The Joan Miró Foundation’s Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani is a museum honouring the work of Spanish artist Joan Miró. This stunning modern gallery sits on Montjuïc hill with a commanding view over Barcelona. The museum houses more than 13,000 items including 225 paintings, 169 sculptures, sculptures, graphics and books, and it provides a superb introduction to the life and work of this amazing artist. During his 90 years he made at least 2,000 oil paintings, 500 sculptures, 400 ceramic objects, and 5,000 drawings and collages, many of them expressing his Catalan origins.
Amongst my personal Miró favourites are his “Constellation” series, where his beautiful distilled shapes demonstrate his well-developed language, use of colour, inter-relatedness of objects and shapes, and where everything expressed on the canvas matters. I found I spent hours trying to decode his language, and was inspired not only by his artworks, but his sculptures and woven wall hangings (see image). I am drawn to Miró for many reasons, but I particularly admire his focus upon nature. “May my sculptures be confused with elements of nature, trees, rocks, roots, mountains, plants flowers” (Joan Miró in “Miró” by Janis Mink).
For the same reason I am also drawn to his sculptures, many of which have a resonance that goes beyond their physical dimensions. Somehow the disparate parts of the sculpture “Figure” appear to be complete in their own right, being chosen for their special shape, and yet, when assembled as a whole, they look well integrated. “What do I mean by mythology?” he said. “By mythology I mean something that is endowed with a sacred character, like an ancient civilisation … That kind of human presence in things is mythology. That is why I don’t think of a pebble or a rock as something dead“. (Guide of the Foundation, Ediciones Poligrafa).
“Fleeing Young Girl” (see image) is made of found objects which are cast in bronze, and painted in bright colours. This and other colourful sculptures are almost Pop in overtone, and refreshingly undertaken by Miró when in his seventies.