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José Prades Ceuma

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About the Artist/Site

Born during one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War, in an area where most of the locals shared (the ultimately losing) political views in opposition to those held by Prades’s family, José grew up bitter and suspicious. He spoke to few neighbors and never married, yet he was a conscientious farmer, rigging up an extensive and fairly elaborate system for irrigating the fruit trees, vines, and other seedlings he planted on his property. After Generalísimo Franco’s death in 1975 and the repulsion of the coup attempt to overthrow Spain’s fledgling parliamentary monarchy in 1981, Prades became even more insular and guarded.

But as he continued working his land, this angry man decided to do something extraordinary: to expand and ornament his simple agricultural building in the middle of the family’s fields. It appears that beginning in 1998, irate at the changing mores and political dynamics, he began to create an homage to the old Spain and to the Church that had supported Franco’s ruthless authority. Replete with brightly painted concrete geometrical ornaments and a running written commentary, Prades’s multicolored work is a starkly incongruous site in the middle of the green vineyards of the Terra Alta.

The concept of the pious (and culturally homogeneous) Spain that José Prades Ceuma held so dearly is no longer the one that exists in reality, and his dream has become a memorial not only to that isolated and unkind Spain of old, but to its isolated and unkind true believer. Since his death, and with no relatives or friends to care for the site, it is unlikely that his work will endure much longer.

~Jo Farb Hernández

 



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Gandesa, Catalonia, Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 41.052438 / 0.437267

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