Joan Ponç (Barcelona, 1928 – Sant Pau, 1984) was a visionary and mercurial insular artist who played an important part in the history of art of the post-war years in Catalonia and Spain. He set in motion the artistic renewal of the avant-garde after the Civil War, bursting onto the art scene in the 1940s and bewildering critics and poets, who immediately branded him as grotesque, tortured, diabolical, premonitory, beyond belief, magical, carnivalesque and hellish. Ponç was one of a kind.
The paintings Ponç produced delve into humankind’s darkest and most hidden corners. The unique and strange nature of his work led him towards solitude, an isolation and silence that transformed him into a recluse, visceral testimony of painting’s penetration into the mystery of life and of death as an experience.
This exhibition, curated by the art historian and critic Pilar Parcerisa, presents a comprehensive new interpretation of the life and work of the painter Joan Ponç, from his early days in the mid-1940s and the era of the Dau al Set group to his last works in the middle of the 1980s. The exhibition title, Diabolo, is a reference to Ponç’s playfulness, with the added ambivalence of the name that this Chinese juggling toy shares with the devil.