Joan Brossa, the poet of uncomfortable truth
Life and Work of the most influential avangarde poet of last's century second half
Defining Joan Brossa is not easy at all, although of all his possible labels he prefers the one of poet. Poet with words, poet with objects… Whatever it was and despite its disparate production and all his collaborations with artists, he always felt he was a poet and considered poetry all of what he did. Also in his installations, performances, videos or artworks, there was a direct relationship with the language, the idea and the message. In the end, what Brossa really did, was talking, communicating.
He might be the most influential avant-garde poet of the second half of the XXth century, also co-founder of the most important Catalan avant-garde group, Dau al Set, along with other artists such as Joan Ponç, Modest Cuixart, Antoni Tàpies, Josep Tharrats or the philosopher Arnau Puig.
Brossa, along with his poetry, written or phisical, always played the role of chronicler, reflecting his time with a very personal style in which his opinion was crucial, charged with very intelligent rebellion and irony. His work gave voice to uncomfortable truths, in it he found the way to express his complaints and reproaches with acid tones, using visual poetry to camouflage his revolt. His poems were, after all, magic tricks to confuse the intelligent and be able to raise his voice.
In a very heated environment, with Franco’s dictatorship and characterized by the absence of cutting edge movements and novelties, all of him was rebellion, always contrary to the protocol and without looking for the compliments of the institutions. The mere fact of starting as a poet using the Catalan language in a context in which the francoist repression governed the country already denoted a great political dimension in his work and a clear uprising against the authorities. In his own words, if he had not been a poet he had been guerrilla, showing a clear rejection for the francoism, the power of the church as the power attached to the goverment, the censorship and the expasionist policy of the United States after World War II.
Another example of his reactionary mood was the antitouristic route of Barcelona he created in 1979, starting a debabte that is still on nowdays about tourism and the political configuration of Catalonia, which demonstrates Brossa’s still current relevance. A rosary from which hangs a coin made of gold, or the symbol of the brand Mercedes Benz turned, with a single stroke, into the star from the Navity scene denouncing the commercialization of Christmas, are some of the many more examples of his work as a way of denouncing the authorities.
Joan Brossa, a global artist that knew how to match poetry, language and performance with the classical museums, he used irony, asociation, descontextualization and the refusal of the diferentiation between words and objects to elaborate his poems, establishing, in some cases, intrinsic dialogues with the pages of his books. Sometimes he wrote with paper, others on paper and, others, using objects that he would place somewhere between surrealism and abstraction, but in every case he spoke, denounced, raised his voice and practiced the freedom of expression in a context in which this fact was an everything itself.