On Thursday 8th October, at exactly 7.00 pm, the exhibition ‘Figures of Doubleness’ at Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona opened its doors. The exhibition space is the nerve centre of the festival IF Barcelona – Puppets, Machines and Strings, an exhibition occupying two floors at Arts Santa Mònica, which is probably the biggest exhibition ever held in Barcelona on puppets and marionettes, in the broadest sense of the terms.
Arts Santa Mònica, at the end of the Rambles. Photo Puppetring.
From an idea by Toni Rumbau and Anna Valls, and curated by Toni Rumbau and Cesc Martínez, the exhibition has been created with design by the architect Dani Freixes, a highly considered personality in the field of Catalan and Spanish museum design. He is the author of, among many others, the TOPIC Museum of Tolosa in the Basque Country, and the Cinema Museum of Girona. IF Barcelona is a project of considerable complexity, given that, apart from the exhibition, shows, meetings and a magnificent catalogue are also offered. Besides the aforementioned Toni Rumbau and Cesc Martínez, the production team is comprised by Giulia Poltronieri and Jordi Alomar (logistics and production) and Tomeu Mulet (graphic design).
Catalan puppet of the Anglès family. Collection: MAE, Museu de les Arts Escèniques del Institut del Teatre. Photo Puppetring.
This exhibition has its origins in the the magazine Puppetring and our desire to give greater visibility to the current significance of puppet theatre, visual and object theatre, in Catalonia and worldwide. The idea is the result of a meeting between the director of Puppetring, Toni Rumbau, and Anna Valls, director of MAE (Museu de les Arts Escèniques, or the Museum of Theatre Arts) of the Barcelona Theatre Institute. Together they agreed to create a significant event in order to celebrate the wealth both of the puppetry heritage – especially that of the MAE collection – and of professional puppeteers in Catalonia.
Tomeu and Locu, by Marduix Titelles, in the secció “Hands” on the second floor of the exhibition. Photo Puppetring.
The exhibition opening was presided over by Ferran Mascarell, Minister of Culture of the Generalitat of Catalonia, which commissioned the exhibition, and Jaume Reus, Director of Arts Santa Mònica. The Seven Doors of Otherness comprise the first floor of the exhibition, beginning with the doorway The Threshold. The exhibition continues on the second floor with the Puppet Storeroom, a display, in eight sections, of the different techniques and possibilities that contemporary puppet theatre offers practitioners, seen through the work of the profession’s most illustrious local figures.
Ferran Mascarell and Dani Freixes ascending the stairs for the opening of the exhibition. Photo Román Yñán, Arts Santa Mònica.
A broad representation of the puppet profession and related artists attended the event, with the presence of many well-known faces from the world of visual, mechanical and object theatre.
The audience in the Plaça (the Square) ready for the beginning of the performance by Joan Baixas. Photo Román Yñán, Arts Santa Mònica.
At 8.00 in the evening, the performance began of the show by Joan Baixes ‘Oh la la!, la marionnette!’, which inaugurated La Plaça, on the second floor. Here, most of the shows programmed for family and school audiences will take place. ‘Oh la la!, la marionnette!’ can be seen again at Arts Santa Mònica on 28th October and 8th November.
A moment from the performance by Joan Baixas, with Sr. Baixas – a puppet that is his double. Photo Román Yñán, Arts Santa Mònica.
Articles about the exhibition and shows, will appear in Puppetring during the three months of IF Barcelona and the exhibition Figures of Doubleness.
The catalogue-book of the exhibition is published with the title ‘Figures del Desdoblament’ (Figures of Doubleness), edited by IF Barcelona and published by Comanegre publishers, under the patronage of the Diputació de Barcelona. As well as offering a collection of the main aspects of the exhibition and a profusion of images, it presents six superb essays on different subjects related to puppets and otherness. The book can be acquired online, directly from the publisher Comanegre – click here. All the texts appear in Catalan, Spanish and English.
Toni Rumbau presents the project during the press conference, together with Giulia Poltronieri, Anna Valls and Cesc Martínez. Photo Jesús Atienza.
Please note: tickets are now on sale for all programmed shows, whether for family school or adult audiences. Numbers are limited, so please book your tickets as soon as possible! For the programme, click here. To buy tickets, click here for Ticketea. To make reservations for weekday schools’ performances, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Image of “Hell”. In the foreground, Baby Ogres by Eudald Ferré, from the show El Polzet by Pa Sucat. Photo Román Yñán, Arts Santa Mònica.
Below, images from the exhibition.
Heads of Catalan puppets. Collection: MAE, Museu de les Arts Escèniques de l’Institut del Teatre. Section “Devotion”. Photo Puppetring.
Marionettes from La Corrida de Toros, by Carles Cañellas, Rocamora Teatre. Section: “Strings”. Photo Puppetring.
Marionette by Harry V. Tozer in the section “Strings”. Collection: MAE, Museu de les Arts Escèniques del Institut del Teatre. Photo Puppetring.
Joan, Man of Flesh, by Marcel·lí Antúnez. with his occasional movements, he animates the space “Otherness: Observation of Oneself”. Photo Román Yñán, Arts Santa Mònica.
Bird by the company Artristras flying over the staircase that joins the two floors of Arts Santa Mònica. Photo Puppetring.
Procession of Robertos, puppets by Manuel Rosado, from the Lisbon Museu da Marionetes, one of the jewels of the exhibition, with processional movement created by the inventor Oriol Font. In the section “Devotion”. Foto Puppetring.
‘La Brutal Pequeñez’, composition by Shaday Larios in the section “Sheaf of Arts”. Photo Puppetring.
Marionette heads, by Mariona Masgrau. Collection: TOPIC Museum, Tolosa. In the section “Sheaf of Arts”. Photo Puppetring.
I wish I could have seen this exhibit. Fifty years ago, I met Jaime Angles and admired his puppet show. His two boxers animated very well. And I was extremely happy when he added a puppet to my collection. The collection is now at North West Puppet Center in Seattle, Washington, USA.