Josep Grau-Garriga

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People), 1972-76

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr) Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

About the artist

Josep Grau-Garriga
Born 1929 in Barcelona, Spain
Died 2011 in Angers, France


 
"I have always had a great admiration for those who risk everything at a certain moment in order to discover more, instead of those who defend the unity, the coherence of the work. For me, every work is an adventure, a risk; the work is nothing more than a consequence of the way we are. I’m interested in people who are constantly risking, people who are free."

 - Josep Grau-Garriga

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr)Biennale of Sydney

A major figure in the contemporary textile-art movement, Josep Grau-Garriga often created awe-inspiring tapestries that he presented in direct dialogue with architectural sites such as churches and forecourts.

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr) Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

With its textural, visceral forms, the large-scale Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People) radically transforms the central space of the Grand Courts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr) Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

It acts as a gesture of memorialisation within a context where histories of war and martyrdom are interwoven across the Gallery’s collections, inviting an embodied re-negotiation of these histories across space.

This new formation of the work, presented together with the tapestry Màrtir (Martyr), is in keeping with its dynamic history, where Grau-Garriga would alter the display while retaining the work’s powerful symbolism and monumental presence.

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr) Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

Each time the work has been exhibited it has had a particular composition. 

Over the years, Grau-Garriga changed some of the individual characters while retaining the structure and symbolic content of the work.

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr)Biennale of Sydney

"Altarpiece of the Hanged People' is a monumental tribute to all unknown martyrs throughout time."

- Esther Grau Quintana
(Daughter of the artist) 

Navigate around and explore Altarpiece of the Hanged People inside the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Credits: Story

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People), 1972-76 
woven wool, cotton, sisal, jute, hemp and synthetic fibre 
Courtesy Esther and Jordi Grau 

Màrtir (Martyr), 1972 
woven wool, cotton, sisal, jute, hemp and synthetic fibre 
Courtesy Parròquia Sant Josep Oriol de Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona 

Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Andrew Cameron AM and Cathy Cameron and assistance from Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), Galerie Nathalie Obadia and Salon 94, New York

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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