Joan Miró: the Ladder of Escape
As much as I love modern art and have a keen interest in surrealism, I never really seemed to have a passion for Miró’s work. I always preferred Magritte, Dali, Duchamp and thought of Miró’s work as red triangles and yellow spots on black background with a strange sentence in French on top of it all. Well, that is one part of the Spanish artist’s palette, but his repertoire is much broader, as the current Tate Modern exhibition devoted to him shows.
Did you know for example that he did graffiti art to reference May 68 in Paris? Or that he burnt some his canvases and presented the pieces with huge holes inside half of the paintings? That his earlier works were very figurative landscapes? That he did sculpture, even?
The Ladder of Escape exhibition retraces his evolution as an artist, and most of all, focuses on his political engagement. Indeed most of his works were direct products of what was happening in the world at the time, from WW2 to his exile to France from Spain under Franco’s regime – à la Guernica.
It also shows the unlimited imagination and poetic vision of an artist André Breton, leader of the Surrealist movement, used to call “the most surreal of us all”.
My favourite part is perhaps Room 10 of the exhibition, which displays two large-scale triptychs, influenced by the American Abstract Expressionism movement at the time. The vivid blues, red and orange of the pieces on grand scale are particularly hypnotising and it is no surprise these works were received to great acclaim in Paris at the time. More surprising then – is that they are not more known nowadays. It is therefore a great opportunity to see them at the Tate.
Picture credits: Dog Barking at the Moon, Joan Miró, 1926.