September 21, 2023


Make Some Fun

Joan Miró. Absolute Actuality. Paris, 1920–1945

9 min read

Within the 25 years of exercise coated by the exhibition, there’s a fixed circulate of latest concepts starting from his preliminary magic realism to his language of constellated indicators.

On this interval, it turns into clear that prehistoric artwork held a particular curiosity for Miró, who proposed returning to the daybreak of artwork as a way to retrieve its unique religious sense.

Admired for his formal improvements developed within the context of the primary avant-garde actions, particularly Dadaism and Surrealism, Miró can be thought of a precursor of Summary Expressionism and Conceptual Artwork.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Joan Miró. Absolute Actuality. Paris, 1920–1945, an exhibition that explores the profession between the years 1920 and 1945 of one of the crucial excellent artists of the twentieth century. The beginning of this elementary interval in Miró’s oeuvre is marked by the date of his first journey to Paris, a key metropolis in his life and work, and it closes with the yr when Miró, after producing his Constellations (1940–41) after which hardly portray in any respect for some years, created an awesome collection of works on white backgrounds that consolidated his language of indicators floating on ambiguous grounds.

Within the 25 years of exercise coated by the exhibition, there’s a fixed circulate of latest concepts starting from his preliminary magic realism to his language of constellated indicators. On this growth, it turns into clear that prehistoric artwork, together with rock work, petroglyphs, and statuettes, held a particular curiosity for Miró, a fascination confirmed by his notebooks, the place he proposes returning to the daybreak of artwork as a way to retrieve its unique religious sense.

The work of Joan Miró (b. 1893 Barcelona; d. 1983, Palma) is admired for its formal improvements developed in the context of the first avant-garde actions, particularly Dadaism and Surrealism, and he is additionally thought of a precursor of Summary Expressionism. Miró was furthermore an artist in religious issues and fascinated by visions and desires. Extra lately, consideration has additionally been drawn to the political facets of his work, emphasizing his agency opposition to Franco’s dictatorship and his sympathy for the Catalan nationalism of the interval. A few of his concepts like his proclamation of the “assassination of portray,” made at a level in the late Nineteen Twenties when Miró was portray unceasingly, stay intriguing, and level to an angle heralding Conceptual Artwork. Forty years after his demise, briefly, his oeuvre nonetheless pursuits and fascinates us whereas remaining simply as enigmatic as ever.

Miró’s oeuvre is an exemplary mythopoetic challenge, a fixed transformation of lived expertise into artwork. As firmly as he ignored conventional realism, Miró additionally rejected the thought of pure abstraction, asserting that each one the marks he painted on his works corresponded to one thing concrete and anchored in a profound actuality that is half of actuality itself. This thought relates to a phrase by poet André Breton, the chief of the Surrealist motion, who spoke of a new absolute actuality in which the interior world of artists and poets was integrated to the exterior world. Within the meantime, Paul Klee, an artist admired by Miró, referred to as his personal work summary however with reminiscences, which means that in artwork, the actual is the actual reworked by reminiscence. In statements made to Cahiers d’Artwork in 1939, Miró affirmed: “If we don’t attempt to uncover the spiritual essence or the magical sense of issues, we shall do no extra than add new causes of degradation to these already surrounding folks in the present day.”


Miró spent his formative years in Barcelona at a time when nationalist sentiments had been blooming. The Catalan capital was then a conservative metropolis, however numerous excellent personalities emerged there within the late 1910s with a dedication to the new concepts arriving from Paris, amongst them the composer Frederic Mompou, the poet J.V. Foix, and Miró himself. Throughout World Warfare I, a number of vital avant-garde artists additionally took refuge in Barcelona, such as Francis Picabia, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Marcel Duchamp, all of whom Miró met.

At that stage, the Catalan painter already longed to journey to the French capital, and he and his mates would focus on the information that arrived from it. He imagined that he would discover nice inventive freedom in Paris and would frequent the firm of the most superior artists, poets, and artwork sellers of his time, as was certainly to happen.


In 1918–1920, Miró painted what have been referred to as his “detailist” works, characterised by nice focus and delicacy of execution. In them, the leaves of timber and crops look like minutely precise calligraphies, reminiscent of oriental inventive practices. The rural world in these early works turns into an Arcadian setting. Reasonably than representing actuality exactly, Miró paints the feelings the landscapes arouse in him. The need for objectivity is reworked into a visionary gaze.

Additionally from this first interval is Self-portrait (1919), which nonetheless manifests a need for objectivity associated to seen actuality. It is a lengthy method from two later self-portraits, Self-portrait I (1937–38) and Self-portrait II (1938). In the primary, Miró turns himself into a clear determine and his eyes and the buttonholes of his shirt undertake astral or cosmic kinds, whereas his face is the emblem of his interior world. In the second self-portrait of 1938, Miró transforms himself actually into the night time, for this is a pure imaginative and prescient of himself at a second of rapture. In this work, two purple circles surrounded by tongues of yellow flame float in a black area with no limits or horizon, whereas all round are stars, fishes, birds, butterflies, and biomorphic summary shapes. The complete factor suggests ecstasy.

For Margit Rowell, “Miró’s religious life, his interior panorama, was as actual to him because the solar, an insect, or a blade of grass. (…) His mythopoetic conscience seldom noticed actuality with out a filter: the filter that reworked any fact into an Absolute Fact.”

