Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Woman, Bird, Star

(image taken from City Tours Barcelona)

(image taken from Visit Flanders)

(images taken from Joan Miro Foundation)

I spent this afternoon at the Joan Miro Foundation, up on Mount Juic near the infamous Olympic Stadium grounds, slowly weaving between tapestries, paintings, and bronze sculptures. Organized chronologically, with accompanying biographical context, the museum aptly displays his progression in use of color, balance, shape, abstraction, and gesture. In his earliest works included, the vision is amateurish, however, he already indicates a wild movement of brush strokes, a familiarity of color of which most other artists can only dream; his landscapes are crude but delightfully so. As he morphs, imbibing influence from the Dada movement, the Surrealist philosophy and aesthetic, and French poetics, as well as reflecting on the dramatic political and cultural tensions in his home country, his work becomes simultaneously cosmic and microscopic. In a word, universal. He rejects accepted schema and coda that we are accustomed to, inventing his own visual language, and yet invites the viewer to partake, envelopes the viewer into this seemingly simplistic and bemused symbology. 

During a brief video interview in a streaming documentary, towards the end of the collection, a local Spanish physicists remarks that Miro embraces a scientific outlook; indeed, his geometry at once alludes to overwhelming astronomical bodies, the spheres in the great space above our own planet, immense and floating and mysterious, and to the miniscule microcellular machinery hidden within our own bodies, intricate and floating and mysterious. Golgi bodies, mitochondria, vacuoles. Representations in colors unnaturally bright, yet compelling in their nascent beauty. As though he, Miro, discovered these colors in our world where no one had before, did not mix or concoct them in some process of chromatic alchemy. In some pieces, he juxtaposes with these organic and nebulous bodies straight and definite lines; in others, he does not. Certain patterns and thematics recur, without becoming signature or trite; the entire collection was awe-inspiring. For me, in particular, uplifting, especially when seeing a comment Miro had made, transitioning interest and scope from traditional canvas medium to larger scale public sculptural and mural works: painting on a canvas is to inspire poetry. He is certainly right there.