), he understood the poetic as something that was not confined to the verbal but included the whole range of artistic expression: visual and object poetry; what he called ‘poetry in action’ when referring to the more or less non-literary performing arts (magic, circus, cabaret); cinema, and so on. His literary works have been translated into a dozen languages. Of particular note in his career as a visual artist was his presence at Art 20 in Basel (1989) and in the official pavilions at the São Paulo Biennial (1994) and the Venice Biennale (1997), in addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions. Firmly committed to Catalonia and to democracy, institutional recognition came to Brossa late: in 1987 he was awarded the Ciutat de Barcelona prize; in 1988, the UNESCO Picasso Medal; in 1992, the Government of Catalonia’s Premi Nacional d’Arts Plàstiques, and, among others, the Gold Medal for Fine Arts of the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1996. In 1999 the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona bestowed a posthumous honorary doctorate on him.
Joan M. Minguet