Un estiu a Mallorca

              Pere Secorún

Text publicat a:  "Joan Palet una mirada íntima", 2006

FUNDACIÓ PALAU , CENTRE D'ART 

Caldes d'Estrach

S’Arracó, Mallorca. Joan Palet tenia 82 anys, feia un estiu canicular, la casa estava situada en un turonet i, a mig matí, les brises tèrmiques apareixien amb puntuali- tat i temperaven la calor. A mesura que el sol s’eleva- va, les cigales estenien el seu monòton cant per la vall. En aquest paisatge mallorquí tan estimat pel pintor, Joan Palet es fonia, com una forma més, amb l’entorn.

Es llevava a les set del matí, agafava el seu carretó on duia la caixa de pintures i el cavallet i s’endinsava pels camps d’oliveres cercant un lloc on pogués plantar la seva figura fibrosa, tan acostumada a caminar. I durant els afables matins de l’estiu, continuava pintant i pintant mentre observava, amb ulls nous cada dia, les recargolades formes dels arbres centenaris. A les dues del migdia tornava a casa una mica cansat però completament feliç.

De fet, això és el que va fer des que va tenir ús de raó i el dibuix i la pintura es van convertir en la columna vertebral de la seva existència. Parar-se davant de les coses i de les persones i desentranyar la bellesa per pintar-la o dibuixar-la. Mirar amb els ulls de l’artista va ser sempre una irremeiable actitud vital. Enmig dels avatars de la vida, dibuixar i pintar era, per a aquest artista, un acte de redempció. La mà que agafava el carbonet, el pinzell o el pastel, estava sempre en disposició de captar el món que els seus sentits rebien. Aquest món no ens és evident a tots, però Joan Palet el reproduïa i el recreava a partir d’una manera de ser i d’estar en la qual hi havia sempre una força interior irrefrenable.

Era el mateix impuls que als 14 anys, quan s’estava al taller familiar del barri barceloní de Sants, l’impel·lia a dibuixar amb guix a terra, o a utilitzar els papers d’estrassa una vegada darrera l’altra, fins a esgotar-los, per retratar familiars, amics i clients. Joan Palet va conèixer aviat la passió del dibuixant, li va ser donada la gràcia de poder captar, com pocs poden fer, l’ànima de les persones en un retrat, de poder arribar al fons ocult d’una mirada, i amb el gest ràpid de la seva mà fer-la aflorar al paper o al llenç, en aquest acte màgic que sempre és fer el traç.

Era un home d’horaris llargs, un treballador incansable, posseït pel seu treball. Per a algú que havia descobert el goig de l’art i la profunda vocació a l’edat més tendra, realitzar la seva tasca era la única manera coherent de ser en aquesta vida.

A S’Arracó, al capvespre, les cigales callaven i lla- vors augmentava el clam de les esquelles de les ovelles que pasturaven sota els olivars. Des de la terrassa de la casa, després d’haver descansat i llegit una estona,

quan ja s’acostava la llarga i afable horabaixa de l’estiu, tornava a agafar algun apunt i pintava una estona més. En aquesta hora que la llum es mou de pressa i es fa més fugaç però que és tan acollidora, es delectava cada segon en el goig enorme de les coses simples que tant apreciava. Era la seva manera d’estar obert al món, disposat a rebre i a deixar-se sorprendre de nou.

La història de Joan Palet es fon amb la història del país on tanta gent es va trobar que, de cop i volta, habitava un món estrany després d’una guerra cruel. Un corrent de cultura que era el seu, havia desapare- gut, ell ho va dur tan bé com va poder, i encara que el seu silenci era el silenci d’una derrota –la derrota d’un món civilitzat que provenia de la tradició europea i del noucentisme català i que es va abocar en un llarg túnel de foscor– la labor de l’artista va aconseguir trobar el seu camí.

Les obres d’aquesta exposició en són un exemple. Joan Palet era un home modest fins a l’exageració i, d’acord amb el seu caràcter prudent i discret, va pas- sar de puntetes per la vida com si no volgués fer soroll ni molestar ningú.

Així i tot, va deixar una obra poc coneguda pel gran públic però de qualitat i força sorprenent. Redescobrir un dibuixant i pintor com ell, ara és un acte de justícia.

S’Arracó, Majorca. Joan Palet was 82 years old, it was a blistering-ly hot summer, the house was perched on a hill and, in mid-morn-ing, thermal breezes would arrive punctually to cool things down alittle. As the sun climbed into the sky, the monotonous droning of 105 cicadas filled the valley. In this beloved Majorcan landscape, the painter Joan Palet blended into the scenery, like just another form. He would get up at 7 am, take the little hand-cart he used to carry his paintbox and easel and go off into the olive fields to find a place where he could bring his wiry frame, so used to walking, to a halt. And throughout those pleasant summer mornings, he would go on painting and painting whilst he observed, with new eyes every day, the twisting forms of age-old trees. At 2 pm he would return home, a little tired but completely happy.

 

In fact, that is what he had done since he had use of reason, and painting and drawing became the very backbone of his existence. Stopping before people and things and puzzling out their beauty in order to paint or draw it. Looking with an artist’s eyes was something he could not have ceased doing even had he wanted. Throughout all life’s ups and downs, painting and drawing was, for this artist, an act of redemption. The hand that held the charcoal, the brush or the pastel was always poised to capture the world his senses perceived. Not everyone is privileged to see this world, Joan Palet reproduced and recreated it in an approach based on his invincible inner strength.

This was the same impulse that, when he was just 14 years old, in the family workshop in the Sants district of Barcelona, drove him to draw in chalk on the ground, or to use wrapping paper until there was none left to draw portraits of his family, friends and customers. Joan Palet soon discovered the draughtsman’s passion, and he received the gift of capturing as few are able, the very soul of the people he portrayed, of reaching into the hidden depths of a gaze and with a quick stroke of his hand to bring this out on paper or canvas in that magical act that producing an outline never fails to embody.

Palet was a man who kept long hours, a tireless worker, one pos- sessed by his trade. For someone who had discovered the joy of art and been profoundly taken by his vocation at such a tender age, doing his elected work was the only coherent way of life open to him.

At S’Arracó, in the evening, the cicadas fell silent and the bleating of the sheep that grazed under the olives became louder. From the terrace at the house, having rested and read something for a while, as the long, pleasant summer evening fell, he would take up one of his notes again, and would paint a little more. At this time, when light moves quickly, is more fleeting but also so warm and welcoming, he delighted in each second, taking enormous joy from the simple things that he so greatly appreciated. It was how he stayed open to the world, ready to receive and to be surprised once more.

The history of Joan Palet fuses with the history of a country where so many people suddenly found themselves living in a world that was strange to them after a cruel war. A strand of culture that was his had disappeared, and he lived with this as best he could, and even though his silence was the silence of defeat – the defeat of a civilised world that had its origins in the European tradition and in Catalan noucentisme but which found itself condemned to a long, dark tunnel – through his work the artist managed to find his path.

The works in this exhibition demonstrate this to the full.

Joan Palet was a modest man to the point of exaggeration, a discrete, a prudent type who passed through life as if on tip-toe, fearful of making a noise or annoying anyone. However, he left behind work which, though it is little known to the broad public, is nonetheless full of surprising quality and strength.

 

To reclaim and rediscover a painter and draughtsman like this is but an act of justice.