SPACES Mourns the Passing of Julio Basanta
I am so sad to share the news of the passing of art environment builder Julio Basanta, who died July 8, 2018. He was 85 years old.
Although I began visiting and documenting Basanta’s spectacular Casa de Dios [House of God] on the outskirts of the village of Épila, near Zaragoza, Spain, in 2008 and 2009, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Julio in person until one of my subsequent visits, in 2014. He was intense and passionate about his work, and his total commitment to it was evidenced in the construction, painting, and constant repainting of numerous demons, devils, and other assorted figures of myth and legend that practically eclipsed the three little castle-like buildings he himself had earlier constructed on-site. Motivated at least in part by the trauma of his abandonment by his father at an early age, his creative expressions were inflamed by the murders of a brother and his only son, some twenty years apart. Basanta’s site, dense with fearsome and disturbing characters that were incongruously painted in bright and vivid colors, has been one of the most compelling and extraordinary of Spain’s art environments for at least the past fifteen years.
The future of the site and of Julio Basanta’s artwork is, at present, uncertain. We all mourn his loss.
Jo Farb Hernández