Through an exhibition cycle that will be presented over the course of three years, until 2025, Girona City Council is making known the municipal fund of the future Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Girona that will be located in Casa Pastors and which is expected to open in the coming years 2026-27. This year it is planned to finish the archaeological interventions, and during 2023 and 2024 to carry out adaptation works, to then concretize the museum project. The set of pieces – which is preserved in the Museum of History of Girona – is made up of 8,782 works that have been shaped over the years through donations, deposits and purchases, and represent an artistic, documentary and bibliographic heritage of reference for study and explain artistic movements of the 20th century in Catalonia. La Casa Pastors is an 18th century palace built on the Roman walls of Girona and the medieval fortification that was built on top of it. The agreement to take forward the project of a new museum in the city was finalized in 2014 and was signed by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Diputació and the Girona City Council with contributions that were not equal, but relevant for in order to make it possible for it to become a reference museum equipment. It must be remembered that the path towards a Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has its basis in the central role of the Bòlit , Contemporary Art Center in its three locations: Sala Fidel Aguilar, Pou Rodó and Sant Nicolau. Directed by Rosa Pera (2008-2012), Carme Sais (2013-2020) and since May 2021 by Ingrid Guardiola, it has had a constant activity of revitalizing contemporary visual arts since its creation.
The first show of the cycle presents a selection from the collection and archive-library of critic, historian and poet Rafael Santos Torroella (Portbou, 1914- Barcelona, 2002); un representatiu estol que permet traçar un recorregut per l'art contemporani català i espanyol de finals del segle XIX i XX. The acquisition of this fund - which entered in 2014 - generated a lot of controversy, for which the City Council paid 3.61 million euros; a legacy that includes 1,393 works of art and up to 30,000 documents. Santos Torroella was a historian, art critic, collector, teacher, editor and promoter of cultural activities, and, together with his wife, Maria Teresa Bermejo Hernández, they were associated with the main intellectuals of the 20th century . The heirs of the Santos Torroellas wanted it to be preserved in its integrity: they put the art collection up for sale and, as a donation, it included the archive and the library, on the condition that it be preserved in a unitary and that was accessible to students and researchers. The exhibition of the Santos Torroella fund will be followed by two more samples. The second, which can be seen between October next year and May 2024, will be dedicated to the collection of art critic and promoter Àngel Marsà. And the third, between October of that year and May 2025, will revolve around the legacy of the artist Josep Niebla.
Curated by Rosa M. Gutiérrez Herranz and Jaume Vidal Oliveras, The commitment to new art. Itineraries of the avant-garde in Catalonia through the Rafael and Maria Teresa Santos Torroella fund gathers around 150 works – sculptures, paintings, photographs and drawings – which are presented in the temporary rooms of the History Museum as a route along the paths of the avant-garde from the beginning of the 20th century until the 60s in Catalonia and Spain. From the turn of the century to the recovery of the avant-garde crushed by the Civil War, the exhibition traces the trajectory of Santos Torroella linked to artists and movements that span these six decades. Picasso, Dalí and Miró are the haystacks that start with the avant-gardes and the beginnings of surrealism through figures such as Salvador Dalí or Ángeles Santos Torroella. During the years following the Civil War and the Franco regime, the second avant-gardes appeared, which were characterized by the attempt to combine modernity and cosmopolitanism. Here the collection focuses on the artistic revival around the Altamira School and the Dau al Set group, with artists such as Antoni Tàpies, Modest Cuixart, Joan Ponç, Josep Guinovart, Manuel Millares or Mathias Goeritz and it focuses especially on the publishing house Cobalto, directed by Santos Torroella himself, which published the first books by Dalí and Miró. Finally, the journey closes with a new generation that breaks with the past and proposes new languages such as informalism, pop, new figuration and conceptual art, which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the most outstanding artists of this last batch are Joan Hernández Pijuan, Jorge Castillo, Eduard Arranz-Bravo, Rafael Bartolozzi, Francesc Garcia Vilella, Francesc Artigau, Robert Llimós or Evarist Vallés. The itinerary gives great preeminence to the documentary heritage since as a critic and as an art writer, he always tried to ensure that his work had a documentary value as an accrediting and referential witness, based on artists' writings, epistolaries , unpublished originals, publications or photographs.
In parallel to these temporary exhibitions, series of lectures, guided tours will also be offered and a catalog of each will be published. In addition, the City Council will also digitize all the pieces and documents that make up the three art funds - with Santos Torroella's, it has already been done - and make them available to all citizens.