Anna Maria Alguersuari
My greatest privilege is to have shared the most decisive years of my life with Xavi Caba. 19 years packed with just about everything one could imagine. He, father of my only son Joan, was a man both honest and brave. His all-encompassing curiosity for the world around him – especially from the point of view of an artist – compelled him to learn, accomodate and love everything he could.
He helped me to appraise and to pick an opinion – as difficult as that can be to achieve – when scrutinising a work of art. While admiring nature scenes for example, both of us being nature lovers, he helped me to discover the beauty of that hidden part, perhaps camouflaged rather than hidden, and lift it to the category of art by painting it. When confronted by a landscape, I often find myself squinting to allow just a little light through a tiny crack, and to my delight the images become pleasingly contrasty.
I can still hear his voice calling me from the studio upstairs, asking me to come up and give my opinion on a painting nearing completion. These are tremendously vivid memories to me, often present, part of me.
From his time in Paris he learnt to impose a strict working discipline since it would have been very easy to fall into the Bohemian trap of the time. “Inspiration should come to you with your brushes in your hand” was his motto.
For some, luck is a matter of chance; for others, luck is tenaciously provoked by pure perseverance. In Xavi, this effort was so constant that it turned into a habit, a custom which became a characteristic of his personality. He was very demanding with himself and by proxy, of others. He refused to accept mediocrity. He knew exactly what his level was. Behind each and every piece was simple hard work.
It may be that it was in the magic world of ceramics where fire finally fused the artist and the investigator, as if they were one and the same thing. As a painter, Xavi had always been interested in enamels, in the sense of colour transformed by flame or electrical elements. He painted with ceramics. He identified mostly with high temperature tonalities. The search for new vertical pigments, almost imperceptible nuances, the chase for stimulating textures kept him at maximum alert until he had finally mastered them. “These gres murals that I do”, he used to say, “are not fully appreciated today. Novelties are much better considered, even if the esthetics leave much to be desired and there’s no balance. But I don’t know of any other ceramic artist that does this, you have to be able to draw, paint and work the clay to create these murals”.
Xavi, great friend of his friends, had that wonderful gift called generosity. He would always share his knowledge and freely gave away his experience to anyone that showed an interest.
Everything I know about ceramics I owe to him, he who taught me his trade with great passion and devotion. The excitement shared by all three of us, Xavi, Montse and myself, every time we opened the kiln after each firing usually with some experiment or other inside, is an unforgettable image held in my memory.
Xavi loved his friends, occupying the first row of the stage of his life. A profound, sincere and loyal friendship, shared over time and space with each of them, slipping, flowing over the physical frontiers of existence.