Rosa Codina

During the spring of 2020 I was in lockdown in the centre of a big city in Catalonia. Even so, it was an intense spring, vividly contemplated and admired. Near the market where I used to go shopping on my regular escapes from the enforced lockdown there is an urban vegetable garden. For months there were no humans around to manage the soil and the flowers. It was thriving with nasturtiums, borage and poppies. Bees returned to the city and the birds were happy! After this first discovery, I couldn’t resist the temptation to come back again and again with my camera and enjoy being happily surrounded by bees, crawling on the ground like a small animal, in this new exuberant garden.

Gradually the rules changed and restrictions began to be lifted. My joy grew as I explored gardens a little further afield. Arriving at the city’s central square, still not too far away but a little further than the market, poppies flooded the green areas, where they grew free and unmolested with no humans about.

If this was the case here, wouldn’t the nearest mountain be paradise itself? I sensed that this was the case and I longed for it, so now, yes, I would break the rules and go as far as Montjuïc! The rules were strict and unless you were holding a child by the hand you couldn’t go to the mountain during the hours of intense spring light. But I couldn’t stop myself. I had to go up there and find my meadow of flowers. My intuition was clear and precise. Arriving at the park, a child greeted me with a bunch of flowers in his hand and a heart felt sensation pulled me in his direction. The meadow existed! It was there before my eyes! In the gardens dedicated to Joan Brossa! I continued on my way dreaming that I was on a mountain in the Vall de Lleida and my joy permeated my photographs. I decided that my photos would be full of light and reflect the perspective of a small animal or the wonder of a child seeing a meadow of flowers for the first time.

Now I look at my photos printed in small format, spread out on the table, and I see a springtime fairy tale: flowers like little aliens or little sculptures? Was there really so much wonder in my gaze? I imagine them printed in large format, 3 by 4 or 2 by 1 and a half, on paper or on tarpaulins like the ones that cover buildings under construction in big cities, impervious to the spring rain or the night cold.

The sun has grown stronger and the rain hasn’t returned. It’s summer: although most have now dried up, a few colourful flowers still persist. I could just walk on by… but I stay to contemplate them. They have seeds! A new world opens before my eyes! The discovery of a new life cycle. Again I crawl about like a child or like a little animal…

Next spring I want to go to a mountain in the Vall de Lleida. Shall I take my compact cameras, or maybe a bigger one, or a video camera as well? I wonder what my gaze will be like in the flowered meadows, with no man-made divisions, on the great mountain where every year flowers grow with no humans to step on them or control their growth, and where beasts often walk all over them and devour them without a care. Will I be more delicate, or less passionate? Will I see them as little fairy tale characters?

The summer is cool on the mountain. Will the colourful flowers continue to flow down its sides?

Will I compare the flowers of my urban mountain to the flowers of my dream mountain, one next to the other, intermingled, separated?

And will I show them to others to discover if they can transmit the joy I felt when contemplating them?


Rosa Codina (Lleida 1965) began studying Fine Arts in the 1980s at the recently created Municipal School of Fine Arts in Lleida, while at the same time studying for a degree in History, which she completed at the University of Barcelona, specialising in History of Art. She has lived in Barcelona since the late 1980s. Her passion for fashion, cinema, music, comics and fanzines has led her to collect fashion magazines and to approach the publishing and audiovisual world, collaborating as a stylist in Sunday magazines (El País), fanzines (AB, Suite, Copy Park), magazines (Metal), video clips (Raimundo Amador & Kiko Veneno, and El Último de la Fila, among others), shorts and films (“Boi” by Jorge M. Fontana), video art (“The Wolf’s Motives” by Carles Congost) and graphic advertising campaigns and commercials.

After a trip to New York in the mid-nineties, she began to experiment in a self-taught way with old Polaroid and compact analogue cameras. Her work observes her surroundings from a perspective rooted in her interest in fashion. In the early 2000s, after giving birth for the first time, she collected and documented the world of children from an adult point of view, but at the same time maintaining a perspective close to a child’s. Along these lines, she published the fanzine Fucklet #3 (2005), a collection of Polaroids and photos of her daughter and other children. Years later, Luis Cerveró of Editorial Terranova invited her to publish a monograph of images of her daughter, children and landscapes in the second issue of the magazine Gong! (2015). Some of these landscapes and trees were also published in The Plant.

For ON_ART., La Térmica’s new virtual gallery, Patrícia Soley-Beltran has invited her to gather in one piece, following a seasonal itinerary, a series of photos and videos of flowers and nature that show her latest work from 2020. Coinciding with the period of humanity’s retreat from nature due to the lockdown, her gaze focuses on the observation of intimate nature, trying to capture the beauty of the smallest things with joy, humility, respect and love.


Thanks to Bernat Granados (video editing) and James Trimmer (sound editing) for their huge help, to Patrícia Soley-Beltran for her proposal, to Santiago Beruete for his text, to Stephane Carpinelli, Roger Bernat and Frederic Montornés for their listening, to Lucia Gangemi for her support in translating “Spring Tale” into English and for always listening, to Alia de Kéroullas, Laura Ninou and Miguel Rojas for being close and to my parents for living next to fields and roads, and for life.