On January 12 Galería Elvira González will present a solo show of work by Joan Miró (1893 - 1983), one of the key figures in 20th-century avant-garde art. The show consists of two paintings, ten sculptures from the 1970s and early 1980s, and five works on paper, including art works that have never been exhibited previously.
The exhibition -which has been organized in conjunction with the Miró family and the Successió Miró and is the second show dedicated to the Catalan artist at Galería Elvira González- demonstrates Miró’s interest in nature, in everyday objects and for tools and utensils as wellsprings for his poetic imagination.
Miró’s earliest sculptures, which he termed constructions and assemblages, date from 1930. Beginning in 1966 Miró’s work with sculpture, primarily in bronze, became more systematic, to the extent that he produced more than 400 such works during the remaining years of his career.
The exhibition includes various sculptures in which Miró used a poetic and unique artistic language in order to develop an enigmatic world of theatrical figures, as can be seen in Gymnaste (1977) Jeune fille à l’étoile (1977), Danseuse (1981) and Le Chanteur d’opéra (1977). In creating these works Miró imbued everyday objects —such as chairs, clothes hangers and kitchen tools— with a new character. In Chanteur Mongol (1971) he took the doorbell from the Miró residence and placed it on top of a lump of clay with a hole at the bottom, thus suggesting a feminine figure.
Miró’s studio was filled with a variety of objects which he used in his sculptures, often in random combinations. As Jacques Dupin, Miró’s friend and biographer, wrote, “it all began with Miró slipping out of his studio, unseen, only to return with an impromptu harvest of objects - his bounty... This refuse was the visionary’s secret treasure, his infinitely rich deposit…. At times he would be moved to ecstasy by something that to me remained invisible.”
The three-meter high sculpture entitled Souvenir de la Tour Eiffel (1977), is one of the clearest examples of a work that has been carefully considered and in which a series of ideas, variations, additions and assemblages of objects from the artist’s studio culminate in a work of sculpture. Numerous preparatory sketches for this work exist, as do photographs of the work in progress in the studio, where the different components of the work can be seen leaning on the walls and lying on the floor. A sculpture is made out of a wicker lamp, resting on four legs, in which the lamp shade has been replaced with a mannequin’s head —specifically, the head of Groucho Marx. The piece is topped by a wood pitchfork that resembles an ornamental hairpiece, while at its base there is a box full of used paint tubes and wire. Finally, this combination of objects is cast in bronze, yielding a figure that is as playful as it is symbolic, an enigmatic creature that is at once a souvenir of the Eiffel Tower while also reminiscent of the Catalan castellets (human acrobatic towers) of which Miró was so fond.
As Miró wrote in a 1936 letter to Pierre Matisse, his dealer in New York City:
“I feel myself attracted by a magnetic force to an object, and then I feel myself being drawn towards another object which is added to the first, and their combination creates a poetic shock – which makes the poetry truly moving, and without which it would have no effect.”
The exhibition also includes paintings and drawings such as Oiseau, étoiles (1977), Composition (1976) and Homme, femme et oiseaux dans la nuit (1970).