Intrarealism- the artists, the meaning and the man who created it.



Within the Spanish visual arts tradition of the 20th century, Guirado stands out as one of the few artists whose characteristic work stems from the concepts of Intrarealism. Intrarealism, a term that was coined by the ambassador, writer, Spanish pacifist and Professor at Oxford  University, Salvador de Madariaga, denotes an artistic practice that stems from a profound sense of social consciousness. It was in Intrarealism as well as in Oriental philosophy (Vedānta-Sūtra), which Guirado discovered in Australia, that he found the precepts with which he explored relevant themes that are fundamental in his work.

The term Intrarealism was coined in a critique that Salvador de Madariaga wrote about Vallmitjana’s exhibition entitled, ‘Hallucinating and Hallucinated Spain’ which was held at the O’Hana Gallery on Oct.-Nov. 1965. At this point in time Juan Antonio Guirado lived in Sydney, Australia but Manuel Quintanilla, who wrote a monograph about Guirado and used the term, Intrarealism to describe his work was aware of Vallmitjana’s 1965 exhibition.  

Intrarealism is a reality that is expressed through hallucinations, the subconscious and oneiric states (dreams). However, whilst Surrealism has drawn delirious images from this, images which are irreconcilable with reality, Intrarealism seeks to draw images that are beyond  the reality that the eye can see. It is painting with the third eye , the true eye of consciousness that sees beyond this dimension to all the possibilities that are present in alternate universes. Much like the 'Upside down' portrayed in the Netflix show "Stranger Things".

Intrarealism is the search for silent hidden realities. It means to reveal rather than to represent. To aspire to bring to the surface what is hidden without losing the ambition to penetrate the history of reality, which is the opposite of what we know as “history”, the history that is not proclaimed, the ‘intra-history’ which is a living substance rather than the dead matter of the manual or thesis which is served with selfish interests.  


Vallmitjana felt that those precepts were of particular significance at that point in time (60s), particularly in the visual arts because “never had painting been so devoid of ‘intention’.”  The intrarealists felt that in this sense, Pop Art and Op art were the antitheses of their objectives because of their characteristic sense of evasiveness.

 He believed that the artist should avoid what is easy and the fortuitous precisely because a work of art is not a mere object of luxury, nor a whim or a game but a service and an instrument for the elevation of the human conscience, which is something that the artist must never forget.  

 Artists that belonged to this group of intrarealists initially led by Abel Vallmitjana were; G. Bassi, Armand Cardona Torrandell, R.P. Cordukes, I. Cubells, Novello Finotti, Silvano Girardello, G.L. Mellini, C.Mensa, August Puig, the collector and famous Spanish judge Cesario Rodriguez Aguilera ( whose foundation at the University of Jaén owns a work by J A Guirado) , G. Rossi, O. Staccioli, R. Tortelli, Abel Vallmitjana, I. Vivarelli  and  Norman David Narotzky (Brooklyn Museum, MOMA, Whitney Museum). It should be noted that these Intrarealist artists  were not only painters but sculptors and filmmakers (in Vallmitjana’s letter to Madariaga he mentions that Federico Fellini was also part of this initial Intrarealist group



Between Intrarealism and the Baroque - by Laura  Revuelta - Art Critic, Curator & Editor in Chief ABC Culture, Spain



Man and the world: Guirado underlined this time and again. This was the key to his work and the link that tied him to the Intrarealist movement to begin with, a movement that was born in Spain but spread over the entire Mediterranean under the premise of absolute liberty of action for those who were attracted to its principles and intellectual ambitions. Intrarealism, unlike Surrealism, did not expel those who were disobedient, those who did not worship the father. Almost a decade after Guirado went to Australia and began his international journey, the first exhibition dedicated to this movement [Intrarealism] took place at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (1967). “In the history of the art of our time there are moments in which there is a need to express something new, and to express it in a different way,” wrote Cesáreo Rodríguez in the catalogue of this first exhibit. “There was a feeling of restlessness, of desire, but a crystallization into concrete expressive forms was lacking.  The creating artist was in charge of taking the first steps down the new path which, at the same time, or slightly later, the critic or the intellectual will point at and name, using the term that will acquire a character and permanence of its own. If this happened with Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and with so many other significant movements, an analogous process was to be expected for Intrarealism. The fact that this movement uttered its first words in Spain, that it was named there, that an important group of artists and an important number of critics, poets, writers and intellectuals identified with the purpose of this new movement should not seem at all strange— taking into consideration its purposes and Spain’s current and historical reality.” The text goes on by giving names and highlighting Salvador de Madariaga, whose writings introduced the term “Intrarealist.”

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