Room information sheet

L’amistat infinita [Infinite Friendship], an exhibition curated by Glòria Bosch and Susanna Portell, renders homage to the sculptor and professor Ángel Ferrant (Madrid, 1890–1961). Drawing from the correspondence of this artist with the lawyer Xavier Vidal de Llobatera from 1946 to 1961, the exhibition presents a route through the world of Ferrant’s personal and creative affinities, while also referring to his most heartfelt assertions in the context of the Spanish post-war and the dictatorship.

This exhibition underlines the fundamental role carried out by Ferrant in the Catalan avantgarde. Furthermore, it highlights the education he imparted to artists in the pre-war period and the unconditional support given him by his most intimate circle during the post-war, despite the problems he would experience because of the activist grammar of his art and his unique pedagogical style. It also enables us to discover his extraordinary personality, which was distinguished by a generous notion of friendship.

Ángel Ferrant was born in a family of artists and was trained directly by his father, Alejandro Ferrant, a highly recognized painter and watercolourist of the mid-nineteenth century, and by a contemporary, the sculptor Aniceto Marinas. He consolidated his education in Madrid, at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and the Arts and Crafts School, where in 1940 he would take on a full professorship in Modelling, after having been a professor at schools in various cities in Spain for over two decades.  

For his part, Xavier Vidal de Llobatera (Llagostera, 1894 – Barcelona, 1963) was one of the founders, along with Joan Prats and Víctor M. de Imbert, of the Club 49, an association created in 1949 to promote the avantgarde. An illustrious personality, he dedicated himself passionately to the cause of art and culture. He was the first collector to acquire a work by Tàpies, Composició [Composition] (1947), a piece which now is part of the MACBA collection and which can currently be seen in this gallery.  

The relationship between Ferrant and Barcelona dated back to 1920, when he moved to the city to give classes at the Escola Llotja; this stage of his career lasted until 1934. The connection and admiration he felt for the city were considerable and well known. According to the critic Santos Torroella, Ferrant referred to it as a “lost paradise” when he later was obliged to return to Madrid. In part it was thanks to his friendship with committed artists resident in the Catalan capital that the sculptor was able to more decidedly develop his own artistic language: modern, with a notable synthesis of lines, in search of the concept of movement.

Already at the beginning of his career he questioned the classic canon of art. Despite finding inspiration in Mediterranean and archaic sources of art, he also drew from innovative artists of his period, such as Brancusi, Gargallo, Picasso, Giacometti and Julio González.

A particular conception of art led him, over time, to elaborate an innovative proposal, the mobile sculpture, which sought an association between the forms and objects of the world, nature or human beings. A well-known phrase of his condenses this way of thinking: “Everything resembles something.” This saying became the starting point for his broadly recognized and award-winning Infinite Sculptures, carried out during the final period of his career. In movement, these forms are in constant transformation.  

The title of the exhibition, L’amistat infinita, is a symbiosis between the emphasis the creator and his circle placed on friendship relationships, whether between artists, students or others in the cultural sphere, and the infinite character Ferrant granted to the Infinite Sculptures, the greatest accomplishment of the high point of his career, which would unfortunately also coincide with a serious illness.

The exhibition narrative features painting, drawing, written and audio-visual documentation and publications, making reference to various coetaneous artists, such as Tàpies, Tharrats, Cuixart, Granyer, Bolumar, Villèlia and Subirachs, amongst others. They also refer to students of Ferrant who would have a close relationship to him, such as Eudald Serra, Jaume Sans and Ramon Marinel·lo, without failing to mention the Imberts, who he considered to be his second family. This is an exhibition conceived to reveal the relational universe of one of the maximum representatives of the avantgarde in Spain, during an epoch of restrictions to artistic and intellectual innovation.