The Art of Freedom

18.04.2017 | Text Anna Renk | Camera Simon Hollman

Cadaques, Spain
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In the Spanish seaside village of Cadaqués, legendary refuge for Dalí and Picasso, we meet three inspiring artists – and learn from them what it means to be free.

Freedom: a mighty word. Something we all long for. But what does freedom actually mean? And how can you reach this state of mind? Searching for answers, we travelled to Cadaqués, right off Costa Brava in Spain. A place like a synonym for freedom. Here, art determines life. Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and many others found inspiration between breathtaking landscapes and unbridled nature. To this day, you’ll find studios and galleries of artists from all over the world in the narrow streets of Cadaqués. What could be a better place to find freedom?

Getting to Cadaqués, though, doesn’t allow for much freedom: There is only one road, steep and winding. In the sunshine, it’s a perfect place for a ride in the new E-Class Cabriolet. In Cadaqués, we meet artists Maria Sola, Tony Azorín and Erika Prüfert. And ask them what freedom means to them:

Freedom, for me, is knowing who you are. That’s not easy. You need to feel yourself, listen to yourself. To do that, you need tranquillity. That’s why I am here in Cadaqués.

Maria Sola
Artist Maria Sola in Cadaques

Two years ago, Maria Sola rented out her house in Barcelona and moved to Cadaqués. To a place of tranquillity. A tranquillity that felt constricting at first. Winters are especially rough in Cadaqués: The village is empty. Galleries and restaurants close down. Only the cold wind from the sea hauls through the streets. But today, Maria knows that she made the right decision: leaving her former life behind and starting over in this little town by the sea. More and more, she realizes how exhausting city life used to be, the noise, the speed and the commitments. How much it was taking her freedom away from her, the freedom to do what she really wants to do: paint.

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Freedom is a feeling we have when we make changes. We have it when we’re born, and it stays with us until we leave again. It’s lifelong learning.

Tony Azorín
Artist Tony Azorin in Cadaques

When Spain descended into economic crisis, Tony Azorín started to feel helpless. She saw friends and family suffer, her own situation started to get difficult. She felt completely unfree, like she never had before. She nearly forgot what it meant to be free. It was a memory from childhood that saved her: the memory that once, she didn’t need more than a brush and paint to be happy. That’s what freedom was for her. And still is today: Tony makes art out of driftwood and lives in her own little art gallery in Cadaqués. One single room, gallery and home in one. Freed from ballast, she has found her freedom once again.

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For me, freedom means to be able to choose what I want to do in every moment of my life.

Erika Prüfert
Artist Erika Prüfert

Erika Prüfert is a photographer. She was a child when she first came to Cadaqués with her parents. Ever since, the place has embodied freedom for her. Unsurprisingly, one day she decided to make it her home. Here, she lives in a former holiday house at the end of a steep road. A huge, open fireplace heats up the place. Every day, just before sunset, she leaves home to go to Cap de Creus, a rugged peninsula reaching roughly ten kilometres out into the Mediterranean Sea. Cap de Creus looks as though it came from another world: over centuries, the wind has moulded bizarre shapes out of the rocks. Erika roams the place for hours, snapping pictures, and searching for her own freedom – which she often does find.

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