Papers de la Guerra. Pepe Castells i Pubill

On 7 December 1937, Pepe Castells, a 20-year-old boy from Cardedeu (Barcelona), is recruited to fight in the Republican army in the Spanish Civil War. His story is probably not very different from that of many young Catalans who fought at the front. What makes Pepe’s story special is the material he left behind, which is still preserved by his relatives: a handwritten diary, a wide-ranging back-and-forth correspondence, and numerous documents, which help to depict his experience with an unusual degree of detail. Papers de la guerra is a story of the Civil War, told from the inside and in the first person, an object of great documentary value that contributes to the dissemination of the collective memory of Catalonia. It’s a publishing project with an unconventional approach. 

The publication is presented as an object, with a cardboard cover that wraps and protects 3 editorial pieces and 2 complementary elements: the booklet, with a reproduction of the handwritten diary in which Pepe Castells recounts his wartime experiences; the fold-out diary, which contains a selection of the original documents found by the family (photographs, illustrations, letters, postcards, etc.), which offer a good portrait of the graphics of the period; the book, the result of the study of the material, with the transcription of the diary and the letters, original documents, and illustrations; and, finally, a silkscreen with an illustration made by Pepe and the reproduction of two postcards.

Papers de la guerra aims to provide a new point of view in the field of the publications of the Civil War. Conceived as an experience, it invites manipulation and discovery, intending to highlight the importance of the process of studying, cataloguing, and transcribing the collection, carried out by the family. The graphic proposal is articulated around the original material as a fundamental element and the utmost respect for it, with the reproduction in real size of all the documents.

In today’s digitalised world, the importance of the physical format takes on special importance in this publication, as the touch of paper is as necessary as reading it.


Lluc Castells