Who is Gabi?
Gabriel Pareras Fusté, Gabi, is considered internationally as one of the greatest references of magic of his time. He was specialized in close-up magic, especially with cards, although his technical and theoretical knowledge, his contributions and his vast repertoire encompass all branches of illusionism. Writer of numerous essays and books, he dedicated much of his adult life to promote, teach, and research the fine art of magic.
As an avid reader and scholar of magic and other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, arts, or neuroscience, his brilliant contributions in the field of magical theory and philosophy stand out. His work have inspired and continue to inspire magicians all over the world. He is the father of the so-called Fictional Magic (so often misunderstood), his personal conception of magic. He himself was very critical of “armchair theories”, referring to inconsistent observations and arguments without a solid foundation. He was not very fond of a dogmatic and inflexible understanding of magic neither. All of his magic conception and philosophy were developed as an answer to the concerns, troubles, and limitations that he himself found “on stage” while performing, and as he explained, a large part of the answers were found outside of magic. Within his own field he gets inspiration from and builds upon the work of other referents of magic from the Magic School of Madrid such as Juan Tamariz, Pepe Carrol, Luis García, Camilo Vázquez and especially Arturo de Ascanio, to whom his book “The ever-going refinement of the very same” is dedicated.
As a creator of magic effects, he has contributed with original effects, highlighting the emblematic “Coleridge’s Flower” or “Suggestion”, as well as with his interpretations of many other effects and classics such as “Caroline Aces”, “The Restless Lady”, “Centaurs and mermaids“, “the Chop Cup“…
As an interpreter he was gifted and graceful, regardless of the elements at play; cards, coins, balls, or ropes or any other, his handling was fluid, plastic and almost hypnotic.
Gabi was born in Barcelona on January 23, 1965, he describes that during his childhood he did not have the slightest interest in magic, it was not until the end of adolescence, at the beginning of the 80s, when he came into contact with illusionism, in a completely casual way. When visiting a sick friend, he found him in bed rehearsing “the boomerang card”, which this boy had read in an introductory book on illusionism, and there his everlasting romance and passion for magic began. He used to say that magic saved him from becoming a “complete inept” because at that time he did not have a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life, and he used to spend most of his time in the streets misbehaving and nothing really motivated him.
Gabi throws himself almost obsessively into the study and practice of illusionism, his talent does not go unnoticed even in his first years of his career. From 1984 to 1992 he performed professionally at the mythical Llantiol café-theater in Barcelona, where emerging stars of magic and comedy performed and headlined regularly.
At the end of the 80s, he breaks into the national magic scene, in 1989 he obtained the first national award in card magic (Málaga) and a year later in Toledo he would get another award, second prize in close up magic. As an anecdote from the Toledo congress, it should be noted that Arturo de Ascanio, with whom he had already established a relationship based on mutual respect and devotion to magic, was enraged by the jury’s decision not to grant Gabi the highest recognition.
As a professional magician, Gabi achieved success and recognition in the eyes of the public and the magical community, but at the same time, he experienced a growing internal dissatisfaction, so he decided to withdraw from the stage to face those concerns by reading and studying disciplines aside from magic, such as psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, literature, film scripts … for its later application to illusionism. In his own words, the thought that occurred in his mind when he thought of the magician getting his way, guessing the card, or triumphantly changing the color of a handkerchief … was a sour “This is it?”. His no for an answer materialized in the study and tireless search for new horizons in magic.
At this stage of his life, 90s and early 00s, Gabi was employed in jobs that allowed him to dedicate almost all his waking time to reading and studying, such as working as a doorman in a quiet building or in a parking lot. Despite his voluntary isolation, during those years there was a regular “pilgrimage” to Barcelona from all over Spain of emerging figures in the magical scene interested in Gabi’s search and findings. Needless to say, most of these people became to be more than colleagues, such as Alberto de Figueiredo, Ricardo Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel Gea, Joaquín Matas, Kiko Pastur, Javier Piñeiro… Gabi was always very grateful for the opportunity that this group of people gave him to confront his original ideas and findings against the critical thinking of other talents equally passionate about magic. This phenomenon did not cease to occur throughout all Gabi’s life, despite not wanting to attract attention to himself, to be featured in this or that event or even of his unwillingness to travel, Gabi’s universe was so magnetic and his ideas so inspiring, people always wanted to know more and more about him.
