September 25, 2020

‘Quites’, a compendium of bullfighting culture, Sabina, Marzal … and Ábalos | Blog The bull, by the horns


The singer Joaquín Sabina, the poets Carlos Marzal and Francisco Briones, Luis F. Esplá (bullfighter and painter), the bullfighter Morante de la Puebla, the novelist Karina Sainz Borgo, the French anthropologist François Zumbiehl, the professor Gonzalo Santonja, the designer Francis Montesinos, the surgeon Cristóbal Zaragoza, the journalists Muriel Feiner, Javier Villán and Paco Aguado … and the Minister of Public Works, José Luis Ábalos, are part of the illustrious crew that has participated in the gestation of the bullfighting magazine Remove sponsored by the Diputación and the Generalitat de Valencia.

Along with them, other first swords such as the painters Diego Ramos, Loren Pallantier, Lora Sangrán and Antonio Andrés Nicolau, the plastic artist Nicolás de Maya, the cartoonist Hugo Barros, the photographers Sasha Gusov and Ugo Cámera, and the photojournalist and reporter Anya Bartels -Suermondt

And in front of bullfighters, the fighting director, the journalist Salvador Ferrer, happy with the newborn in his hands, the number 11 of an annual publication that came to light in 1982 on the initiative of the UCD, disappeared 10 years later “due to an unforgivable institutional error of the PP, which held the absolute majority ”, in the words of the director, and who was reborn in 2019, thanks to the encouragement of Toni Gázquez, director of the Center for Bullfighting Affairs of the Provincial Government.

“Bullfighting is an art and a liturgy that we must protect, preserve and care for” (José Luis Ábalos)

“The magazine was born as a cluster of concerns of a restless collective, worth the redundancy, with expressive, lyrical, artistic, aesthetic and plastic vocation of a team made up of Tomás March, Salvador Domínguez, Antonio Doménech and Carlos Marzal”, says Ferrer.

“And today, over the years,” he adds, “it remains an emblem of bullfighting culture, a worldview of bullfighting in which thinkers, humanists, writers, professors have written … It is a platform to talk about bulls as a phenomenon , a rite, an anthropological, aesthetic, literary liturgy… ”.

Salvador Ferrer emphasizes that the magazine Remove —Of which 3,000 copies have been published— “emphasizes the cultural footprint of bullfighting and its weight in the arts, sciences and humanities”. “It is impossible to speak of bulls,” he continues, “and that history, politics, art … are not present.”

Drawing by Loren Pallantier.


Drawing by Loren Pallantier.

One hundred and eight pages make up the 2020 magazine, and all of it is a compendium of culture, from Sabina’s verses (“Six fingers in the flame of José Tomás and a toast in the shadow of Antoñete”), to “La Fiesta Slow” , by Carlos Marzal (“The bulls are the last great temporary spectacle of our civilization: from the old time, from when time passed”, Esplá’s release on the bullfighting of the salon (“I always thought or imagined the similarity between bullfighting and the Bushido or code of ethics of the samurai. Somehow both owe their existence to the military spirit. And both, from different perspectives, long for aesthetic, ethical and psychic perfection “), or” The brushstroke written on the veronica “, by Morante (“The casting of the veronica is the most classic and natural of those made to a bull, having to have more heart on the receipt and more reason on the subsequent ones).

The Minister José Luis Ábalos surprises with a text entitled “A sentimental education” in which he pays tribute to his father “Heliodoro Ábalos Carbonerito, a promising bullfighter ruined by the civil war”, and relives his childhood among bullfighting handicraft dolls. Later he asks himself: “What mystery and how deep does the Fiesta transmit? To what does this indelible charm respond by a culture and tradition so valuable and so often handled by those who despise the bull as well as by those who, pretending to be amateurs, frivolize it and reduce it to a simple spectacle? ” And it ends with a conclusive declaration of intent: “(Bullfighting) is an art and a liturgy that amazes us, amazes us, shakes us; an art and a liturgy that we must protect, preserve and care for ”.

And Joselito the rooster, the king of bullfighters, whose 100th anniversary in Talavera is celebrated in 2020, receives a well-deserved tribute from his biographer, the journalist Paco Aguado.

“The universality of bullfighting combats all the dogmas of ignorance” (Salvador Ferrer)

And so, one after another, each with a contribution of interest, all the authors participating in this edition, from the United States, Russia, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, France and, obviously, Spain.

“The universality of bullfighting fights, from the outset, all the dogmas of ignorance, fanaticism, ignorance and radicalism of those who reject and deny bullfighting,” writes Salvador Ferrer in the magazine’s foreword.

“In this volume of Remove – he adds – the multicultural and cosmopolitan character of the party is reinforced; the rite and liturgy of bullfighting —and, of course, art— capture, seduce, and trap diverse and heterogeneous sensibilities ”.

Ferrer rejoices the gestation of the magazine. How he was reborn in 2019 at a dinner with Toni Gázquez, director of the Center for Bullfighting Affairs of the Valencia Provincial Council, the true promoter of the project together with the president of the provincial institution, Toni Gaspar. It highlights the invaluable collaboration of Carlos Marzal and Luis Francisco Esplá, who make up, in his opinion, “the cornerstone” of the magazine… How, as a result of the bullfighter Román offering a bull to Minister Ábalos at the last fair in San Isidro, he thought about the possibility of asking the politician for his collaboration, and the answer was affirmative and diligent with that article full of longings and love for the bullfighting festival. Or how he was surprised when Morante dared to sketch a few lines on the veronica, happily accompanied by Diego Ramos’s masterful paintings.

“The magazine is, perhaps, the icing on the editorial and literary policy of the Provincial Council, which is the institution that has published the most bullfighting publications in Spain during 2019,” concludes Salvador Ferrer.

Remove, like bullfighting, is a compliment to universality ”, he concludes.

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