Josep Sala i Prat, Granja La Riviera [“The River” Farm]
Borrassà, Catalonia, 17770, Spain
About the Artist/Site
A lifelong farmer who raised pigs and veal for slaughter, Sala liked to draw as a boy, although this often drew ire from his father, who felt it took time away from his field work or from helping him to build the family home. Learning basic construction techniques from this process, as he aged he would take a break to draw while tending to his flocks, and became interested in creating buildings so that he could show his children how different architecture was in different parts of the world.
Although he only attended school two days a week until the age of 13, Sala learned how to make what he needs from what he has. He uses simple tools and recycles materials that he is given from friends or that he finds at the dump: stoves and refrigerators have been turned into buildings; a faucet mounting becomes the façade for a church. He has constructed dozens of miniature buildings around his agricultural grounds, repurposing these recycled materials with true inventiveness. They range from reproductions of local farmhouses to the onion spires of Moscow’s Red Square and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Whirligigs constructed out of plastic bottles, paintings, and sculptural “caprichos” round out the artworks. He has lead a simple, contented life with many friends and the continuing inspiration of his constructions: “I have no money,” he says, “but I’m a millionaire.”
Although there are a few elements behind the family’s home created from found or fabricated materials, the bulk of Sala’s inventive constructions are located in a remote area that was formerly used for boarding Sala’s animals. Located behind a locked gate, it is unavailable for public visitation unless accompanied by the artist, who, as he has aged, goes out to the site less and less. It is unlikely that his children will maintain his artworks and constructions after he passes.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Borrassà, Catalonia, 17770 es
Latitude/Longitude: 42.221652 / 2.924991