This coming 20 March, the Centro Botín in Santander shall open its doors on a unique survey taking a close look at Joan Miró’s (Barcelona, 1893 – Palma, 1983) most outstanding sculptures and his original creative process, removed from conventional canons. The exhibition will gather for the first time more than one hundred sculptures from all Miro’s various artistic periods, as well as drawings, preparatory sketches for his works, photographs of the artist, videos showing the process of casting, and the objects used to create his works, many of them previously unseen and expressly restored for this exhibition.

The assembly of materials which Joan Miró collected himself on his strolls in the countryside, and the transformation of everyday objects into artworks, are the signature marks of the artist’s sculptural work, for whom freedom and poetry were the true essence of all his creations. As Joan Miró explained with regard to his creative process, “I feel attracted to an object by a magnetic force, without the slightest premeditation, and then I feel myself being drawn towards another object which is added to the first, and in combination they create a poetic shock, preceded by that visual and physical revelation which makes poetry truly moving, and without which it would be completely ineffective.”

Conceived solely and exclusively for Centro Botín, Joan Miró: Sculptures 1928-1982 will be on view to the public at Fundación Botín’s new art centre in Santander from 20 March to 2 September 2018. The exhibition has benefited from the selfless collaboration of Obra Social “la Caixa”.

This survey exhibition marks a turning point in our vision of Miró’s work in sculpture. For the first time, the artist’s creative process can be fully appreciated through a display of original objects and the variety of materials he used in his creations; his work in a number of different foundries; the projects he created to be turned into monuments; his ideas rendered in sketches; and his choice of materials prior to becoming part of the piece he was creating.

Curated by María José Salazar, a member of Fundación Botín’s Visual Arts Advisory Committee and an expert in the work of Joan Miró, and Joan Punyet Miró, grandson of the artist and public head of Successió Miró, the selection of works ranges from his first piece, created in 1928, to his last one in 1982. Also on view are all the materials used by the artist in his work: iron, bronze, wood, paint, fibreglass, polyurethane, or synthetic resins. Also included in the show is a selection of the private collection of small odd objects that Miró treasured – once kept on the shelves of his library, they somehow represent the basis of his sculptural vision, and have now been generously lent by his family. In the artist’s own words, “I want to make huge sculptures. I prepare myself by accumulating things in my studio.” And, as María José Salazar argues, the artist certainly “used them to create a phantasmagorical, ironic, playful world [...] It may sometimes seem that the sculpture is formed from an implausible conjunction of objects obtained at random, but nothing could be further from the truth. Miró sensed and looked for forms.”

Most pieces come from the private collection of the Miró family, Fundació Miró of Barcelona and Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró of Mallorca. Others have been ceded by international institutions, with particular mention to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation in New York, Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and Galerie Lelong in París; and also, in Spain, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Fundación “La Caixa” and the Government of the Balearic Islands.

The exhibition is laid out in five sections, following a chronological order. Generally speaking, one could say that “Joan Miro: Sculptures 1928-1982” displays a selection of the artist’s best constructions, assemblages and monumental sculptures, rounded off by a variety of images of his creative process, taken by major photographers like Joaquim Gomis, Josep Planas Montanyà and Francesc Catalá-Roca; sketches that speak of his restless dedication and quest for forms; and very particularly, the original materials he used to conceive his pieces in the solitude of his studio.

The show will include iconic works like Danseuse Espagnole (1928), the first in his enduring exploration of the third dimension, and the construction Painting –Object (1931). Equally noteworthy is the body of work which the artist referred to as Femme, with which he created his earliest bronzes in 1949, and which he would return to one year later with a combination of bone, stone and iron. His painted sculptures from 1967, like Femme et oiseau, Personnage or Jeune fille s’évadant; monumental sculptures, like Femme Monument (1970), Personnage and Porte I, both from 1974, L’Oeil attire les diamants (1974), in which he restarted experimental works, or Souvenir de la Tour Eiffel (1977), a three-metre high sculpture, conceived with assembled objects.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that this exhibition will be accompanied by a book, published expressly for the occasion, with essays on Miró’s creative process written by María José Salazar and by Joan Punyet Miró and Emilio Fernández Miró, grandsons of the artist, who contribute their personal insights and have taken part in the organisation of this show, in preparation for several years. Apart from a timeline of his work in sculpture, the catalogue will feature for the first time photographic reproductions of all the works on display, together with the cataloguing and reproduction of images of the objects and materials that make up the work or were used to create them.