TRACES by Joan Ganyet i Solé. Espacio Ronda Valencia

In Art & Culture, Painting

Prof. Ma. Pilar Viviente Solé
May 2022



The skin of the city

Its memory





Random signals

Intentional signs, symbols



Mediterranean walls

Emotional palimpsest

Of the taste of successive cultures

Of past times and the most immediate



Time stopped in a delightful fragment

Photographic tribute

To the cities of the Mediterranean

Inviting us to dream, to reflect…



Enlightened praise to the cities of our sea

Seen as a symbiosis of nature and culture


Joan Ganyet speech
Joan Ganyet speech


On April 19, 2022, the TRACES exhibition (from April 19 to May 3, 2022) by the architect and photographer Joan Ganyet was inaugurated at the Espacio Ronda Valencia, Valencia –  The opening ceremony was attended by José Manuel Valiente, notary, Joan Ribó, mayor of Valencia city and Sayda Hernández, manager of Espacio Ronda Valencia.

Joan Ganyet work exhibited
Joan Ganyet work exhibited

Joan Ganyet i Solé (La Seu d’Urgell, 1946) is an architect from the “Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura” in Barcelona. He has been mayor of the Seu d’Urgell, deputy to the Parliament of Catalonia, senator, president of the “Comissió Interpirinenca de Poders Locals”, secretary general of the “Comunitat de Treball dels Pirineus” and general director of “Arquitectura i Paisatge de la Generalitat de Catalunya”. He is a member of the “Reial Acadèmia de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi” (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi). He has exhibited in the main cities of Catalonia and the “Principat d’Andorra”.

Opening exhibition. View of the gallery

The photographs of the TRACES series (Canon G16 camera. Printing on dibond, aluminum) are compositions obtained between 2008 and 2019 from the walls of various historic cities of the Mediterranean: Rome, Bologna, Athens, Palermo, Bergamo, Ajaccio, Tarragona, Venice… TRACES is an emotional tribute to the cities of our sea. That Mare Nostrum shared by the countries of the Mediterranean basin, cradle of world civilization since the appearance of the first settlements in Jericho in 9000 BC. C.

Joan Ganyet work exhibited

Joan Ganyet praised in the presentation of his work Leonardo Da Vinci, who in the “Treatise on Painting” advises his disciples to carefully observe the old walls, because in them they will find inspiration. And if the great Leonardo said it, we will have to pay attention, Ganyet said. According to him, the walls are the skin of the city, its memory. They tell us about past times and the most immediate. They challenge us and invite us to dream and reflect on life in society. And they are a rich art gallery, the result of the joint action of nature and humans.

Joan Ganyet books

Here is the paragraph by Leonardo Da Vinci (Treatise on Painting)

  • XVI. Way to stoke ingenuity to invent.

I want to insert among the precepts that I am giving a new invention of speculation, that although it seems of little moment, and almost worthy of laughter, it does not stop being very useful to stoke the ingenuity, the fruitful invention:

And it is that when you see some wall stained in many parts, or some marbled stones, you can, looking at them carefully and attentively, notice the invention and likeness of some countries, battles, prompt attitudes of figures, strange physiognomies, particular clothes and other infinite things; because it is from such confusions that ingenuity draws new inventions.

Joan Ganyet works exhibited

The simplicity of the method leads Da Vinci to write that it is a “speculation (…) almost worthy of laughter.” It is easily reminiscent of the fact of casually finding recognizable figures in the clouds, method also proposed by Da Vinci. This spontaneous recognition is not strange. Psychology knows the phenomenon as pareidolia (from the Greek ‘eidolon’, figure, and ‘para’, attached).


What Da Vinci proposes is to look “with care and attention”. It means not being content with the casual image. Joan Ganyet himself acknowledged wearing the antennas every time he walks through the cities of the Mediterranean.

Joan Ganyet works exhibited

The exhibition at the Espacio Ronda Valencia was accompanied by two books. Joan Ganyet is the author of the photography books “PELL” and “TOLSTOI/traces”. On May 19, 2022, he presented his new book TOLSTOI/Traces at The Embassy (The Embassy Store. Andorra la Vella). The book, published by Edicions Salòria, includes texts by Joan Ganyet himself and by Julio Quílez, Eugeni Bregolat and Joan Enric Vives.

The former mayor of La Seu, architect and humanist, makes in the work a graphic interpretation of the novel War and Peace, by Lev Tolstoy, with a series of photographs that are a sample of the possible dialogue between the image and the literary text. The inauguration of the photographic exhibition was held later, on May 31.

Lev Tolstoy is, for Ganyet, one of the greatest writers of world literature. We could notice the many characteristics that make the work of the Russian novelist of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remarkable, but what most impresses the architect is Tolstoy’s ability to illustrate landscapes through the word. “Tolstoy’s descriptions of the landscapes are like brushstrokes of an exceptional painter,” says Ganyet, referring to the great battles that took place within the framework of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia 200 years ago, immortalized in ‘War and Peace”.

Opening exhibition. Joan Ribó and friends

Captivated by Tolstoy and his abilities as a writer, Ganyet created ‘TOLSTOI/Traces’ from a restlessness, the need to contrast the texts of the Russian writer with photographic compositions, a heavy and delicate work that does not stray from aesthetics, but “makes incursions into lateral fields, such as literature”. After all, the architect is a soul explorer of multiple artistic disciplines and an enthusiast of the way they interrelate.

Eugeni Bregolat, former ambassador of Spain in China and Russia, was the prologue of this new installment of Ganyet, which had previously captivated us with the photographic compilation ‘Pell’, a tribute to the historic cities of the Mediterranean. Joan-Enric Vives, episcopal co-prince, and Julio Quílez, historian and head of archives of the Seu d’Urgell, also made their contributions. “They are great friends and I think their contribution increases the quality of the work significantly,” says the author.

The author, who told us that he could present an upcoming book in which he will explore poetry and music, is fine-tuning all the details of a photographic exhibition, also at The Embassy, with about twenty large-format pieces and on aluminum. The opening of the exhibition, tentatively, was scheduled for the beginning of June.

Thank you Joan Ganyet for such a wonderful and illustrated tribute.



1. Joan Ganyet speech.
2. Joan Ganyet work exhibited
3. Opening exhibition. View of the gallery.
4. Joan Ganyet work exhibited.
5. Joan Ganyet books.
6. and 7. Joan Ganyet works exhibited.
8. Opening exhibition. Joan Ribó and friends.
Photo Credit: Ivan Magallon Fonseca and Pilar Viviente, 2022.

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