Joan Costa

1952 – Joan Julià Costa Gimeno was born in 11 July in the seaside neighbourhood called El Grau de Gandia, in the province of Valencia. His father was a professional merchant marine, while his mother worked in the home. The first nine years of his life were spent between El Cabañal, Gandia and Ibiza, where his father’s side of the family was from.

1961 – The family established their residence in Gandía, close to relatives from his mother’s side of the family. There, under the unbearably influence of the national-Catholicism, Joan attended the school of the Piarist Fathers, where his early interest in drawing prompted them to encourage his pursuit of the Arts. He received classes from the painters Pablo Gorgé and Asunción Bosch.

1970 – Joan began his studies in Fine Arts at San Carlos High School in Valencia.

1973 – He received his first professional commission to create the main altarpiece for the Church of the Piarist Schools in Gandia.

1977 – He took a course in fresco painting in San Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona).

1978 – After completing his studies, he received a scholarship from the Provincial Council of Valencia to continue his education in Madrid. He was stationed for military service at the Army Museum, conveniently located near the Prado Museum. This proximity enabled him to paint two on-site copies, one of Tintoretto and another of Bernardino Luini. His artistic interests at that time primarily focused on the works of Vázquez Díaz and the School of Paris.

1978-1990. Joan resided in Madrid during the vibrant era known as the Movida Madrileña. The exuberance of this period found expression in his artworks, characterised by the neo-expressionist style of the transavantgarde movement, influenced by visits to art galleries and art fairs such as ARCO.

1988 – He officially validated his academic qualifications in Valencia, earning a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts with a thesis focused on the pictorial technique of Renaissance painter Paolo de San Leocadio. His first exhibitions were held in several cities, notably Madrid and Valencia.

1990 – Joan established a permanent residence in Valencia, while periodically travelling and spending time in Matalascañas, (Huelva) and Seville. Later on, linking with the beginning of his career, he returned to a figurative style, looking for a more personal way of self-expression

1993-1995. He lived and painted in Paris.

1995-2000. Invited by his friend and colleague Domingo Barreres, Joan made multiple trips to Boston, where Domingo was a painting professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. There, occasionally he gave masterclasses focusing on the “alla prima” painting technique, employing live models. In the later years of the decade, he alternated exhibitions with giving talks and lectures on Art History, gradually cultivating this into another facet of his professional career.

2000-2008. Joan participated as part of the restoration team at the Clarisas Museum in Gandia, a project that was taking place during this period. Concurrently, numerous exhibitions showcased his work.

2012 – He joined, until nowadays, the teaching staff of the University of Valencia, at the Gandia campus, serving as a visiting fellow for courses in Valencian Art History and Modern Art History.

2013, 2015, 2019. His paintings were studied by professors Román de la Calle, Rafael García Mahiques, from the University of Valencia and Henry Keazor from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, among others.

Joan Costa’s paintings have consistently explored the diverse avenues opened by modernity for figuration, marked by a keen curiosity for expressive languages. He employs codes that can be manipulated to take on new meanings. Photography and a profound knowledge of Art History serve as pivotal elements in shaping his works, which evolve through the revisiting, transformation and recycling of images used in the past.