The exhibition Francesc Tosquelles - Like a sewing machine in a wheat field is an essential contribution to rescue the figure and work of this Catalan psychiatrist so unknown in our country. The central idea of ​​the exhibition presented by the CCCB is based on the transformation that the Reus psychiatrist carried out in the hospital institutions inherited from the 19th century, which Tosquelles described as sick. The cure, he considered, could only come from three areas: politics, clinical experimentation and culture.

Tosquelles was a pioneer in introducing self-management tasks, commissions and sick clubs into institutions; training for caregivers; experiments with theater, film, and writing; creation of wall newspapers and internal newspapers; printing presses and occupational therapy workshops; among many other activities and organizational structures. From this perspective, Carles Guerra and Joana Masó, curators of the exhibition, propose a journey in which they make a series of documentary materials dialogue with an outstanding set of pieces of art, documents and films: around 700 items in total. The exhibition is completed with a program of debates, audiovisuals, and educational and family activities.

The works of art

The works of art included in the exhibition are linked to artists such as Paul Éluard, Gérard Vulliamy, Tristan Tzara, Joan Miró, Antonin Artaud, Henri Michaux, Brassaï or Léon Schwarz-Abrys. It also has contemporary and newly created works, such as a film by Mireia Sallarès and interactive installations and pieces by Alejandra Riera, Roger Bernat, Angela Melitopoulos, Maurizio Lazzarato and Perejaume.

Biographical notes of Francesc Tosquelles

Francesc Tosquelles (Reus, 1912 – Granges-sur-Lot, 1994) was trained in the political and cultural experience of the Mancomunitat of Catalonia and the Republic. After fighting on the Aragon Front and in Extremadura during the Civil War, he had to go into exile in France in 1939. From the Septfonds concentration camp and, above all, to the Saint-Alban psychiatric hospital (France), which became in a refuge for avant-garde artists who lived with the inmates, peasants, nuns, doctors and nurses, Tosquelles revolutionized the operation of the psychiatric center.

About the title of the exhibition

The title of the exhibition refers to Lautréamont's phrase that inspired the surrealists to defend the chance of beauty: beautiful as the fortuitous encounter of a sewing machine with an umbrella on a dissection table. With the expression Like a sewing machine in a wheat field, Tosquelles synthesizes his practice in this displacement, in the opening towards the unexpected arising from unconnected and apparently contradictory realities, placing it in a close context, linked to the land and work: the wheat field.

Buy and reserve tickets

Reserve free tickets

  • April 8, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. | April 9 and 10, 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (on the occasion of the inauguration)
  • Sunday, 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (from April 17, tickets available from April 13 at 11:00 a.m.)
From Tuesday to Sunday and holidays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Non-holiday Mondays, closed
Zip code
Ciutat Vella - El Raval
Carrer de Montalegre, 5

How to get there


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