Barcelona, 20 December 2022. Joan Miró saw art as an intrinsic part of life, with magical attributes that had to be reclaimed. To achieve this objective, he did not hesitate to tear up the academic conventions of painting. Like other artists linked to the surrealist world, he sought inspiration in primitive artistic manifestations, which were formally simple yet full of sacred connotations.
With the art of prehistory, mediaeval masters and popular culture as his points of reference, Miró wanted to go beyond the mimetic representation of reality and gradually simplified forms until he was left only with what was essential. This practice gave rise to a unique language of signs, which had begun to develop in the 1920s in Mont-roig del Camp (a village in the Province of Tarragona) and became crystallised in the early 1940s. And it was a language he would never give up. In Miró’s work, the night, the constellations, the figure of the woman – understood as a symbolic representation of fertility, reproduction or sexuality – and the bird forever became expressions of a universe of creation and renewal.
‘A form is never something abstract; it is always a sign of something.
It is always a man, a bird or something else.’
Joan Miró interviewed by James Johnson Sweeney
The Miró Universe project immerses us in Joan Miró’s unique and personal creative process, and gives us an insight into the mind and practices of one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The show explores the artist’s language of signs through a concise and careful selection of paintings and sculptures from his latter years, which come from the Fundació Joan Miró’s holdings. The ensemble includes the 1978 paintings Woman in the Night, Woman, Figures and Birds with a Dog and Figures and Birds in a Nocturnal Landscape which, in addition to developing the artist’s language of signs, present another key element of his universe: the use of vivid colours. In the words of Dolors Rodríguez Roig, curator of the project and author of the text of the publication accompanying the exhibition, ‘pure colours responded not only to Miró’s desire to bring his works as close as possible to people, but also to a shift towards pop art. They also served to emphasise his language and the symbolism of his representations, whatever artistic medium he used’. The selection is completed by the 1969 sculpture Sir, Madam, which, according to Rodríguez Roig, exemplifies how Miró ‘changed the traditional perception of sculpture with his visual and poetic games’.
Miró Universe presents photographs of the artist’s personal library and of the collection of objects he kept in his studio. These photographs are by Joaquim Gomis (Barcelona, 1902-1991), an art promoter and a great friend of Joan Miró, who photographed the artist’s work and creative environment throughout his career. Gomis was the first president of the Board of Trustees of the Fundació Joan Miró where, at the wishes of his heirs, his photographic archive deposited in the National Archive of Catalonia is managed and disseminated.
The Miró Universe project is being presented in Puerto Rico following its showing between 2019 and 2022 at the Spanish embassies in Rome, Berlin, Dublin, Brussels, Paris and New Delhi, as well as at the Cultural Centre of Spain in Mexico, thanks to the collaboration between the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Abertis and its Foundation, and the Fundació Joan Miró.
About the Abertis Foundation
The Abertis Foundation was founded in 1999 as a non-profit organisation, with the aim of contributing to the sustainable development of the different territories and countries where the Abertis Group is present. In recent years, the Abertis Foundation has managed to spread culture in the territories where it operates by bringing the work of great Spanish artists like Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Diego Velázquez and Antoni Gaudí to countries such as France, Italy, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
In addition, the Abertis Foundation carries out a range of actions such as road safety improvement ones aimed at reducing accidents and social ones for the most disadvantaged groups and contributes to the development of the International Network of Abertis Chairs in those countries where it is present, such as Spain, France, Puerto Rico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Mexico.
About the Fundació Joan Miró
The Fundació Joan Miró was created by the artist himself and opened its doors to the public in 1975. It is home to a unique collection of Joan Miró’s works, his personal library and an archive of all his preparatory drawings, thus making the Fundació a centre of reference for research, dissemination and promotion of the artist’s production and legacy.
Since its opening as the first museum in Barcelona dedicated to modern and contemporary art, the Fundació Joan Miró has shared the artist’s work and legacy with the world. With support from the public and private institutions, it has promoted and developed international projects and numerous temporary exhibitions. It has also fostered Espai 13, one of the first rooms dedicated to emerging artists and curators, and also an active educational space focusing on the promotion of creativity and a better understanding of modern and contemporary artistic practices.
Metropistas (Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico, LLC) is a consortium that has operated the PR-22 (José de Diego Expressway) and PR-5 highways since 2011 and is also responsible for improving, rehabilitating and developing the conditions of this infrastructure while providing those who use it with world-class services. For more details on rates, services and advances in infrastructure projects, please visit: www.metropistas.com.
About the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR) is a non-profit organisation that was opened on 1 July 2000. It has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 2012. Its mission is to study, research and preserve Puerto Rican artistic heritage in order to foster innovative, inclusive and participatory approaches to the visual arts for and with the communities it serves. In 2020, the Ford Foundation included MAPR on its America’s Cultural Treasures list for its track record of excellence and significant impact on the cultural landscape. Located at 299 Avenida de Diego in Santurce, its large and varied art collection contains works by artists born or resident in Puerto Rico, from the 18th century to the present day.
Selection of images for the press
This material is to be used exclusively to publicise this project in the media. All copyright is retained by the author or their legal representative. © Successió Miró 2022