Art and Nature: Welcome to Vallgrassa
It's impossible to understand art without nature. The shapes, the colors, the textures. And that was the premise that illuminated the idea of artist and cultural manager Jordi Aligué who, 23 years ago, found the support of the former director of the Garraf Park, Xavier Roget, in order to adapt the Vallgrassa country house as a contemporary art museum. This blessed 'madness' led to the opening of what is still today the first cultural exhibition center in Catalonia located in a protected territory.
We just associated Vallgrassa, Experimental Arts Center, with contemporary art. But Aligué himself explains: "We prefer to speak in terms of current art, art that is based on the personal vision of its creators, who experiment with the environment and techniques". The result is a dynamic exhibition center, which every year offers 8 to 10 temporary exhibitions, ranging from the most classical disciplines, including painting, engraving, photography, sculpture and poetry, to more avant-garde ones, like video-creation, for example. It also has a fabulous 'wall of smells', where children's workshops are organized for boys and girls to imagine and draw from fragrances based on extracts from the Garraf Park itself. Also poetry, music or even the Mediterranean turtle serve as creative windows for the younger ones.
But since you can't put doors on art, Vallgrassa's proposal needs air. That's why it has an outdoor art itinerary, integrated with the Garraf Park's flora and fauna with panels displaying works by 17 artists, some of them well-known and others up-and-coming. The link in this case is the personal vision that all of them have of this natural wonder, still relatively unknown.
But Vallgrassa's expansive commitment goes far beyond the Garraf Park itself. Jordi Aligué talks about 'creating bridges' with other cities and centers. Bridges like those created with the El Roure Civic Center, in Begues, with La Pahissa del Marquet – Arts – Lletres i Natura del Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac and with territories and cultural agents in cities of Tuscany and Umbria (en Italia) or Alghero (in Sardinia), under the illustrative name of 'Mediterrart, art dialogues in the Mediterranean'. There is also a solid cultural bridge linking Vallgrassa with the Ethnographic Museum of Orozko, in the Basque Country.
Bridges, on the one hand. And specific names, on the other. The names of the artists who have helped to make Vallgrassa's wager a winning one. Names like those of the photographer Humberto Rivas, or the poet Carles Hac Mor, who has his own space in the center. Illustrious figures in contemporary Catalan art, such as the painters Antoni Tàpies and Josep Guinovart, who have exhibited there. And like them, many other artists from Catalan, Basque or Italian contemporary art, including new emerging talents. And everyday names: including Ana Bellvehí, Arturo Blasco or Jordi Aligué, who are the greased engine that maintains and drives this effervescent cultural space.
All of them are names that have contributed to making this art center a place of reference for so many art lovers. "We truly have a loyal public that visits us very regularly and that, without a doubt, are a stimulus and a motivation for us".
In case you want to join the community of 'Vallgrassanians', you should know that the center is open from 10 am to 2 pm, from Friday to Sunday. And, in the event that you feel like spreading the excitement of your visit right down to your legs, we remind you that the Garraf Park has some wonderful trails to enjoy its flora and fauna, for example, the Ancient Olivella Castle or the route to the Holy Trinity Chapel. Art, nature and outings. Yes, another fantastic plan, as almost always in Sitges ;)