The name of Montolieu probably doesn’t evoke anything for most readers of this blog, and this is a real pity because this place, and specially its inhabitants deserve to be better known.

Montolieu (Montoliu, in Occitan) is a French village in the ‘département Aude’, of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. People and soil close to Catalans, it is a land of Cathar history and legend, with people connected to their ground, and this territory is close to the walled city of Carcassonne.

Perched on a headland (at the confluence of the rivers Alzeau and Dure, which once gathered become the Rougeanne),  Montolieu counts less than 800 inhabitants, but 14 bookshops. They are bookshops of old and second-hand books which make of Montolieu a village of the book, of the books. And we also find in Montolieu a Museum of the Arts of the book.

It is precisely in this Museum that a first exhibition of the Collection Gelonch Viladegut will be held between May 26th and October 20th 2012. It will be an original exhibition because it will take place in 3 stages : “From Dürer to Goya ” first, then later “From Goya to Picasso ” and finally “From Picasso until today “. Around this exhibition, a set of activities will be organised, ranging from conferences (with speakers coming from both sides of the Pyrenees) to educational workshops, and many others that will be announced on the Collection’s Website.

Why an exhibition of the Collection in Montolieu? Well, thanks to a set of circumstances, among which I would like to distinguish:

 – The contacts established in Montolieu by Mr. Francesc Mestre, renowned gallery owner in Barcelona and good friend of mine, made me to know this place and his inhabitants,

– The warm welcome and the extreme kindness the people of the association “Montolieu, village du livre ” (Montolieu, book’s village) have always shown,

– My very special affection and esteem for France,

– Because it is a project built with a view over time,

 – Having found enthusiastic people, people able to take their responsibilities, and who do not repeat the sterile complaint about what you don’t have and what you do nothing to obtain,

– The opportunities which I found here, the constant encouragement and the support of the organizers there, which I rarely find in my own country.

As I had already said during the inauguration of the exhibition at the Museu d’ Art Jaume Morera de Lleida, today again, on the occasion of the inauguration in Montolieu, I am happy. Because I have always believed that the vocation of a Collection is to be shown, so that all can enjoy it, so that it contributes to raise the cultural experiences, so that it offers opportunities to the young people to learn about the world of art, and because it should allow to involve more those who find it most difficult to have access to culture.

I am satisfied because I can talk about realities, not about illusions or disenchantments. Because I like to be here with people who work, who fight, who have little means, but who have ideas and a certain appetite; because art should become accessible; because it is necessary to disseminate the beauty; and because we all deserve a better quality of life.

For me, Montolieu is all that. I would like to thank the inhabitants of Montolieu for their hospitality and for their work. And I wish you all who will visit the exhibition that art give you moments of personal questioning, introspection, pleasure and serenity. As usual, art, according to me, does not have any other objectives.

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