Fina Miralles

1950 | Sabadell, Spain
Fina Miralles — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fina Miralles, Translacions. Dona-arbre [Translations. Woman-Tree], documentation of the Performance Carried Out in November 1973 in Sant Llorenç del Munt, Spain, 1973 (1992/2020), exhibition view Fina Miralles. Soc totes les que he sigut[Fina Miralles. I Am All the Selves that I Have Been], Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona [November 5, 2020 – April 5, 2021], © MACBA, © Photo: Roberto Ruiz

Spanish Conceptual artist.

Josefina Miralles Nobell, known as Fina Miralles, studied art at the Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi in Barcelona. She later spent time in Italy, France, various Latin American countries and elsewhere, before settling down in the Catalan town of Cadaqués (Girona). She began her artistic career in the 1970s and became affiliated with the Catalan Conceptual group. During those years, in addition to making art, she also played a significant role in the founding and management of contemporary art venues in Catalonia, notably the Sala Vinçon and the Fundació Joan Miró’s Espacio 10, both located in Barcelona, and the Sala Tres in Sabadell.
F. Miralles’s work is marked by its connection with nature, the dialectic between the natural and the artificial, and an interrogation of the barriers between animals and humans. This interest is manifested in pieces like Translacions. Dona-arbre [Translations. Woman-tree, 1973] and exhibitions such as Naturaleses naturals (1973) and Imatges del zoo (1974), which led to her work being associated with Land Art. She also became interested in linking her practice with popular culture, particularly that of Catalonia – an interest she shared with other Conceptual artists featured in the group show Valors actuals del costumari català [Current values of Catalan customs, 1976].

Following the death of the dictator Francisco Franco, in 1975, her work became more clearly conditioned by the prevailing political and social circumstances, and considerations regarding structural patriarchy and symbols of power and death. Although F. Miralles has never identified herself as a feminist artist, clearly the feminist perspective and women’s issues have always been present in her work in one way or another. This is evident in the series of photomontages Matances [Massacres, 1977], which, from an autobiographical perspective, interrogates both physical and psychological death, as well as gender roles. This work is an explicit criticism of the strict moral codes to which women were subjected during the dictatorship.
Her work was greeted with international acclaim early on, and was included in the París (1977) and Venice (1978) biennials. Following the latter exhibition, at a time when a shift was occurring in the Spanish art scene in general, F. Miralles returned to painting, a medium she had once consciously rejected in a reaction against the rigidly academic artistic education that had been imposed on her. She began by experimenting with colour, plane and surfaces, revealing a fascination with materiality. Later, during the mid-1980s, she turned to fully figurative painting, expressing a quest for spirituality and lyricism.

F. Miralles’s work has been systematically neglected in publications and historical accounts of Spanish art in the 1970s. Nevertheless, since the early 2000s, several institutions have started to correct this lacuna with solo shows, such as Fina Miralles. De les idees a la vida [From life to ideas, Museu d’Art de Sabadell, 2001] and Fina Miralles. Soy todas las que he sido [I am all the Selves I have been, MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2020-2021]. Her work has been acquired by Spain’s leading contemporary art museums, among them the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the MACBA and the Museu d’Art de Sabadell.

Lola Visglerio Gómez

Translated from Spanish by Leo Stephen Turgoff.

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