The Surrealism Website
Joan Ponç Bonet (1927 - 1984)

Joan Ponç Bonet was born in Barcelona. From 1943 he studied painting with the artist Ramón Rogart and in 1946 exhibited for the first time at La Sala de Arte de Bilbao. In 1948 he founded the magazine Dau al Set, visited the studio of Joan Miró and exhibited alongside Antoni Tàpies at the French Institute of Barcelona.
After a brief stay in Paris at the invitation of Miró, he obtained a scholarship to study in Brazil, where he founded the group L'Espai in Sao Paulo. He established himself in Brazil, eventually taking up a teaching post in Sao Paulo. He was rather disillusioned with the gallery system and the art world and wrote "I am dedicated to teaching as the most appropriate means to maintain my creative freedom, regardless of dealers, galleries and other calamities, which I found will gradually destroy even the toughest. At school there is no distinction between teacher and student: we are brothers, I am a brother who has visited a magical place called creation." He experienced some kind of breakdown in his mental health and for a short time was in a psychiatric facility.
When he dedicated himself to teaching, Ponç decided not show his work to anyone, not even his students, but in 1962 just before he returned to live in Spain, he exhibited his work to a small group of people. He then settled in El Bruc, a village in the Catalan region of Spain. In 1964 there was held a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Galerie René Metras in Barcelona and this exhibition marked the reappearance of Ponç in the Catalan art circuit, though not with work done in Brazil but instead showing his work previous to 1953, his 'Dau al Set' period. Dau al Set is Catalan for "the seventh face of a dice" and this group was essentially an offshoot of surrealism.
Following this he had a number of solo exhibitions in Frankfurt and New York and in 1965 participated in the VIII Bienal de Sao Paulo on Surrealism and Fantastic Art. He set up a studio in Cadaques where he met a number of other artists and came into contact with Marcel Duchamp.
His reputation grew in the 1970s with exhibitions in Barceloa, Madrid and Paris. In the 1980s his health deteriorated due to diabetes and he experienced kidney failure requiring dialysis. In 1984 his brother donated a kidney, but the transplant proved unsuccessful and he died a few months later.

Website of the Associació Joan Ponç