Isaki Lacuesta is guest artist at the 15th Fira Mediterrània de Manresa
- The winner of the Conxa d’Or award at the last San Sebastian Film Festival is working on various projects for Fira on the theme of generation to generation handover
- New artistic director David Ibáñez takes a multidisciplinary approach to the programme
- The new show Tuétano, starring famous dancer Andrés Marín, opens Fira on 8 November
Barcelona, 26 June 2012. David Ibáñez, new artistic director at Fira Mediterrània de Manresa, has chosen film director Isaki Lacuesta as the next guest artist at the arts market due to be held in Manresa from 8 to 11 November.
Working alongside David Ibáñez, Lacuesta has picked a series of artistic performances addressing the issue of handing down through the generations under the title of “Cross-generation handover”. With this leitmotif they want to see how a dancer translates their teacher’s essential qualities into their own practice; film how a poet writes in their own hand a verse inspired by the previous generation; and how a jazz trumpet-player’s solo reinterprets a traditional childhood tune.
“In the work I'm planning to show at Fira I've tried to find out what happens when you put football boots on a dancer's feet, when you mix up film and painting, poetry and cooking, experimenting by putting all kinds of arts disciplines through the blender” explains Lacuesta, who is keen to connect with the primarily multidisciplinary nature of this latest Fira event.
Lacuesta will be featuring in five special arts events at the 15th Fira Mediterrània de Manresa. One of them is the closing ceremony in Plaça Major, a spectacle that blends theatre with video mapping projection, a large format audiovisual display based on the Verges Dance of Death. Another is the video installation Traços/Traces, shown for the first time in Catalonia and involving four large projection screens. The piece sets up a dialogue between a series of leading artists such as Tàpies, Miguel Poveda, Palau i Fabre and Ferran Adrià. You can see the work at the Casino Cultural Centre.
“Working with a guest artist allows Fira to open up a space for dialogue and creativity on the theme of what 21st century traditional culture should be like” says Ibáñez, who chose Isaki Lacuesta because of his youth and daring as well as his keen approach to new challenges, always with a deep respect for deep-rooted values and the land.
Multidisciplinarity and new artistic formats
The programme put together by David Ibáñez for this 15th Fira event is a showcase for multidisciplinarity and new artistic formats. “This is the future” he says, adding: “Creativity is becoming increasingly boundless and is superb at using all kinds of tools". The crossover between disciplines and blurring stylistic boundaries that Ibáñez talks about will be especially prominent in this year’s Fira, with dance, music, circus, theatre and a strong emphasis on visual arts, given the guest artist's background. The show being performed at Fira's opening ceremony is a great example of this multidisciplinary focus: Tuétano by dancer Andrés Marín, undoubtedly one of the most famous creators of modern Flamenco dance. Flamenco is making a strong impression on the Fira schedule, especially since it was recently given the status of Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO. Tuétano is being performed for the first time in Catalonia at Manresa’s Teatre Kursaal, after only two previous performances at Montpeller en danse and Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. The show contains a striking combination of avant-garde and traditional flamenco elements and features three exceptional artists: dancer Concha Vargas, vocalist La Macanita and Catalan circus artist Jordi Aspa.
Looking to the future
The programme drawn up by Ibáñez for the 15th Fira Mediterrània places special emphasis on arts projects that look to the future. Designed by contemporary creative artists using traditional material as a basis for their work, they define new 21st century folk culture. The figure of the guest artist, personified this year by Isaki Lacuesta, together with his commission to produce the show for Fira’s closing ceremony, both play a fundamental role in this year’s programme and open up new forms of expression.
One of the remits of Fira’s artistic director is heritage conservation. Under the title of NOSTRUM, Ibáñez is preparing a specific cycle of "highly delicate musical acts whose heritage value places them in need of protection”. One of them is a performance by Valencian traditional singer Xavier de Bétera.
With the aim of promoting Fira’s inclusive spirit, an intrinsic part of any traditional folk event, Ibáñez is also working to make sure that the programme includes arts projects especially designed as participatory events – like the closing ceremony – featuring artists and groups from the local community in and around Manresa. There will also be performances by traditional youth orchestras and bands.
International names for the first time at Fira
The preview programme features some of the leading figures appearing at the 15th Fira Mediterrània, some of whom have not previously performed on the Manresa stages. One of the headlining acts at Fira this year is Noa. The Israeli singer, one of the great vocalists to come from the Mediterranean, will be performing in Manresa on Friday 9 November accompanied by the Solis String Quartet and with a brand new repertoire, a world exclusive.
Also performing at the Kursaal, this time on Saturday 10 November, is the Polish group Kroke, a real institution of Klezmer music, now in their twentieth year and set to make a thrilling live cultural connection with Israeli singer Noa.