From the mid-80s to the year 1990 he was a member of the Barcelona SEI Magic Circle (Spanish Society of Illusionism), that year he left this society together with several young magicians to found AMIC (Association of Magicians and Illusionists of Catalonia). Gabi was a member and the flagship of AMIC for the rest of his life.
Around 2005 the opportunity arose to start teaching magic through a magic shop in San Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona). To his own surprise, Gabi fell in love with the didactic labor as he dazzled his students, the classes were extremely entertaining and yet very insightful and didactic. Gabi was a natural and a unique teacher. Due to a disagreement with the magic shop management, the contractual relationship came to an end and another teacher assumed the direction of the classes. Gabi then considered going back to another job that would allow him to continue studying, but Gabi’s former students had other plans, they unanimously left the classes and communicated to Gabi their intention to follow him wherever necessary to continue the classes with him. During the following years Gabi developed the activity of his school, developing an extraordinarily valuable curriculum, first in the house of Sant Cugat where he lived then and later in different places in Barcelona, such as AMIC’s meeting place or El Rei de la Magia Theater-museum. Finally, in 2013 he settled permanently in an exclusive place for his classes at Les Corts neighborhood (Barcelona). That place served as the headquarters of his school and also as his library where he kept his selected readings (3000+ tittles). Without intending to, that location became to be a place of pilgrimage, witness of innumerable gatherings, nights of magic with magicians from all over the world.
In January 2015, Gabi’s close circle of friends threw a surprise party to commemorate his 50th birthday. It took place at La Bauxa Tavern, where Gabi was a regular and an extraordinarily beloved person. Throughout the years this place was also witness of countless improvised magic shows and magicians’ meetings. Those who could not attend that day were present in video form. Gabi, who was not very fond of being the center of attention or to gather crowds around him, was exhilarating and happy, he was the last one to go home at the break of the dawn. It was a truly special night of friendship and magic.
Around 2017 Gabi was diagnosed with a serious lung disease that he carried with the utmost discretion, again, not wanting to drive attention or special care for himself. In July 2020, his condition suddenly worsened, he passed away at home on August 26th. He left us way too soon, but he leaves us an invaluable legacy that will last forever.
Despite not working as a full-time magician (performer) since the early 90s he regularly attended national and international festivals and congresses as a speaker, lecturer, and performer. Some of the most important milestones in this regard are listed below.
- September 1994: First lecture at SEI in Madrid, presented by Arturo de Ascanio
- Chile Ficcional 2007: Presentation of the germ of its fictional magic conception
- Tamarite de Litera 2007: One-man Show
- Alicante Ficcional 2010: Official presentation of its conception before the Spanish magical community
- National Magic Congress 2010 (La Coruña): one-man show
- Memorial Ascanio 2011 (Madrid): Seminar on Ascanio’s magic and presentation of the work that would end up being his book “The ever-going refinement of the very same”
- NeuroMagic 2011 (Vigo): International Magic and Neuroscience Summit – “The Island of Thought”
- 24 hours nonstop magic show at El Rei de la Magia in December 2012
- Memorial Ascanio 2012 (Madrid): Lecture “Educating the spectator’s gaze”
- Jornadas del Escorial 2012: Presentation of his work on “the lap”
- 2013 Tapalpa Magic (Mexico): Lecture and Gala Show
- October 2014: Trip to the USA, Fictional Magic Seminar at the exclusive 52 Get-Together congress in Buffalo and conference at the legendary Tannen’s store in NY
- Magic Congress Murcia 2013 and 2014: Conference
- National Close-up MAgic Cycle Zamora 2015
- The Session 2016 (London): Conference
- Magialdia Vitoria 2016: Lecture “Encounters and Disagreements”
- 2016, 2017 and 2018 (Seville): La Cansina Magic Nights
- Argenmagia 2018 (Buenos Aires): Conference and Gala Show
- Colombia 2018 Conference and performance
- 2013-2019 “Jornadas Cartomágicas del Teatro Encantado“ presentation of various works, performances, conferences.
- Magialdia Vitoria 2019: One-man show
- National Magic Congress 2019 (Murcia): performance and presentation of his lecture “Coins, coins and coins”
- Tribute Magialdia Vitoria 2020
- Tribute Festival Magia de prop TrevoL’H L’Hospitalet de Llobregat 2020
- GranHada Award for magical merit XIX HocusPocus Festival 2020
- In Memoriam Tribute Conference – La Campanella Japan April 2021
- Ascanio Award Posthumous Title 2021 SEI Madrid (announced)