This show focuses on the painting and sculpture produced by the artist in the last period of his life, when he approached his work with the desire to further exploit the capabilities of the plastic language he had constructed during the central years of the Paris avant-garde. At this stage in his career he worked with a sense of total freedom and a full command of the means of expression.
The chronological vision offered by this exhibition begins in the 1960s. This period starts when Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893- Palma de Mallorca, 1983), who had been going through a period of certain pictorial inactivity, had the opportunity to witness a public review of his career, thanks to the 1959 monographic exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the first large retrospective held by Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris in early 1962. This public review took place in parallel with a private examination the artist did of his production, starting in 1956, when he was able to bring together all of his work at Son Abrines, the workshop/home he built in Mallorca. Thanks to this new space, designed by his friend the architect Josep Lluis Sert, Miró could physically confront works of his that had been in storage since the war.
Thus began a period of artistic introspection and purification of his entire previous trajectory. This led to a new stage in which his creative universe came to reflect, paradoxically, the greatest simplification and maximum meaning, the foundations of which were heightened consciousness of the act of creation.
The renewal of his painting took material form in how he worked with backgrounds and media, and in the enrichment of his language of visual signs, experimenting with large formats, and underlining the possibilities of the gesture and the qualities of the material. His first impulse was one of meditation and a return to pictorial emptiness in 1961, and he subsequently turned to a painting that integrated the concepts of action, engagement and risk. Canvases of open space, using fluid and energetic touches, linked to the cosmos, and works with a predominance of human symbology.
In sculpture Miró returned to the concepts of collage and assemblage of objects, which he had developed in the 1920s and 30s, to create, now in the 1960s, bronze sculptures, the aim of which was to use found objects as a point of departure for the invention of sculptural forms, similar to the way in which accidental spots on paper became a basis for his painting.
The exhibition, which will be presented in the United States in 2014 and 2015, includes a selection of 18 paintings, 8 drawings and 27 sculptures and was organised by Museo Reina Sofía and the Seattle Art Museum. Before it travels to the United States, a reduced version of the exhibition, organised by Museo Reina Sofía and Fundación Silos, in Burgos, will be on display in the Valentín Palencia Hall of the Burgos Cathedral.
Valentín Palencia Hall (Cathedral, Burgos): 4 October, 2013 - 8 January, 2014
Seattle Art Museum: 13 February - 25 May, 2014
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University: 14 September, 2014 - 22 February, 2015
Denver Art Museum: 22 March - 28 June, 2015
Organised by: Museo Reina Sofía and Seattle Art Museum
Miró. The Experience of Seeing