1946-1947 Barcelona – Mont-roig – Karachi

Photography in the Foyer

Joaquim Gomis

“By the time one collective regret emerges, the flood of ignorance surges elsewhere in the world. When the era of regret for that particular deluge is about to dawn, subsequent waves of darkness submerge other corners of the world.”
Kamleshwar, Kitne Pakistan (2000; translated from the original Hindi as Partitions, 2006)

In 1946 and 1947, when they were both back in Barcelona after the war years, Joaquim Gomis and Joan Miró saw each other frequently. With keen attention, Gomis photographed the most famous buildings by Antoni Gaudí, as well as Miró at work at the Gimeno Foundry, or at their mutual friend Llorens Artigas's workshop, but also at Mont-roig del Camp, the artist's retreat near Tarragona, and his studio on Passatge del Crèdit in Barcelona. The Second World War had ended a year earlier, and ten years had gone by since the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

This selection of photographs by Joaquim Gomis captures a historic and personal moment of suspended time and a sense of emptiness, of collective post-traumatic shock, of phantoms and absences, of dejection and very slow reconstruction. They are images that correspond to the mood and the gaze of the photographer, who undoubtedly felt he belonged on the losing side of the Spanish war, just like Joan Miró did, and so many kindred spirits. Together, as they took stock of the new reality, they tried to resume-discreetly so as not to elicit the attention of the fascist regime-old projects truncated by the war.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, new collective confrontations were erupting which were often the result of the dismantling of European 'empires' and the beginning of the Cold War. Coinciding with the solo exhibition of Nalini Malani (born in Karachi, Undivided India, in 1946) at Fundació Joan Miró, we delved into Gomis' archive to find photographs from those two years that would convey the prevailing mood in Catalonia right at the moment when what was known as British India was declaring its independence. A declaration that came with a territorial partition that brought about a wave of sectarian violence that, like in Spain, left a legacy that still needs reckoning and reconciliation.

Joan Miró’s house at Passatge del Crèdit, Barcelona. Fons Joaquim Gomis, dipositat a l'Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya - © Hereus de Joaquim Gomis. Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona
Mas Miró in Mont-roig del Camp. Fons Joaquim Gomis, dipositat a l'Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya - © Hereus de Joaquim Gomis. Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona