Can Serrat’s logos

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“Written words are a waste. The oral tradition has no residue or similar deposit”


Can Serrat is an art production space that has existed since 1989. Even after so many years as a public space, it is complicated to find historical archives about it. Perhaps it has something to do with the space being self-funded and the complexity of securing its future but that is a story for another time.


Even though there are some newspaper articles, notes and images to be found in the local library as well as one book written by Jefferson Engberg (Can Salvat). The main source of Can Serrat’s history comes from the stories told by the owners themselves, the residents of El Bruc and from those who have visited Can Serrat from Oslo, the Americas, Asia and the world over.


People talk about Can Serrat as though it were a living memory, a secret shared by those who have experienced it.


I can tell other people’s stories, of places that i have never been to and may never visit. Those that have experienced these spaces first hand may not like or even understand my impressions. Perhaps this is an integral part of oral memory, a sort of no rule land.

This re-telling of stories often means that they can become distorted, sometimes so much so that they no longer bare any resemblance to their origin. However perhaps these new impressions, created from the distortion of the original oral memory, have their own reality and can be as solid.


“I am fighting against the idea, if you want, that spoken words are like the wind, it doesn’t exist, or almost doesn’t have any consistency, spoken words are a sort of scum on the ocean of history, or even that spoken words are nothing more than the transitory, fragile, precarious reflect of something immediately erased by the things that are serious and solid. What would i like to demonstrate is that people do something when they speak”


What we believe to be the first logo of Can Serrat was drawn in the 90’s by Terje Nicolaisen, a Norwegian artist and one of the owners of Can Serrat.  It was drawn one summer day, after a rich lunch in Can Serrat’s garden. The artist used the shape of the house and drew the logo using their fingers and toes, whilst wearing John Lennon’s sunglasses. Exchanging with other artists presents about Can Serrat_how everything comes with the house and create an independent bubble.


Can means house in Catalan. Serrat, the saw-like shape of the mountain.

‘makes sense.


In 2016, Tara Ivanisevic, an artist in residence at Can Serrat, discovered this house logo stamped in one of the books at the library. She decided to organise this into an action. that could not be done in another place with different books.


I thought, what a great logo!


This brings me to the Can Serrat logo that has been in use since 2014. Originally a large scale ink drawing. I made this image without having been to Can Serrat and without knowing this house existed. After discovering the house and losing myself a few times in the residency programs I began helping karine Argile who was running the project at that time. We got along well and decided to work together.


I was still mainly working at a regional art centre in France , “Le Creux de l’Enfer” (the hole of hell). This centre was situated in an old knife factory by a large waterfall that had previously been used to provide electricity to the machines.


I proposed to Karine that we could create a fresh identity for Can Serrat that would be instantly recognisable. Perhaps it was pretentious of me to think that i would be able achieve this.

I still did not understand the house in its entirety. I was missing so many layers of memory.  We had very few connections with the creators of the community at that time and my Spanish was not proficient enough to learn stories from the people of El Bruc.


After several rather ugly proposals, i told Karine that i did not know what to propose and sent her a very chaotic drawing i had done a few months previously. Something that doesn’t have a meaning besides the chaos i could find around me, and somehow discover at Can Serrat too. A chaos of people, feelings. A brain blurry space. Then it was the new logo since he found the one behind the house.


Sophie Blais

translated by Duncan Gibbs