• 00:01 Intro: I make boats, I make houses, I make shops
  • 00:38 Summers in La Garrotxa. Do it yourself
  • 03:37 A student of Fine Arts. Exhibition technician
  • 05:44 Early works: experiential architectures and the passing of time
  • 10:51 The work of art disappears
  • 12:31 Ship builder: 'Fitzcarraldo', Centre d’Art Santa Mònica (2004- 2005)
  • 14:37 Fitzcarraldo: approaching audiences
  • 16:38 Art leaves the museum. Art audiences
  • 19:20 Explanations of art
  • 21:24 Precarities
14/03/2016 24' 1''

'I think if you can explain a work of art with a short story, that’s already enough; you do not need to see it', says Martí Anson (Mataró, 1967) in the statement on his website. The art object is just an illusion. What matters to him are the stories. And art is simply a medium, like any other, to narrate them.

While studying Fine Arts at the Universitat de Barcelona, Anson worked as an exhibition installer: an occupation where he got to know the mechanisms of the art world from the inside. His first pieces were immersed in the spirit of the Catalan Conceptual art of the moment –under the special influence of Pep Agut–, but were also works that bore the imprint of his time as an exhibition installer and his interest in the installation process and the relations established between the artworks and the exhibition space.

Works such as 'L'ull de l'artista' (1995) 'Welcome / Welcome' (1999) – belonging to the MACBA Collection –, 'Bon dia' (1999–2000) and 'L'apartment' (2002), are architectural installations that invite viewers to explore paths that end up frustrating their expectations, whether visual, spatial or conceptual.

Gradually, the artwork disappears and it is the artist, in the process of working, who occupies the museum galleries. In 'Fitzcarraldo' (2004–5), Anson spent fifty-five days building a wooden boat in the Centre d'Art Santa Mònica in Barcelona: the entire duration of the exhibition. In fact, on the opening day the space was empty, because at that moment Anson was only just beginning to unfold the plans.

The artist knew in advance that this sailboat could never leave the museum, as its dimensions were larger than the entrance door. To remove it he had no choice but to destroy it. And Fitzcarraldo thus became a Sisyphean project that questioned the function of public institutions, shook the foundations of the creative process and reassessed the roles of the artist and the viewer.

After this feat, Anson went a step further and hit the streets. In pieces like 'Martí i la fàbrica' (2009), 'Mataró Chauffeur Service' (2011), 'Joaquim and Son' (2012) and 'La botiga de l'Anson' (2015), the artist abandons the spaces of art and takes his stories elsewhere.

Anson’s work establishes a complicity with everyday life, seeking out stories or familiar situations that, translated to an artistic context, acquire new readings and meanings and reach out to new audiences. As he declares on his website: 'Everything I do is a copy of something someone has done before: Peter Handke, Wim Wenders, local stories, political ideas, seventies furniture, holiday homes, etc.'

His influences are eclectic. He is a voracious reader of fiction, including Javier Tomeo, Peter Handke, Thomas Bernhard and George Saunders. But above all he recognises the direct influence of the cinema on his work. Werner Herzog had something to do with his Fitzcarraldo; Wim Wenders is behind a piece like Walt & Travis (2003); and 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (1971) was the inspiration for 'Martí i la fàbrica'. Not only that, Anson also cites Jacques Tati, Buster Keaton and Bruce Willis, while declaring himself a fan of the 'Star Wars' saga.


SpecialsFONS ÀUDIOMartí AnsonFONS ÀUDIOCreative CommonsMACBA Collection #ColMacba31