Joan Vendrell & Roser Oduber, the artists inspiring artists
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Where does creativity come from? Must it come from sleepless nights never changing our clothes nor shoes, like it did for Michelangelo? Or from working on a horrendous hangover, like it did for Francis Bacon? Or perhaps from obsessively collecting knick-knacks, like it did for Andy Warhol? After having spent a weekend in Calders, Cataluña with Roser Oduber and Joan Vendrell, I can confirm that creativity does not need to come from eccentric habits like these. Indeed, sometimes the greatest forms of creativity are sparked by sharing in the creativity of others. And in Calders, the cycle of creation is alive and well.
Thirty-five years ago, Roser and Joan waved goodbye to the world of comics (though their son went on to make an exceptional name for himself in the business) and replanted themselves and their passions in an abandoned lime kiln district in the remote village of Calders. Like the miners before them, Roser and Joan saw something special in Calders. They worked determinedly to extract success from the land beneath their feet. As miners in the twenty-first century, their vision was to restore a trace of the past and introduce the future all the same and it manifested in the space they came to call CACiS, Centre d'Art Contemporani i Sostenibilitat El Forn de la Calç.
In the years that have followed, Calders has become a site where cultural heritage is not only maintained but also fortified by new artistic creation, with artists like Alèxia Lleonart, Angélica Chávez, Izabela Oldak, Joaquim Falcó, Josep Morral, Maria Picanyol, Marina Berdalet, Ramon Brichs, Sharon Kallis, and the same Roser Oduber (who is recognized as one of the most important current informalist artists) drawing from the inspiration of the place and infusing it with their own contemporary thoughts and reflections. Year after year, Roser and Joan build upon the creative energies there by igniting their own visions for the place and inviting influential artists to interact with it and reinvigorate it. Creativity, it seems, is the currency there.
If my own experience at CACiS is any indication, Calders is made all the richer thanks to Roser and Joan and their infusion of creativity there. In the spirit of celebrating the superstar role they play there, I’ve invited them to share a few thoughts. Draw from their (translated!) creativity below:
What inspired you both to create and lead a cultural space in Calders? What impact do you hope to have?
We were inspired to recuperate the heritage of Calders and give it a new use, or really, a new purpose. We hope to bring the community closer to contemporary art through the history of our rural world.
What is your favorite part of interacting with the community?
We love educating in general, especially those most young. And there is something special about highlighting the importance of the woman in balancing nature that we love.
In your opinions, why does community matter when talking about the arts and culture?
The arts and culture are communication and without community there is no reason for communication.
Superstar Spotlight: Roser Oduber and Joan Vendrell
Superstar strengths: being optimistic and creator-tastic
Superstar secret talents: dreaming without waking
Superstar noteworthy quotes: “Nuestra capacidad para transformar la Tierra ha promovido la ilusión de que controlamos la naturaleza, que de algún modo, estamos separados de ella (...). En la actualidad, nuestra supervivencia como especie depende de nuestra capacidad para adaptar nuestro entorno a nuevos procedimientos. La solución a este tema, fundamental en nuestra época, determinará nuestra viabilidad como especie. Debemos adaptar nuestras instituciones y nuestros edificios, paisajes y asentamientos a este objetivo” / "¿No será la locura un estado superior de inteligencia?" (borrowed from Anne Whiston Spirin and Gustave Flaubert, respectively)