Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spanish thrills

Joan Miro - Still Life with Old Shoe 1937

The exhibition currently at Tate Modern would not have been my choice. Miro has always left me somewhat cool. Surrealism is not in my comfort zone. However, it was a study day and I had no choice.

As so often in life, because my expectations were low it proved to be a hugely exciting and interesting show. Another reason for enjoying it was that we only focused on a few paintings. Normally one feels obliged to work hard at every image. What I discovered was a man who was able to convey his joy, and sometimes horror, in life and love of his country, a love which was sorely tested at times. This image is supposed to represent Spain at the time of the Civil War, with the old shoe being Spain. It is a large canvas, and the colours are almost fluorescent.

The later paintings were a revelation. Miro burnt holes in a series of highly abstracted canvases and then hung them (in an exhibition in Paris, for instance) from the ceiling so you could see through the holes. It seems the antithesis of what an artist would choose to do - partially destroy his creation - but it is a stunning.

Joan MirĂ³: Burnt Canvas I (1973)

Read what The Guardian said

Despite some reluctance initially, this was one of the most interesting shows I have seen in a long while. Go if you can.

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