‘Scala Terrae’, art integrated in the Priorat

‘Scala Terrae’, art integrated in the Priorat

With an eye on the reunion between art and territory, the artist Marta Ricart Masip (Solsona) began, four years ago, the project to create Scala Terrae in the Cartoixa d’Escaladei, a visual arts proposal that returns the value to place and matter, re-undertaking and updating an ancient creation language. «The initiative originates from the invitation I received from the Associació Addend within the framework of the Priorat en Persona Arts Visuals project which, inspired by the Priorat en Persona, the Priorat literary dictionary, invites artists to create a relationship and an interpretation of some element of the territory ”, explains Marta Ricart.

«They are neither pieces nor works. What I present in the Cartoixa d’Escaladei are three elements: an inverted arch, a descending staircase and a chromatic range of local colors, which are integrated back into the place, with the intention of providing movement and opening it up », explains the artist, for whom art “has an integrating function, beyond aesthetics.”

A staircase going down and not up. PHOTO: LOAN

During the creation process, Marta Ricart has worked on-site in Priorat. “It has been four years in which I have visited the territory, walked, listened, talked with neighbors … And in the course, Montserrat Domingo, a nun from the Serra de Montsant, accompanied me”, recalls Ricart, whose gratitude also extends to Montserrat Cortadellas, Francesc Vidal, Roser Vernet, Marta de Rialp, Laura Frasquet, Josep Palet, Roger Guinau, Josep de Rialp, Pep Divins, Jordi Vilar, Anna del Valle, Josefina Martí, Joma Rius, Rafel Rodell, Josep Papaseit, Jaume Plans , Carles Quevedo, Roser Melero, El Boixet, Solsona Town Hall and M. Elena Morató.

The elements

Unlike the historic arch of the Cartoixa d’Escaladei site, «which has a protective function, my inverted arch becomes a seesaw, a rocking movement, representing waiting for something to happen, looking towards the Serra de Montsant », explains the artist.

As for the staircase going down and not going up, Marta Ricart describes that «it is made of clay and in the process of creation the potter Josep Papaseit from Miravet helped me, to achieve, technically and with the passage of time, that the element is disintegrate to be absorbed and returned to earth; and for this reason the clay is not fired, so that the ladder is not fixed and continues its process ».

Examples of local color gammas. PHOTO: LOAN

In the last element, a color-tone, «a series of chromatic gammas (made with local dye plants) generate specific tones that emerge from the place itself and that, depending on the position and the relationship they have with light and colors adjacent, they generate a different tone (equivalent to a musical key) ». “I wanted to show how color transforms when it comes into contact with some element, a fascinating interrelation because from a single element you can obtain many others,” says Marta Ricart, to whom the development of Scala Terrae has brought back memories of childhood. “When I was nine I asked my family to take me to the Cartoixa d’Escaladei so that I could get under the arches,” he explains.

With the place and for the place

“Scala Terrae is part of a broader work of search and knowledge focused on places and people, that is, a creation proposal made with the place and for the place”, says the artist, who emphasizes that “Priorat is one of the areas of Catalonia that still retains its authenticity ». Thus, regarding the influence that the territory has on it, Marta Ricart says that «artists who have this method of work, experience processes of recognition and transformation, at the same time that it makes the elements unique. Thus begins the way to understand art in a different way ». A travel companion for life.


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‘Scala Terrae’, art integrated in the Priorat