Mandorla Ignis

Benet Rossell
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In this piece, the interdisciplinary artist Benet Rossell presents us with his own personal take on celebrations and traditions, with taste for the surreal. An almond, an image for the countryside is the focus of the piece, which will take us on a journey through different locations of the Catalan geography and their celebrations. The videographic document, whose format is quite innovative, combines information about exhibitions and a festive ritual organised by the artist himself. The piece is at the same time a work of video art and a work of poetry.
Rossell, a mythic figure in the contemporary Catalan art world, presents in this piece his relation to the social and spacial environment. The video starts with the image of a moving landscape of infinite fields of almond trees. An almond dances before the camera and directs our gaze. The music of Pau Casals (a Catalan referent in the performance of both classic and popular music) is replaced by that of Jaume Sisa (also a Catalan referent, but in this case, of psychedelia) when the almond arrives in Barcelona. The same dancing almond will walk along the streets and among the monuments of the Condal City, showing interest in Colón’s statue (which Rossell, together with Miralda, already worked on in other projects, such as Súbete a Colón). With the flying nut as a guide, walking down the Ramblas, we will arrive at the Palau de la Virreina, where an exhibition of the artist is taking place. The journey will then continue through Catalunya and its main referents until we arrive at the city of Lleida, where we find another exhibition of Rossell’s. In both exhibitions there is a huge wooden sculpture of an egg with the outer texture of an almond. Catalan tradition speaks of the “ou com balla” (the dancing egg), an egg suspended at the top of the spring of a fountain. Rossell turns this tradition around making of the almond the main element, while the egg is turned into the fountain. The video ends with a spectacular street celebration, led by the theatre group Comediants. Fire becomes the mystic element of the festive ritual, as the big egg sculpture is burnt down.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Mandorla Ignis
  • Direction: Benet Rossell
  • Production: Videolab. 1997.
  • Duration: 00:20:10
  • Languages: Catalan
  • Subtitles: English
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright