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A Danish artist's 'anagram' of Catalonia

Resident Michael Kirkegaard's exhibition of 947 glass jars containing soil from places all over the country goes on display in Manresa

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03 May 2019 06:56 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

Catalonia's 947 mayors have all received a glass jar with a message asking them to fill it up with soil from their municipality. Two thirds of them, some 581, did so, and sent the jars back. Now those jars full of earth are the focus of a new exhibition in Manresa.

Enyorança. Catalunya avui’ (Longing. Catalonia today) is the name of the exhibition by the Danish resident and artist, Michael Kirkegaard, whose installation is his unique way of calling for dialogue to deal with Catalonia's current political crisis.

Kirkegaard, whose installation can be seen in Manresa's Casino cultural center until June 23, says the earth represents life and fertility, and that the soil trapped in the hundreds of glass jars represents "fertility on standby."

The pots of soil, earth and sand from all over Catalonia show a range of colours and shades, making an anagram of the country, and Kirkegaard says that while two thirds of the mayors responded, he hopes more will follow suit so that the installation can be completed.

"A library-archive of Catalonia's lands"

Kirkegaard was born in 1953 in Copenhagen, but came to live in Catalonia over a decade ago, long enough for him to "safely" go ahead with his project he first thought of in 2005, and that he also says aims to be "a library-archive of Catalonia's lands."

The pots of earth are displayed on shelves within four wooden walls lined with paper that imitates stone, and that form a shack inspired by Joan Miró's famous painting, 'La Masia' (The Farm), which the artist considers "a symbol of Catalan identity."

While Kirkegaard insists his work is not political, and that the exhibition has nothing to do with the upcoming local elections, he admits the project is to be understood against the backdrop of the current political situation, as a call for dialogue.

Manresa's culture councillor, Anna Crespo, called the exhibition, which was produced by the local council, "simple but very eloquent" and said she hopes the installation can go on a tour of Catalonia's municipalities "to enrich the country's cultural circuit."

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  • Kirkegaard discusses his art installation with councillor Anna Crespo (Anna Busquets/ACN)

  • Kirkegaard discusses his art installation with councillor Anna Crespo (Anna Busquets/ACN)

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