From 7th July to 5th November 2023 at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in Barcelona

Curated by Pilar Bonet Julve – Art historian, Professor at the Univerity of Barcelona and art critic. With the support of the group Visionary Women Art

This exhibition presents and analyzes the singular creativity of two women, the Catalan artist Josefa Tolrà (1880-1959) and the British artist Madge Gill (1882-1961). Artists of vast production who never thought of being recognised with this condition, both closely linked to esoteric knowledge and the methodology of the creative act guided by the automatism of the altered state of consciousness: “the guiding hand”.

Their extraordinary legacies, practically unpublished, were generated by overflowing academic art and in the development of psychic drawing, automatic writing and textile work of singular beauty. Their creations allow us today to analyse from other perspectives the art of the first half of the 20th century in Europe and thus to recognise ourselves in new aesthetic and ethical accounts of modern culture: new secular spiritualities (spiritism, theosophy, anthroposophy ), other paradigms of art (dissolution of authorship, collaborative creation process), the recovery of women’s art techniques (drawing, embroidery, diaries), the healing function of art (non-commercial or show work), esoteric knowledge (tarot, astrology, pendulum, laying on of hands, prophecies) and the power and experience of an instinctive and liberating mysticism that is an experience of transcendence for the humble classes.

These artists are part of a genealogy of the art of women who, far from the European aesthetic avant-garde, form a mystical “rearguard” that from the domestic space fills the inner exile with an intense psychic experience and a powerful creativity. Without artistic or literary training, both draw subtle worlds populated by astral presences, writing about the planets, reflecting on scientific and moral issues and sending out pacifist messages. Currently, their works leave the patrimonial marginality to occupy space and interpretations in important museums of modern and contemporary art such as the Museo del Prado, the Macba, the George Pompidou or the Albertina.


There is a catalogue to accompany this exhibition ISBN 978-84-8043-123-1

Close Menu