Thursday, 14 April 2011

Before you go to Tate Modern's Joan Miro show...

The Joan Miro exhibition The Ladder of Escape, which opened at Tate Modern in London today, is a worthy successor to the art museum’s recent blockbuster Gauguin show and runs until September 11th.
The first major retrospective of the Spanish artist in the capital for nearly 50 years brings together more than 150 works including all five of his wall-size triptychs that have never been shown together before.
Miro’s unmistakeable style is likely to attract an audience larger than the usual art show regulars – always given that fans of the artist are prepared to pay an admission price of between £12.20 ($19.88) and £15.50 ($25.26).
I attended a preview yesterday gratis courtesy of my Tate membership – a very welcome birthday present. But assuming you will be making quite an investment, I’m sure there are a few things you’d like to know before you go.
Most importantly have a look at the show’s Tate webpage. There is worthwhile background reading and a 16 minute video which is required viewing. It answers a lot of questions which aren’t addressed in the actual exhibition. It’s worth a look even if you don’t plan to visit the Tate or London.
The show examines that while Miro is often regarded as a Surrealist artist focussed on symbol and colour, there are important political influences in his work – his Catalan roots; the Spanish Civil War; and the rise and fall of the country’s Franco regime.
The curators succeed in their goal. But there is little about Miro, who died at the age of 90 in 1983, the flesh and blood man. I learnt more in a minute of the video about his techniques than all 13 rooms of the exhibition.
Aside from Catalonia, insights into what inspired him are sparse. This may be because Miro was housetrained compared to Picasso and Dali and preferred to pursue his art rather than young mistresses or a twirly moustache respectively.
The artist seems to duck the hero status the curators would like to confer on him. Despite his political allegiances Miro would switch between Spain and France whenever the going got hot in the other. He went into “internal exile” in Majorca – no great hardship (I’ve visited his studio) – growing a deserved international reputation as he outlived the dictator Franco.
You won’t be disappointed by the Miro exhibition.

1 comment:

  1. What about soccer cup final tickets at Wembley, this year at about 120 quid?


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