Around the Trunk is an action/exhibition conceived by Albert Ràfols and Xavier Olivé that proposes a temporary and partial transformation of the gardens of the first EINA centre based on different interventions on the tree trunks. The idea of Around the Trunk is that each participant should interact or investigate creatively in the natural environment, limiting themselves to intervening on a trunk or bush previously assigned to them.
Otherwise completely free, the only limit on the intervention is the prohibition of mutilating or harming the tree or the area around it in any way. The artists invited to take part receive a list of the trees and plants through the post that they can find in the garden, a botanical sample of the tree assigned to them (a leaf and a piece of bark) with an information sheet with its characteristics and its location in the garden (Ràfols, 1987).
The participants include a healthy representation of artists and designers who are members of the school’s teaching staff, who have a connection with EINA through specific collaborations and some students.
The proposals are diverse: a lime tree that serves lime flower tea through a tap and some cups; another lime tree with lime flower tea sachets by Xavier Olivé; another tree with its leaves numbered; one that is bleeding with saws and knives that injured it; a tree wrapped up in cotton wool; another on which is a cushion accompanied by two detective novels, inviting visitors to read (Utrilla, 1980); a road sign of a Mimosa, by America Sanchez; and the intervention by Fina Miralles, which consists of papering the trunk and branches of a tree with wallpaper that simulates natural wood, offering a dialectic proposal in which the artificial intervention on a living being makes the viewer reflect on the natural materials versus artificial materials dichotomy (Pol, 2012).
Lime flower tea sachets, by Xavier Olivé
Trunk and branches of a tree with wallpaper that simulates natural wood by Fina Miralles
Lime tree that serves lime flower tea through a tap and some cups
Saw and shavings
A road sign of a Mimosa, by America Sanchez
A pipe by Jordi Pablo
For Cirici (1977), Around the Trunk holds a strong conceptual approach in transforming the landscape of the garden into an environment of living trees. For the occasion, Cirici himself offers an analysis sheet of the experience from a semiotic viewpoint.
One way or the other, the interventions on nature and in nature that make up this experience do not pursue a hedonistic, ornamental or aesthetic purpose, but are aimed at raising awareness of human intervention on the elements of nature, which are altered and broken by this intervention (Dorfles, 1976).
Around the Trunk is part of a context of opening up conceptual art to other sectors of the arts. The talks and meetings held in the same academic year at the German Institute that gave rise to the New Trends in Art cycle held at the FAD; the New Artistic Behaviours cycle in Madrid and Barcelona; and the What To Do? group show at the Sala Vinçon with the collaboration of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Parcerisas, 2007), are examples of the capillarisation of conceptual proposals in different spheres of the arts.
- Concept, execution and graphic design: Albert Ràfols Casamada and Xavier Olivé.
- Participants: Fernando Amat, Josep Bigas-Luna, Joan Brossa, Xavier Bulbena, Carles Camps, Alicia Fingerhut, Ferran Garcia Sevilla, Maria Girona, Silvia Gubern, Josep Guinovart, Josep Iglésias del Marquet, Àngel Jové, Antoni Llena, Robert Llimós, Paco Llobet, Jordi Marcet, Fina Miralles, Yolanda Navarro, Xavier Olivé, Jordi Pablo, Santi Pau, Carlos Pazos, Olga Pijuan, America Sanchez, Albert Ràfols Casamada, Pere Riera, Francesc Serrat, Francesc Todó, Lluis Utrilla i Rosa Vila-Abadal.
- Place: Garden of the Manuel Dolcet House (first EINA headquarters).
- Date: From 18 to 20 of June 1974. Opening, 18 June at 19.30.
- Cirici, Alexandre. «EINA fa deu anys». Serra d'or. Núm. 208 (1977), p. 43.
- Dorfles, Gillo. Últimas tendencias del arte de hoy. 5ª ed. amp. y act. Barcelona: Labor, 1976. “Capítulo XII. Arte ecológico (land art, earth art), p. 167.
- Parcerisas, Pilar. Conceptualismo(s): poéticos, políticos, periféricos: en torno al arte conceptual en España, 1964-1980. Madrid: Akal, 2007.
- Pol Rigau, Marta. Anàlisi de l'obra plàsticovisual i poèticotextual de Fina Miralles: l'arbre com a reflex de la seva cosmologia. Tesi doctoral. Departament d'Art i Musicologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2012. .
- Ràfols Casamada, Albert. “Notes per a una història d'EINA”. En: Villena, Josep Maria (coor.). Eina, escola de disseny i art: 1967-1987, vint anys d'avantguarda. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura, 1987, p.32.
- Utrilla, Lluís. Cròniques de l’era conceptual. Mataró: Edicions Robrenyo, 1980, p. 77.
Text by Rubén Alcaraz, with the collaboration of Xavier Olivé.