Joan Cardells (València, 1948)

Joan Cardells (Valencia, 1948) graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Valencia in 1966, and subsequently founded Equipo Realidad (Reality Team), where he developed a socially engaged critical realism. From 1977 onwards Cardells began a series of drawings and sculptures in asbestos cement and stitched cardboard, where he set out to develop the techniques and poetic possibilities of graphite within a restricted thematic repertoire. After winning several awards, such as the Cáceres Sculpture Prize in 1982, and participating in L'Art pour l'Europe: Sculpture Espagnole Contemporaine, in 1989 the artist established his poetic of graphite by means of a dialogue between sculpture and large format drawings. In 2000 he received the Alfons Roig Arts Award from the Valencia City Council.


Cardells has created a continually-reinterpreted imaginary world, featuring olives, pumpkins, jackets, pants, water tanks, asbestos roofs, grenades, cod, pots or torsos, and has recently added roosters and ducks. All of these elements reflect his interest in industry, trade, hardware or traditional tailoring. These are archetypal images whose titles refer to old hardware inventories, as numbers and letters become the artist’s alphabet. The sobriety and balance of his work make up part of a project where the artist denounces the absence of the human figure in his universe of painting and sculpture.

Joan Cardells has exhibited in major national and international museums, including the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), Valencia, Sala Parpalló, Valencia Provincial Governent, the Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Chile, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. His work can be found in important collections, such as the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), the City of Valencia, the Bancaixa Collection, Valencia, the Collection of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, and the Fundació “La Caixa”, Barcelona.