Josep Riera i Aragó

Born in Barcelona, Spain, 1954

 

In 1973 he enrols at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona and very soon, this same year, start exhibiting his work in several Spanish galleries.

 

Decade of the 80’s

 

During the 1980s he would discover his interest in the deep-sea environment, airplanes and sculptures operated by engines. The possibility of using casting techniques to make a number of pieces from a single mould leads him to produce sculptures that share the same idea of accumulation. In 1985 he produces large paintings of lighthouses, zeppelins and flying submarines on iron and wood with lead, zinc and other reliefs, most of which he works by employing chemical reactions and fire. In 1987 he travels to central and southern Morocco, where the landscape of the Anti-Atlas mountain range and his contact with the Berbers make a profound impression on him. He incorporates elements of the Moroccan landscape into his bronze sculptures. In 1988 he produces installations with small cast-bronze sculptures based on fragments of objects found on the beach and waste cardboard and wood. He produces sculptures made out of sheet iron bought at the ship breaker’s yard in Barcelona. Propellers, in the main made of cast iron, become more and more important in his sculptures. Solo exhibitions in Barcelona, Madrid, Lleida (Spain), Köln (Germany), Aalst (Belgium), Paris (France). Hi produces installations for the Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona, Spain, the Fodor Museum of Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Palais des Rois de Mallorque in Perpignan, France, the Raffinerie du Plan K of Brussels, Belgium, among others. Solo exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Ceret and Musée de Collioure, France. His sculpture Large plane with Blue propeller is installed in the gardens of the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. The City Council of Figueres, Spain, commissions him to produce an sculpture for the town, Big plane with yellow.

 

Decade of the 90’s

 

In 1990 his sculpture Buried Submarine, commissioned by Barcelona City Council, is unveiled in the Hiroshima Gardens in Barcelona. In 1991 Nishinomiya City Council in Japan commissions him to produce Avió Najio, which is to be sited in the central square of a new city being built. In Japan he becomes especially interested in the temples in the region of Kansai. In 1992, commissioned by Barcelona City Council, he produces a bronze low relief that measures more than 60 square meters for the new Ecumenical Center being built for the Barcelona Olympic Games.

The City Council of Sant Cugat (Barcelona) commissioned a work made of bronze on iron to be placed on the lintel over the entrance of the Auditorium of the city, and a large sculpture to be placed in a square of the city, Gran avió d’helix vermella.  In 1993 he produces a low relief in bronze for the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona and the sculpture Airplane 1,05 PM for the Fondation Van Gogh in Arles. In 1995 he makes the sculpture  S-2623, which consists of 2.623 small submarines that bring up a large submarine measuring five meters. This work is later installed in the hall of the Dumont Venture headquarters in Köln, Germany. He starts combining water and bronze in several of his sculptures. In 1996 he produces for the Ramón Llull University in Barcelona two large bronze low-reliefs with motifs that allude to the work of the medieval philosopher Ramón Llull. The Städtische Museen in Heilbronn, Germany, purchases Submarine on the wall, and the Musée d’Arles – Musée Réattu, France, the sculpture Avió Mosquit V.  In 1997 he produces his first Aral sculptures in bronze. One of these large pieces is installed temporarily on the Pont Neuf in Toulouse, France, during the Festival Garonne. The Barcelona City Council commissioned an edition of small sculptures for the 1999 City of Barcelona Awards. His work is presented at the group exhibitions at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, at the Städtische Museen Heilbronn, Germany, at the Kunstmuseum of Aarau in Switzerland, the Musée Réattu in Arles, the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle in  Calais, France, the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, IVAM Centre Julio González in Valencia, Spain. He has solo exhibitions in several european galeries and museums such as the Stadtsiche Museum of Heilbronn, Germany, the Fondation Van Gogh of Arles, France, and the PMMK Museum vor Moderne Kunst of Ostende, Belgium. And also in Bogota, Colombia; Miami and New York, USA; Paris, France; Cologne, Freiburg and Darmstadt, Germany; Amsterdam and The Hague, Netherland.

 

 

Decade of the 00’s

 

In 2001 he produced landscape sculptures and his first Islands sculptures. In 2002 and 2003 produces large works made of wrought iron. The brighter colors that he has been using in recent years in his sculptures now begin to appear in his paintings. In 2005 he travels to Australia to produce several sculptures in Adelaide, works in recovery iron and bronze.  In 2006 he takes part in 2006 Beaufort exhibition with two Aral sculptures of 7 and 8 meters of height, installed in the Bredene beach, Belgium, and with the Retrospective Landscape installation at the PMMK Museum of Oostende, Belgium. The Tourism Ministry of Flandes purchases the Aral sculptures to be permanently installed in Mesen, Belgium. In 2007 begins a series of sculptures called "protected species", made with thousands of small submarines inserted in steel rods as Orange submarine or Coral. He participates in numerous exhibitions: at the Art Center Berlin Friedrichstrasse, in Germany, at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, in Netherlands, at the Marlborough Gallery in Madrid and with Ars Fundum Collection in the events of the Biennial of Seville. In 2009 he installs several sculptures for the exhibition Dinamyek in the gardens Buitenplaats Tessloo, in Netherlands. He joins the exhibition The sculptor hand in the Tasende Gallery, La Jolla, San Diego, USA and in the traveling exhibition I have a dream, a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., in the USA and Spain. Solo exhibitions in galleries, museums and foundations of european cities, including Hertogenbosch, Den Haag, and Amsterdam, Netherlands; in Hamburg and Fürth, Germany; in Aalst and Damme, Belgium; in Ceuta, Palma de Mallorca, Girona, Madrid and Barcelona, among others in Spain; in Thayngen, Switzerland. In Atlanta, Los Angeles, La Jolla, USA; and in Adelaide, Australia.

 

 

Decade of the 10’s

 

In 2010 he develops new paintings and sculptures on lead and zinc. In 2011 he performs his two solo exhibitions Le Reve du Navigateur at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Ceret, and the Musée de Collioure, and Les Mondes inconnus, a surprising installation in the Aquarium Observtoire Océanologique in Banyuls sur Mer, in France. The exhibition Le Rêve du Navigateur is displayed at the Musée d'Art Modern André Malraux - MuMa in Le Havre, France. Riera i Aragó - Etchings, a solo exhibition with a selection of 60 etchings, is presented in the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in several european cities: Athens, Greece; Krakow and Warsaw, Poland; and Hamburg, Munich and Bremen, Germany. Solo exhibitions in Helsinki, Finland; Paris, France; Torroella de Montgri,  Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain; Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf, Germany; La Jolla, San Diego, USA. Solo exhibition at the Fondation Folon in Belgium, installing several large sculptures at the Parc Tournay-Solvay in Brussels.

 

Riera i Aragó lives and works in Barcelona, Spain.

Riera i Aragó in the Abraham Ecumenical Center, Olimpic Village, Barcelona

Riera i Aragó in Japan during the production of the sculpture Avió Najio

Riera i Aragó during the production of Avío Ceret

Riera i Aragó in his workshop in Barcelona

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