Other great acts to look forward to are Cobla Sant Jordi & Niño Josele with a special appearance by Sardinian trumpet-player Paolo Fresu. This is surely going to be one of the most amazing performances at this year’s Fira. Fresu is widely regarded as one of the top European jazz players and will be making his mark on a show led by flamenco guitarist Niño Josele. At Manresa, and in a world exclusive, they will be presenting a brand new repertoire soon to be turned into an eagerly-awaited joint album featuring the guitarist and the Cobla.
The Fira artistic director is working alongside an artistic committee formed by the director of Mercat de les Flors theatre and 2008 National Dance Award winner, Cesc Casadesús; the brains behind Fira del Circ Trapezi de Reus and 2007 National Circus Award winner Jordi Aspa i Bet Miralta; plus the director of the Sabadell festival El més petit de tots, Eulàlia Ribera. The committee’s main objective is to pick top quality acts and encourage reflection and collaborative artistic discourse. This year, the artistic management and the committee have assessed a total of 790 proposals received.
*All tickets for scheduled shows will be on sale from 5 September.
Speech by Isaki Lacuesta at the 15th Fira Mediterrània de Manresa launch event
Now that I’m presenting some of my work as part of Fira Mediterrània I’ve realised that we could maybe use a different kind of plant metaphor, which I rather like: that of grafting. In the end, a lot of what filmmakers do is like grafting – we insert images and add sounds from all kinds of other sources onto an invented trunk or stem. We call this Frankenstein-like discipline montage, and I learned the rules when I was a kid, at the old Museu Darder in Banyoles, where I first saw a pig with a sheep’s head and a butterfly that looked like a leaf.
Using a similar technique, in the work I'm planning to show at Fira I've tried to find out what happens when you put football boots on a dancer's feet, when you mix up film and painting, poetry and cooking, experimenting by putting all kinds of arts disciplines through the blender. Frank Zappa used to say that writing about music was as ridiculous as trying to dance about architecture. I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all, on the contrary, I think of it as the starting-point of an inspirational graft.
Alongside this idea, I can see that these works share an underlying theme, the same one embodied by “The Three Ages and Death” (the famous painting by Hans Baldung Grien hanging in the Prado Museum). The notion of handing over from generation to generation and the passing of time that will turn us all into exquisite corpses. In a piece entitled “M’exalta el nou i m’enamora el vell” (“I am aroused by the new and I love the old”, as a nod to Foix) I filmed Josep Palau i Fabre writing a verse in his ninety year-old fragile, unforgettable handwriting. This verse gave rise to another, based on it, written by the poet Dolors Miquel, which in turn inspired a third, younger writer, Toni Sala. Lastly, poet Josep Pedrals provisionally closed the poem (any work always remains open somewhere) with a rhyme written in his adolescent hand. So, each verse was inspired by the work of previous generations, and the handwriting rejuvenated and looked to an unforeseeable future.
This is exactly what we’re doing. We’re a bunch of grafters and taxidermists, we’ll make pigeons fly like butterflies that look like leaves.
ISAKI LACUESTA, filmmaker
In the last year, Lacuesta’s films have been the object of various international retrospectives (Florence, Cali, Las Palmas, Rome, and so on). Lacuesta has also received tributes such as the Pantalla Hall award at the Ibn Arabi Film Festival in Murcia and the Eloy de la Iglesia award at the Malaga Festival.
He has directed six full-length feature films: the latest, “Los pasos dobles” (2011), won the “Concha de Oro” award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. He also directed “El quadern de fang” (2011, Golden Medal in FIPA Biarritz); “La noche que no acaba” (2010, best documentary at the Toulouse Film Festival, plus audience prize at the Memorimages Festival); “Los Condenados” (2009, Official Section at the San Sebastian Festival, plus the Fipresci International Critics prize and Sant Jordi Prize for best actress); “La leyenda del tiempo” (2006, Rotterdam IFF, also voted best Spanish film of the year by the Catalan Critics’ Association); and the documentary “Cravan vs Cravan” (2002, Sant Jordi Prize for best debut film).
His correspondence with Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase, “In between days” (2009) was premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.
Lacuesta has also shown his art work in museums and galleries (Metrònom Gallery Barcelona, CCCB, Arts Visual Institute of Leipzig, Spanish Academy of Rome, Frankfurt Book Fair, Artium Vitoria). In autumn 2012 his films are due to be screened at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.
The book publisher Phaidon Press has included him in the book “Take 100: The future of Film”, where he is described by the ten most important film festival directors as one of the hundred filmmakers who have had the greatest influence on the future of film.
article submitted by:Jordi Urpí, Fira Mediterrània de Manresa (Catalonia / Spain)