Major exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai

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Major exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai
In the works on display, visitors will discover Miró’s imagination and his unique language of signs, as well as the way the artist experimented with a variety of techniques and materials and the new life he gave to everyday objects.

SHANGHAI.- The depth of meaning in Joan Miró’s work springs from a desire to capture the essence of human existence. On a personal level, this desire also implied an affirmation of identity that arose from Miró’s strong connection with the land – with the medieval town of Mont-roig del Camp, in the Catalan countryside, where his family had a house and which was the original source of his creativity. Paradoxically, he could only achieve this aim by breaking boundaries and constantly reconsidering his own creative effort, which he was finally able to materialise in the context of the Paris avant-garde and in a century marked by cruel conflicts. The artist’s wish thus acquired a dimension that moved beyond the realm of the individual to become universal. Miró aspired to achieve a collective, anonymous form of art, and this explains the multidisciplinary nature of his work and his quest for collaborations. Through painting, he created a complete universe of signs and symbols. Inspired by Zen spirituality and Far Eastern art, Miró had a powerful influence on subsequent generations of artists such as the American abstract expressionists, among many others; his art has become, rather than a movement, a language that continues to be alive and appeal to all audiences today.

To celebrate the opening of the new building for the Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai, the Fundació Joan Miró presents the project Joan Miró. Women, Birds, Stars. The title of the exhibition refers to a theme that Joan Miró addressed over some forty years of his career, reaching its zenith in his later works. This period of maturity was probably the time the artist enjoyed the most, for several reasons. Having overcome his financial difficulties, as well as the uncertainties of the Spanish Civil War – when he lived in exile in Paris – and the Second World War – when he first moved to the coast of Normandy and then to Palma de Mallorca – he settled permanently on the island in 1956. There he finally had access to a spacious studio designed by his friend Josep Lluís Sert, the architect who created the Fundació Joan Miró building twenty years later together with the artist. That studio allowed Miró to work on large-format pieces and diversify his output by experimenting with sculpture, printmaking and textiles.

As the years passed, Miró defined his own style, systematically reduced his colours to an elementary range, and consolidated a formal vocabulary composed of a clearly defined group of figures, women, birds, the moon, the sun and the constellations, the ladder of escape, and motifs that refer to more general concepts – the land and the sky, the connection between them, and the search for an ideal harmony.

Joan Miró. Women, Birds, Stars offers an insight into Miró’s language at the Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai. The Fundació Joan Miró has selected thirty-one paintings, ten drawings, twelve lithographs, seven engravings and nine sculptures, most of them from its permanent collection. The show is divided into an introduction and four sections. In the first part, A Vocabulary of Signs introduces visitors to the artist’s vocabulary through his prints, and shows the more poetic concepts developed by Miró throughout his artistic career: the sky, the stars, birds and women.

In the 1950s, in the new studio designed by Josep Lluís Sert, Miró was able to delve fully into new materials and formats. The section The Sign In Freedom shows the artist’s technical experimentation with a variety of materials, and his use of signs in a more open way, enabling them to transform and reinvent themselves, even to the point of dematerialising.

The third section, The Object, focuses on sculpture, ceramics and textiles as objects. For Miró, objects are the equivalent of signs in painting, where the real becomes symbolic. Their presence and practical reality remain evident, but the way Miró uses and combines objects is translated into a new personality and form that go beyond their practical function: ‘A piece of thread can unleash a world’, Miró told the artist Yvon Taillandier in 1959. The last section, Black Figures, includes paintings, etchings and lithographs. One of Miró’s distinguishing features was his constant curiosity, which led him to experiment with a wide variety of materials and techniques such as drawing, painting and printmaking.

In addition to the works by Joan Miró, the exhibition includes photographs by Joaquim Gomis, a friend of Miró and the first president of the Fundació’s Board of Trustees. In these images, we see the artist in the print shop, at the foundry, and in his own studio. The Joaquim Gomis collection, managed by the Fundació, gives us context and a better understanding of Miró’s creative processes. Video material and an educational program about techniques, colour, texture, form, volume and symbolism, specially designed for this project, complete a unique experience of the Fundació Joan Miró at the new Museum of Art Pudong, in Shanghai.

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