Image of the Gothic courtyard of the Palau de la Generalitat without Alfaro’s sculpture and with the work, in an event in which Ximo Puig participated, in two images from the former Valencian president’s Twitter.
The general secretary of the PSPV and former president of the Valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, has described as “another cultural contempt” by the current Valencian government, formed by the PP and Vox, the removal of the sculpture by the artist Andreu Alfaro located in the Patio Palau Gothic since 2019. The sculpture is titled Cercle berninià and is an arch five meters in diameter that represents movement and freedom.
Ximo Puig in a publication through the social network Before, it illuminated the Palau de la Generalitat. Now, they have dismantled his sculpture, hidden, forgotten. Quite a symbol. Another cultural contempt. Destroy yes; not create.”
Born in 1929 in Valencia and died in 2012 in the same city, Alfaro is one of the most important Spanish sculptors of the second half of the 20th century, as proven by the presence of his sculptures in the collections of important museums and his public works in cities like New York, Frankfurt, Mainz, Madrid, Barcelona or your hometown. National Prize for Plastic Arts in 1981, he was one of the founding fathers of the IVAM and an artist, in addition, politically and socially committed to the defense of Valencian and its own culture. He participated in numerous initiatives called by entities such as Acció Cultural de País Valencià or left-wing formations, which defend the linguistic unity of Valencian and Catalan.
Andreu Alfaro is freedom.
It used to illuminate the Palace of the Generalitat.
Now, his sculpture has been dismantled, hidden, forgotten.
Quite a symbol.
Another cultural slur.
Destroy yes; not create. pic.twitter.com/za9rbQkXwu
— Ximo Puig (@ximopuig) September 20, 2023
Sources from the Generalitat have justified the removal of the work from the Gothic Patio because this sculpture “cannot be exclusively accessible to Puig’s VIP guests”, and has stressed to Europa Press that talks are being held with the Valencia City Council “to locate a new access location and enjoy it for the entire Valencian public.” “Not only for Puig’s guests,” they stressed to Europa Press.
In addition, they have alleged that the location of the sculpture caused mobility problems at events in the Palau Gótico attended by people with reduced mobility and that there are drills and holes in the floor in a building that is a protected property.
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The withdrawal coincides in time with the first appearance of the first vice president of the Generalitat and Minister of Culture, Vicente Barrera, of Vox, in the Cortes. The businessman and former bullfighter stated last Wednesday that one of his objectives is to combat “pan-Catalan supremacistism” and “the sectarianism of the left” in the political culture inherited from the previous government and defended, always in Spanish, an unofficial regulation of Valencian, a language different from Catalan, as stated against the postulates of the international university and philological community and of the Valencian Language Academy itself, an official regulatory body according to the Statute of Autonomy.
The curators of the exhibition, the artist Artur Heras and professor Anacleto Ferrer, have spoken about the removal of the sculpture, when asked by the media. For Heras, this issue “has more to do with a question of change in the political significance of the government’s political content” and he has expressed his fear that, now, the problem is that the work will be put “in a warehouse and it will be forgotten for three years.” or thirty.” “It’s a matter of covering up what was already there,” he indicated, and stressed that it is something that in history “has already happened” before and that “normally does not happen in other countries.”
“We must consider, in my opinion, that public culture is the weakest thing there is and curiously what is in a public space can suffer any type of alterations. In this case, each administrative management has the decision to be able to change the ornamentation of the place,” he considered, although he described as “significant” that it was 24 hours before the opening of this exhibition.
For his part, Anacleto Ferrer has asserted that this event is part of a “symbolic shooting” in which “the name of an auditorium is removed, Alfaro’s sculpture is removed and things continue to be removed.”
In December 2019, Puig announced that the Gothic Patio of the Palau de la Generalitat would permanently host a work by the sculptor Andreu Alfaro to connect the sculptor’s “universal gaze” with the “aspirations and open character of Valencian society.”
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