Stylites locations: Aiguamúrcia, Santes Creus, Belltall, Vallbona de les Monges, Vallclara, Vimbodí, Poblet
The Forest of the Stylites Route - The Walk of the Lonely
Landscape sculpture Project which proposes an itinerary through the Cistercian monasteries, churches, convents, castles, natural sites and places of interest in the territory of the Conca de Barberà, Alt Camp and Urgell regions
“Art is not the exclusive Heritage of Cities”
Mateo Vilagrasa (2005)
The Forest of the Stylites – The Walk of the Lonely (2020-21)
395 x 25 x 25 cm (base 200 x 200 x 25 cm + column 320 cm + figure 75 cm)
Launched by the Mateo Vilagrasa Foundation
With the Support of the Culture Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya
In 1996, the title of this work was Autistic Forest and, from the beginning, it addressed loneliness and autism in art. The set of sculptures, the Stylites, are representations of human figures placed on columns, and built in reinforced concrete, the work of the artist Mateo Vilagrasa.
Forest of art that evokes the first anchorites, the religious who sought perfection and communication with God in solitude, on the fringes of society, in abandoned huts (the Hermits) or on columns (the Stylites).
Vilagrasa represented the concept of autism, understood as an expression of emotional isolation and self-reflection in the face of stereotyped behavior. It is an installation designed for a rural space, an optimal environment to invite us to the necessary introspection and reflection on our way of relating and defining ourselves in a mass society.
ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION
The Forest of the Stylites was conceived by Vilagrasa in 2005, when he installed his workshop in the Sant Llorenç de Vila-rodona Convent. It could not be carried out due to the accident that the artist suffered in 2006, which left him a quadriplegic. He died in November 2018 without seeing his project carried out, so the Foundation that bears his name takes on the challenge of fulfilling his wish. It is the artist’s legacy to the place where he lived and worked the last years of his active life.
The first phase of the project, that is, the production and placement of 7 Stylites in the towns of Santes Creus, Poblet, Vallbona de les Monges, Vimbodí, Vallclara, Aiguamúrcia and Belltall, is nearing completion. The project includes two more phases in the coming years: it is planned to produce and install 7 more sculptures at sites in the Urgell and Alt Camp regions.
In 2008 the Mateo Vilagrasa Foundation organized in El Castell de La Cardosa, a building declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest, and currently the headquarters of the Mateo Vilagrasa Foundation, an exhibition of pictorial work on the subject. Likewise, the prototype of the Stylite in natural size and its reduced size version, edition of 75 copies in white bronze, was presented to the public.
The Forest of the Stylites – The Walk of the Lonely starts from the premise and the conviction of its author that “art is not the exclusive heritage of cities”, in the words of Vilagrasa. Regarding the arrangement and location of the group of sculptures, he wanted to place them “at the entrances of the different towns, crossroads and strategic points, thus configuring a forest of art.” The location aims to reproduce its original site, such as the route of the monasteries and convents, the work is intended to recall the journey or, rather, the walk of the solitary towards the convent, evoking the history of the monasteries.
“Stylite” – Camí del Bosch, Vallclara
“Stylite” – Camí de la Planeta, Santes Creus
“I am a thinker who paints” Mateo Vilagrasa
Multidisciplinary artist with a long career, originally from the Maestrazgo (east of the province of Teruel), of nomadic life and spirit, whose work transits between figuration and abstraction. He ends up establishing himself in Barcelona, and it is in his studio in Poble Nou that he creates a large part of his work. Later he acquired the Sant Llorenç de Vila-rodona Convent (Alt Camp – Tarragona), which he reformed to live and move his workshop. During the last stage of his life, he settled in La Cardosa (La Segarra – Cervera, Lérida).
His work (painting, drawing, sculpture) takes on greater meaning, accompanied by his intellectual legacy, such as the two volumes of Libro de Libros (2017), as well as his Aphorisms and the Manifesto on Art and Freedom. In 2019, Viatge d’hivern (Winter Travel) was premiered in Barcelona, a documentary about his life and work, as well as an unconditional plea in favor of Art and the Artist, which becomes a posthumous document, as Vilagrasa dies unexpectedly during filming.
Mateo Vilagrasa (2018)
“Autistic Forest” (1998)
Support institutions of the territory
The Mateo Vilagrasa Foundation (FMV) expresses its gratitude to the mayors and staff of the municipalities, who have participated in this first phase of the project, for their collaboration and support:
- Mr. Joan Canela – Vimbodí i Poblet Town Council Mayor
- Mr. Rosendo Roig – Vallclara Town Council Mayor
- Ms. Dolors Palma – Aiguamúrcia Town Council Mayor
- Ms. Elisabet Riera – Vallbona de les Monges Town Council Mayor
- Mr. Magí Ninot – Passanant i Belltall Town Council Mayor
- Ms. Susanna Andreu – Vimbodí i Poblet and Vallclara Town Council Secretary
- Ms. Carme Masó – Aiguamúrcia Town Council Secretary
- Mr. Pau Minguet – Passanant i Belltall Town Hall Culture Councilor
Likewise, it appreciates the involvement and interest of the people of the following entities in the territory:
- Mr. Rafel Barrué – Father Prior Poblet Abbey
- Mr. Jordi Agrás – Territorial Director of Culture of the Generalitat in Tarragona
- Mr. Joan Josep Garcia – Delegate of Culture of the Diputación in Tarragona
- Mr. Joan Josep Ardanuy – Director Institut d’Estudis Ilerdencs, Diputación de Lérida
- Ms. Gràcia Auró – Regional Councilor for Tourism Urgell
- Mr. Juli Alegre – Director of Tourism Promotion, Diputación de Lérida
- Ms. Mireia Bonet – Head of Tourism Regional Council of the Conca de Barberà
- Ms. Marina Rañé – Technical Area Tourism Regional Council of Alt Camp
- Ms. Mireia Vilalta – Tárrega Art and Design High School Director (EASD Ondara)
- Ms. Marta Agustí – Tárrega Art and Design High School Coordinator (EASD Ondara)
Sponsorship and patronage
In the first place, the FMV thanks the Culture Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and particularly Ms. Conxita Oliver, head of the Artistic Diffusion and Cooperation Area, and Ms. Laura Gea, of the Subdirectorate General for Cultural Promotion, without whose support and help the first phase of the project could not have started.
Secondly, it conveys special thanks to the companies, entities and individuals who, with their sponsorship and patronage, have contributed to the production and placement of the first seven Stylite sculptures:
- Sponsorship Poblet and Santes Creus Stylite — FIDE Tax & Legal
- Sponsorhip Vimbodí Stylite — Vimbodí i Poblet Town Council
- Sponsorhip Vallclara Stylite — Vallclara Town Council
- Sponsorhip Film – Fundació Privada Mútua Catalana
- Patronage Vallbona de les Monges Stylite – Mr. Manuel Pujadas, Ms. Pilar Soler and Ms. Julieta Roure
- Patronage Belltall Stylite – Mr. Arnau Domènech
- Patronage Aiguamúrcia Stylite – Mr. Joan Grimau
- Montse Gomis – direction
- Genara Sert – coordination
- Matilde Grau – production mold Stylite figure
- Albert Casañé – Stylite figure production and sculpture signboard design
- Oriol Bosch – documentary film production
- Karin Du Croo – design and drawing of the Stylite forest route map
- code4jobs – Minisite QR production
- FIDE Tax & Legal – legal advice