Ink, gouache, pastel and aluminium foil on paper
Work on paper, Collage
During the winter and spring of 1934, Joan Miró conducted a series of interesting “experiments” with both techniques and materials. He tested out new formulas, such as combining collage with oil paint or pastel with Indian ink. He also fearlessly tackled painting and drawing on card and sandpaper, unusual compositions on fibre cement, oils on copper and tempera on Masonite, and most of all, collages as daring and innovative as Sin título (Untitled, 1934). This composition has the added interest of being one of only two drawings/collages in which the artist uses aluminium foil, evoking the metallic surfaces of antique daguerreotypes. However, unlike these, Miró goes one step further, incorporating the virtual movement produced by the viewer’s reflection on the work, like a mirror. Jacques Dupin describes this type of work as “Surrealist montages filled with humour and audacity, true masterpieces of the genre, not only due to the poetic state of grace they depict, but even more so because of the great artistic resources which Miró, together with Max Ernst, puts to use in the service of fantasy, something which few artists are capable of doing ... Miró’s superiority over his Surrealist friends in this area is also the result of the candour and naturalness with which Miró seeks out chance. Pleasure and ease are a constant presence in his ‘discoveries’.” This composition differs from earlier collages/sketches, in which Miró focused on images from industrial machinery catalogues, giving rise to the large paintings of 1933. Sin título is more accurately the culmination of the irreverent collages cut from romantic post cards and fin de siècle advertisements, characterised by a sense of humour and sexual allusions. In this work, the references to sex take the form of a pair of penises which compete to penetrate an evasive vagina, before the astonished eyes of the protagonist, the actor/spectator of the scene, symbolised by a small male face with a curled moustache.
Paloma Esteban Leal