Joan Miró ‘destroys painting’ in Yorkshire Sculpture Park show

‘May my sculptures be confused with elements of nature, tree, rocks, roots, mountains, plants, flowers’, quipped Catalan artist Joan Miró, in the manner of, say, a Romantic-era poet, or a man who feels much of the world may be drifting in lysergic reveries.

Joan Miro, Femme Monument, 1970

Source: ® Successio Miro. Photo Gabriel Ramon

Joan Miro, Femme Monument, 1970

While the strikingly deliberate, geometric forms are not exactly organic – and distinctly unlikely to be mistaken for flora and foliage – they are stunning works to be marvelled at just as the artist wanted – out in the open.

‘When I’m living in the country, I never think about painting anymore. It’s sculpture that interests me’, he said. ‘Sculpture must stand in the open air, in the middle of nature.’

Joan Miro, Femme et Oiseaux, 1972

Source: ® Successio Miro. Photo Gabriel Ramon

Joan Miro, Femme et Oiseaux, 1972

Finally, Miró has been granted his wishes in a brilliant exhibition in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has been organized in collaboration with the artist’s foundation and family.

Joan Miro, La Caresse d'un Oiseau, 1967

Source: ® Successio Miro. Photo Fondation Maeght

Joan Miro, La Caresse d’un Oiseau, 1967

Key works from his astonishing corpus are on display in the open air, selected from his vast collection of around 300 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works produced by Miró, the majority of which are concentrated within the later part of his career.

Though perhaps best known for his paintings, Miró claimed to set out to ‘destroy painting’, using his innovative sculptures as a means to transcend the two-dimensional and examine the idea of construction in art.

Joan Miro, Oiseau Lunaire, 1846

Source: ® Successio Miro. Photo Galerie Lelong

Joan Miro, Oiseau Lunaire, 1846

We see the development of his practice from small bronze sculptures such as the 1946 work Oiseau Solaire, his 1960s sculptures, which utilized found objects such as mannequins, dolls, rustic vessels and discarded cans – cast in bronze as part of his artistic insistence that his work must be recognisable – ‘free of tricks or grandiloquence, a direct art.’

Joan Miro, Project for a Monument, 1979

Source: ® Successio Miro. Photo Gabriel Ramon

Joan Miro, Project for a Monument, 1979

Alongside the open-air sculpture displays, the Park’s Underground Gallery provides a cavernous home to the artist’s ‘phantasmagoric world of living monsters’, maquettes which relate to the works outdoors and trace the evolution of sculpture as an element of Miró’s practice from 1946 to 1982.

The show will run until 6 June at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4

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  • Nina from Yorkshire Sculpture Park November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the coverage. The exhibition actually runs to 6 January 2013

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