Early Nineteen Twenties

Miró wrote to his buddy J.F. Ràfols in 1923 on the topic of the new landscapes he was then portray: “I’ve managed definitively to break away and free myself from nature, and the landscapes no longer have something to do with exterior actuality,” the purpose being “higher emotional energy.” Inside (The Farmer’s Spouse, 1922–23), one other portray of the agricultural world, can be a transitional work. To paint the farmer’s spouse of the title, Miró used a doll, which heightens a closing sensation of strangeness. On this image, all of the seen parts, together with a cat and a range, can nonetheless be clearly recognized. Nevertheless, the girl’s huge naked toes verify that mere illustration is not the painter’s goal right here, and that the vitality which transfigures the actual comes from the earth.

In his first Paris studio at 45, Rue Blomet, which he occupied in 1921, Miró painted the landscapes which bear no reference to exterior actuality. André Masson was a neighbor of his, and among the many excellent artists and poets who handed by means of Miró’s studio had been Antonin Artaud, Raymond Roussel, Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard, Michel Leiris, Benjamin Péret and René Char. He was in the formal improvements of all these figures, who rejected logic, cliché, and custom whereas turning their consideration to questions like automatism, the aesthetics of fragmentation, the arbitrary union of sudden and unconnected photographs, and the visible and typographical use of poetic texts in calligrams. Miró’s photos of the mid–Nineteen Twenties, recognized as the dream work, destroy any logical narrative construction, and the few parts that seem scattered over their surfaces seem to be the consequence of improvisation, though his sketches show the other.

Rue Tourlaque

Between 1926-1927, Miró modified studio and type. He moved to the Rue Tourlaque, the place he labored till 1929, alternating with summers in Catalonia, and the place he frequented the corporate of artists like Jean Arp, René Magritte, and Max Ernst, his new neighbors. Amongst his most excellent works of that time are numerous large-format horizontal landscapes like Panorama (Panorama with Rooster) and Panorama (The Hare), each of 1927. Right here, Miró paints sure recognizable however stylized parts. The intensely coloured backgrounds of these photos recommend large open areas, whereas conventional procedures like shading, the development of quantity, and perspective all disappear. In 1927, Miró additionally produced a collection of small work on white backgrounds like Portray (The Solar) and Portray (The Star). In these works, the background is a pure pictorial area the place recognizable however stylized types of stars and animals float like emblems of this new actuality.

The Thirties

Within the Thirties, expressionism grew to become a dominant attribute of Miró’s work. This is the case of Group of Personnages within the Forest (1931), the so-called Wild Work (1934–38), a collection of work on sandpaper, collages, small work on copper like Man and Lady in entrance of a Pile of Excrement (1935), an in depth collection of work on masonite from the summer time of 1936, and one other on celotex of 1937. On the whole, all of them are characterised by displaying monstrous figures in ambiguous and disturbing settings, most likely a mirrored image of his fear and nervousness over the political scenario that led to the Spanish Civil Warfare and World Warfare II. Miró created the 27 work on masonite panels of the similar measurement throughout the summer time that introduced the begin of the Civil Warfare. These works anticipate the Motion Portray of the New York College, the place the act of portray turns into the topic of the work. His photographs are an illustration of the course of that has given rise to them. Miró paints on a extremely textured materials with an intense earthy shade upon which he quickly superimposes black strokes and fields of shade, using different richly textured supplies like tar, gravel, or sand. Generally he scrapes or pierces the floor. Regardless of their spontaneity, sure kinds in these works are recognizable or suggestive of particular issues, such as eyes, heads, and phalluses.


With the begin of World Warfare II, Miró, who was exiled in Paris, moved to a small home in Varengeville-sur- Mer in Normandy, the place he obtained a fee to paint a mural. As soon as there, he painted 5 small landscapes entitled The Flight of a Fowl over the Plain, a reference to the open plains of that space and the crows flying over them. It was a very totally different panorama to that of the Mediterranean.

From Varengeville, Miró wrote to his buddy Roland Penrose about the way in which the Constellations had arisen: “After portray, I dipped my brushes in turpentine and dried them on white sheets of paper, with out following preconceived concepts. The stained floor stimulated me and led to the delivery of kinds, human figures, animals, stars, the sky, the solar, and the moon. I drew all these issues vigorously with charcoal.

As soon as I had achieved a stability in the composition and had put all these parts in order, I began to

paint with gouache, with the minuteness of a craftsman or a primitive man; this took me a very long time.”

The 23 constellations had been painted between January 1940 and September 1941. They had been completed in Majorca, the place Miró and his household took up residence after fleeing from the conflict in France. When they had been proven at Pierre Matisse’s gallery in New York in 1945, they had been the first works created throughout the conflict to be exhibited in the United States, and they made a nice affect. These work are the fruits of the potential of the language of indicators created by Miró, with an emphasis on creativeness and instinct, and a need to discover a primal and common kind of expression.

After the Constellations, Miró shut himself up in Majorca with his household and stopped portray for a time. Issues modified in 1945, when he produced a nice collection of large-format work, as soon as extra on a white background, in which he resumed the growth of his language of indicators. Lady and Birds in the Night time, Determine and Birds within the Night time, and Lady within the Night time are amongst the titles of this collection, some of that are repeated. Practically all the works have the phrase ‘night time’ of their title, though the backgrounds are white and luminous. From 1944 on, Miró additionally took an curiosity in ceramics, working in partnership with Josep Llorens i Artigas.

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