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obtain official recognition for an individual who has dedicated half a century to genuine, constant artistic creation in Valencia and who, despite this fact, has had continual, solid repercussion internationally in the field of ceramics. But, indicatively, I also wanted to obtain —by holding the exhibition in a historic museum of such characteristics— official backing to promote the activity that Enric Mestre has, paradigmatically, so staunchly defended throughout so many decades of effort and persistence as an artist, investigator and teacher: ceramic creation as art. These are the motives that have driven, then —along with the project that I will describe in greater detail later— the title whose powerful significance and implications I recognized at once: “Twenty pieces for a museum.”

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As the show was to be held in a single room, albeit ample, of the Fine Arts Museum, I felt that twenty pieces would be opportune and sufficient. At the same time, they would make a tacit allusion: if pressed to come up with a list of works by Enric Mestre worthy of being shown in museums and entering their collections, that was my personal goal, as an art critic and specialist on the subject, although no one had asked me to do so until then. It might, incidentally, be seen as a show for the gallery, but it would be a justly-motivated show. Clearly, the activities of the Fine Arts Museum of Valencia are primarily focused on history, looking in the rearview mirror. I am well-aware, as the President of the Royal Academy of San Carlos —an institution that is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year; which created, has been in charge of and has historically run that museum; which has kept in the Fine Arts Museum its many, extremely valuable art collections and of whose Board of Trustees I am Vice President, as I hold this title at the Royal Academy as well. Yet throughout its history —which has been forged little by little, just like our archives, our treasured possessions and our memory— this museum (in parallel with our Royal Academy) had also always looked at the present situation, through the windshield. It’s not for nothing that it has, as is common knowledge, a small yet select collection of contemporary art (both its own works, obtained by

acquisition, as well as others kept for safekeeping and conservation). The best argument for this museum’s constant preoccupation with the present continuous, however, at least up until the present and near future, is to clearly show how its treasures —now historic— have for the most part been amassed slowly, in parallel with the activities of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos, as a museum and center for learning and investigation since its foundation centuries ago. Without such periodic efforts and monitoring, day after day, it would not have the solid, extensive selection of works it has today. If, in order to redefine its objectives in pursuit of specificity and differentiation, these criteria have now been revised, is an entirely different matter. It is fair, then, to acknowledge that perhaps, for contemporary works of art to be shown in a museum like the historic San Pío V palace, their creators must first be deceased, something which might very well also have a bearing on their consecration as “classics”. To be honest, though, there have been plenty of clear exceptions, even recently. This is true of certain full members of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos, who are fortunately still alive. For instance, there have been valuable and warmly-received retrospectives on the work of professors Francisco Sebastián and Joaquín Michavila, also organized by the Consortium of Museums. I was asked to write texts for the catalogs of both exhibitions, and I refer to them now as evidence of my ongoing support of such initiatives. One can understand my surprise, then, at the museum’s head-on, extreme opposition to making its rooms available to show these carefully-selected “Twenty pieces for a museum,” produced during the important, distinguished career of Enric Mestre. This, considering that Mestre has been the subject of several important studies and monographs, not to mention his inclusion in the best international dictionaries and encyclopedias on the subject. I assume that the unspoken, visceral reason for this rejection is that it was not an exhibition of paintings but rather of ceramic sculptures, the first word (“ceramic”)

Profile for Javier Mestre

Enric mestre; vint peçes per a un museu  

Catálogo de la exosición "Enric Mestre; vint peçes per a un museu" que tuvo lugar en las tres capitales de la Comunidad Valenciana; Valencia...

Enric mestre; vint peçes per a un museu  

Catálogo de la exosición "Enric Mestre; vint peçes per a un museu" que tuvo lugar en las tres capitales de la Comunidad Valenciana; Valencia...

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