Joan Brossa


Date: 1986

Technique: Wooden stepladder, tiles and wooden letters

Dimensions: 160 x 100 x 100 cm

Es Baluard Museu d'Art Contemporani de Palma

Reg. no.: 376

On display

The piece is comprised of a rustic-looking wooden stepladder situated on a wooden alphabet which in turn rests on paving made up the typical tiles from the pavements of Barcelona’s Eixample district (known as “panot de flor” paving tiles, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in the early 20th century for Casa Amatller).

Parany (Trap) is a good example of one of the characteristic lines of Brossa’s production: the famous object-poem. Joan Brossa developed his work at all times in a dialogue of poetry and practice, between the literary and the visual. We can locate the famous object-poems within this creative line; the poet includes in them everyday objects that were found by chance and, without manipulating them, presents them assembled, together, to activate memories in the spectator which, in combination, offer new interpretations of the same. Brossa presents the elements just as they are, apparently all he does is assemble them, but in doing so he re-signifies them, provoking mental and symbolic play and activating the imaginary into which they are inserted, following in the wake of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades.

In Brossa’s career, we find certain key elements that are repeated throughout his production, with the use of the alphabet as a unifying factor. The alphabet, letters, are more than elements of narration for him, becoming the protagonists of the work in themselves. Taking them as found objects, valued even individually, the poet constructs posters, poems, pieces and object-poems of a sculptural nature, as in the case of Parany. The wooden stepladder sits on the Catalan-language alphabet in which the O has been removed from its natural order, to be raised up to the top of the steps. Without the O, the grid is perfect: five rows on each side close off an impeccable space which – it seems – condenses all the typographical elements necessary to form the backbone of a language. But it is an illusion, and at the same time a “trap”, because the O is missing that plays the visual “trick” (the parany) through its typographical similarity to the missing 0 of the numerical scale.


Artist biography