Owing to his hunger and disposition for constant learning, Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, 1983) is able to widen his field of creation by working with various mediums and supports - painting, sculpture, ceramics and engravings. Following on from previous exhibitions devoted to his sculptures and paintings, Miró grabador en los fondos del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Miró Engraver in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection), this exhibition focuses on his graphic works, bearing witness to the consideration of Miró as a multifaceted artist. By the same token, it emphasises the stylistic correlation between works on the fringes of Surrealism and Abstraction created with different techniques throughout his career. The exhibition is made up of a selection of one hundred of the four hundred engravings conserved by the museum and sixteen of his illustrated books, which stress the huge significance of poetry in his work.
The beginnings of this graphic output can be cited back to 1928 with his first collaboration as an illustrator for the poems in Lise Hirtz' book entitled Il était une petite pie. From this time onwards he works with, among others, writers and poets in the following projects: Parler seul (1948) by Tristan Tzara; Journal d´un graveur (1975), by Jacques Dupin; En compagnie des étoiles (1978), by Shuzo Takiguchi and Ruban (1981), by Michel Leiris, and also edits his own notebooks (1977). Dupin recalls how Miró enters into illustration at the same time that poetry and image acquire fully formal and compositional independence, moving away from representation and relinquishing naturalism. In these projects, the aim of the artist is to mix the poetry of his paintings with the writings of different poets, bringing the aesthetics of painting and poetry together as one, a principle that, by and large, originates from his profound admiration of and inclination towards Asian art and calligraphy.
The collection of engravings conserved by the Museo Reina Sofía begins in 1952 with Serie II, produced in the legendary Atelier 17 studio in New York that belongs to the painter and printmaker Stanley William Hayter. Adrien Maeght is his main editor and printer at the time, although his work is also printed by Fernand Mourlot and the Morsang studio, both based in Paris.
The collection of work is testament to the scope of techniques used; starting with more traditional methods: lithography, etchings, aquatint and drypoint, and then moving on to more elaborate ones: pochoir (hand illustration using zinc stencils) and carborundum (involving the addition of liquid substances, resins and powders from a range of materials to the engraving plate). As a result he is able to push the boundaries of artistic and aesthetic possibilities. Miró expresses to Dupin how, “for me engraving is a form of liberation, expansion and discovery”. As with his painting, Miró is able to go beyond traditional engraving formats and dimensions by working on a larger scale, as seen in La folle au piment rageur (1975).
Ayuntamiento de La Coruña; Centro de Belem, Lisbon; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Edimbourgh; Museo de Bellas Artes, Jaén; Huelva; Fundación Wifredo Lam, 1999; Centro Cultural de España en La Habana, November, 1999; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Teherán (September 22 - October 30, 2000); Sala Bancaja, Zaragoza, 2003; Santander cultural; Porto Alegre, Brasil (January 8 - February 24, 2003); Conjunta Cultural da Caixa, Brasilia (November 12, 2001 -January 20, 2002); Palacio de Laboa, Belo Horizonte, Brasil (February 2002)
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