L’Animal a l’esquena is a space for artists and creators to train and exchange ideas. In 1997 María Muñoz and Pep Ramis, artistic directors of the dance company Mal Pelo, began the restoration and adaptation of spaces at Mas Espolla, laying out the basis for the centre for creation and research. From 2001 to 2010, they co-directed the artistic project with Toni Cots. Since 2011, María Muñoz and Pep Ramis have directed L’Animal a l’esquena in collaboration with a team of artistic advisers.
The name L’Animal a l’esquena refers to the image of an animal being carried on someone’s back, on a backbone that is the central axis of the body and its movement. It is an image that also evokes a certain fragility, a doubt about the place and expression of the body.
The main aim of L’Animal a l’esquena is to set up links and connections between creators, thinkers and public so that the centre can become a shared space within a framework of research into artistic practice based on the body. A framework understood as a cumulative process of contextualisation and reflection, training and communication.
L’Animal a l’esquena hopes to reflect the current need for the contemporary practice of the arts to define a critical framework through the presence of different voices and views, with the aim of seeking a change of values in relation to visuality and textuality, identity and corporality. L’Animal a l’esquena was set up as a storm refuge where diversity is recognised and accepted.
L’Animal a l’esquena is located on the Mas Espolla estate at Celrà, an old farm house surrounded by 24 hectares of cultivated land, vineyards, olive groves and Mediterranean woodland, at the foot of Les Gavarres mountains. The decision to establish a creative space in a rural setting, far from the city, was based on the idea that it is possible, in fact necessary, to build spaces for thought and research in places that favour these. It stems from a social and political standpoint that places us on the margins both geographically and of mainstream thought. L’Animal a l’esquena is a pioneering project both at home and internationally. It is nourished by and adapts to the experiences of the artists who inhabit it.