The exhibition we are presenting is our special homage to the much loved and recently disappeared photographer, Toni Catany, an artist of the gallery. It is an exhibition that aims to lend visibility to a theme recurrent throughout his long artistic career: flowers. A motif the artist developed from the beginning of the 70s, and particular in the 80s, when he created a series of images that are today considered emblematic in his work. These images evolve from an almost “baroque” feel to the enormously subtle and poetic pieces of the last exhibition the artist made, “Altars profans” (Profane Altars), presented in 2013 at the Galeria Trama. The show we present this year endeavours to highlight the wealth of nuances the artist was able to develop around this subject.
As the curators of the exhibition, Antoni Garau and Alain D’Hooghe, indicate when referring to the flowers: “From his first calotypes in the seventies to his last pieces, flowers establish themselves as an idyllic vocabulary; as a stamp that identifies the Mallorcan artist, the photographer’s accomplice.”
The exhibition is complemented with works by two photographers, Catany himself greatly admired: Frazier King and Carla van de Puttelaar, who often work with the subject of flowers. The exhibition is consequently a dialogue between three artists on the same subject. As can be seen in the exhibition, all the photographs have their own voice, speaking of the deepest feelings of life and death, which forms probably the nexus the three photographers have in common.
Carla van de Puttelaar (Holland, 1967) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and received the Rome prize in 2002. She lives and works in Amsterdam and is considered one of the essential references in Dutch contemporary photography. She exhibits regularly across Europe and the United States, in both galleries and museums, and her work has been the subject of various publications. De Puttelaar is known above all for her portraits and nudes, expressly diaphanous fragments of the human body, and has amplified her work with floral themes, mainly roses and tulips, that she treats in the same way as her human models. She presents them alone, against a black background and under the Northern light that characterises the Dutch painting of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Photographing these flowers just before they wilt, she manages to reveal at the same time their fragility but also their mature sensuality and exuberance. Her works are a song to singular beauty but also paradoxically to skin and flesh.
Frazier King (Virginia, USA, 1947) is an amateur, self-taught photographer who lives and works in Houston (Texas) where he practices as a lawyer. He also dedicates a large part of his free time to studying and raising orchids, the reason why his photographs are based on the portraiture of these flowers. By dint of observing these flowers and analysing their development he comes to consider them as unique individuals. To magnify their unusual beauty, he doesn’t hesitate to veil the negatives in order to augment the compositional ambiguity and avoid over representative images. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions during the nineties and forms part of collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, George Eastman House (Rochester) and the Bibliotèque Nationale de France (Paris).
Toni Catany (1942 – 2013) Self-taught, he lived and worked in Barcelona from 1960 until his death. From his first exhibition, in 1965, he realised over one hundred solo exhibitions all over the world. He also paid particular attention to seeing his work compiled into various publications for which he received numerous awards: Natures Mortes (1987), awarded best photographic book in the Primavera Fotogràfica de Barcelona in 1988; La meva Mediterrània (1991), granted the book prize at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles, and was also recognised by the Generalitat de Catalunya as the best illustrated book of that year. Somniar déus (1993), Obscura memòria (1994), Fotografies (1997), was European Editors prize and awarded the Catalan book prize by the Generalitat de Catalunya, Venessia (2006), Visions del Tirant lo Blanc (2007), Altars profans (2013) and posthumously Toni Catany.Ceràmiques de Miquel Barcelò Barceló (2015).
In 2000 the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) exhibited an anthology of his work, Toni Catany, l’artista en el seu paradís. The Ministry of Culture of France nominated him Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1991. In 2001 the Generalitat awarded him the Premi Nacional d’Arts Plàstiques, and the Ministry of Culture the Spanish National Prize for Photography. In 2003 he received from the Government of the Balearic Islands the Ramon Llull award for the arts and in 2015 was declared illustrious son of the city of Llucmajor.
In around 2005, the process begins to take shape for what will be, during the latter years of his life, the artist’s grand project, his goal: the creation of the Fundació Toni Catany, in Llucmajor. He remained, while working with his collaborators on the future Foundation he a tireless creator.