The Empordà is Guillermo Basagoiti Brown’s adopted home. He tells me right from the start that he wasn’t born here, but that this is where he grazes, an Asturian expression that I couldn’t agree more with. Self-taught in his art and work, his efforts as person and artist are both physical and intellectual, in his research and his reflections.
He is one of the founders of the Espai Tònic, in Vulpellac, a workshop gallery dedicated to artistic research, and combines his work with managing the gallery. The result of a lack of non-politicized, free and honest spaces in the region, the Espai Tònic is fast becoming an innovative hub.
It was the sea that drew him to the Empordà, which he bonds with as he does with sculpture: through physical effort. His contact with the sea was driven by a desire to move along horizontal planes, which led to him being hired by a boat rental company in Estartit. And that’s where he stayed, sometimes sailing, but above all developing his passion and intellectual interests through art.
In his last exhibition in the Espai Tonic, “Epigènesis”, Guillermo revealed his philosophy on the development of his creations. A transformation of earlier sculptures imbued with their surroundings and experiences. His sculptures are
created from branches and tree trunks which he pares with great care and dedication, and which afterwards he sculpts into circular, square and other geometric shapes… some of which he paints in indigo-blue as an expression of his own vitality and creativity. For him, sculpture is a conceptual element of reflection, each piece is loaded with information, and if you pull a loose thread, all manner of mysteries can be unravelled.
For Guillermo, the concept of freedom is an unknown. He tells me we can be overly frivolous when talking about freedom: “essentially, we’re trapped inside who we are, we’re not free. What is freedom from our psychological space?” An array of unknowns is portrayed in his work and can be seen clearly in work such as “Tablas” (Boards), displayed in the gallery’s wonderful “horno” (kiln) space, a piece construed as a game without rules, but which anyone can play for precisely that reason. “In this world where we live, dominated by both physical and virtual borders, playing is a delightful experience”.
Guillermo Basagoiti has two projects on the way, the first “En Expansión” (In Expansion) features two inflated, lung-like truck tires. The second project is titled “268041” and is inspired by a Renault 4L. 268041 was the number of kilometers his Renault 4 had done before breaking down once and for all. The car’s slow speed meant he was able to enjoy the views of the countryside, his love for it now becoming a work of art. ⁂
Text: Marisa Escribano