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JOAN RIERA FERRARI: "THE LANGUAGE OF ROCKS"
Joan had a painful and sad childhood, as he lost his mother when he was only 8 years old. He admits that he did not feel truly happy again until he moved to Barcelona at the age of 20, to study Fine Arts at the Sant Jordi School of Fine Arts.
It was in Barcelona, in 1967, where he won his first awards as a painter; after graduation, he returned to Majorca and settled in Manacor. He became economically independent and held his first exhibition at the Drac Gallery in Manacor, which he dedicated to Federico García Lorca. Shortly afterwards, he held his first international exhibition at the Charbonel Gallery in Helsinki.
He showed his pioneering and groundbreaking spirit at a very young age. At that time he moved to Cala d’Or, where he broadened his artistic career, working in architecture and design. Riera Ferrari was also a great supporter of young artists; he even welcomed them into his house. This was the case, for example, in 1974 when he gave Miquel Barceló the opportunity to hold his first exhibition at his gallery, Picarol.
In the 1970s, he created a collection of paintings about Ibiza, held several exhibitions in Majorca, and travelled all around Europe. He visited Venice, a city that inspired an important series of paintings he worked on, and where he returned several times.
Thanks to Joan Oliver “Maneu”, a renowned art dealer who he worked with until 1990, he took part in major international art fairs, such as ARCO in Madrid, and exhibited at the SPI TV Centre in Berlin, and at the Centre for Art and Science in Munich.
In 1988, after the Venice inspired paintings, he started a series of Vells Vaixells (Old Ships), characterised by their great chromatic richness in which he depicted the agony of decaying ships. Both series represent the beginning of his reflection on the destructive passage of time.
In the mid-1990s, he suffered the loss of his many loved ones, but he continued to fulfil his artistic commitments and held exhibitions in Barcelona, Madrid, Germany, Santander and Pollença. At the end of the 90s, he took part in the International Art Fair in Rome, the first Barcelona Art Expo Fair, Arte Sevilla, Arte Santander and Artexpo, and donated his work Mar i Roques (Sea and Rocks) to Joan Antoni Samaranch for the art collection of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland). When he was awarded the Amics de l’Art Prize (Friends of Art), he was the star of an exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the S’Agrícola Cultural Association of Manacor.
In 2000, he opened the Marimón Gallery in Can Picafort with a group exhibition, and took part in Art Expo with the galleries Ra del Rey, Gemma Gimeno and Gothsland. In 2002, he held his first solo exhibition at Gothsland in Barcelona, and reviewed his entire artistic career at the Escorxador building in Porreres. In 2006, he opened a group exhibition with Joan Bennassar and Cristina Escape at the Art Estació Gallery in Manacor, and took part in a monographic exhibition at the Madrid Art Fair for the Marimón Gallery. That same year he travelled once again to Egypt and Greece, countries that inspired him throughout the new century.
In recent years, as well as holding several exhibitions and being awarded the Ramon Llull Prize for his artistic career, he held the art auction A l’Auba, in collaboration with the NGO Llevant en Marxa, as a charity for the construction of water wells in Ethiopia. All the auctioned works were paintings made by renowned artists from Joan’s private collection. Five hundred people attended the event and raised about 120,000 euros. Joan’s caring nature will be manifested in new auctions; In-Mediatika Magazine was invited to cover the next one, which took place at the end of June.
Riera Ferrari is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant Majorcan painters, with an overflowing creative power. He came to develop a very personal semiology with our atavistic rocks and the intense blue of our Mediterranean Sea. He also cleared a path to conceive a new way of working and painting with a personal and inimitable style. The fruit of all this is therefore his intense, attractive and personal work, which is merely a metaphor of his great talent as an artist that was able to capture beauty in all its forms.
PRESIDENT OF S’AGRÍCOLA CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF MANACOR