Kunsthaus Zürich presents ‘Joan Miró – Wall, Frieze, Mural’

001Image courtesy of Kunsthaus Zürich

Kunsthaus Zürich presents ‘Joan Miró – Wall, Frieze, Mural’

From 2 October 2015 until 24 January 2016 Kunsthaus Zürich presents ‘Joan Miró – Wall, Frieze, Mural’, a ground – breaking exhibition that presents Miró’s large – scale mural works in the context of his oeuvre as a whole and which proposes an atypical reading of the artist’s approach to painting. It points out important constants in the artist’s career,  not least the inherently monumental quality of his art and his desire to work on a large scale. The exhibition presents some 70 works from the finest public and private collections in Europe and the US. Miró’s work is distinguished by a compelling directness and an emphatically material quality. Unsurprisingly, then, his statements about his work often focus on ‘pure’, simple forms and on the surface of the wall as the wellspring of his painting. At first, it was the walls of the family farmhouse at Mont-roig, south of Barcelona. These formed the starting point for his well – known painting The Farm (1921–22), in which he recorded their material beauty with meticulous attention to detail and to great poetic effect, including such ‘imperfections’ as blades of grass, seedlings, insects, blotches and cracks in the plaster.

002Image courtesy of Kunsthaus Zürich

Miró viewed both reality and its representation in art in material terms. For him, the wall was thus not merely an object to be depicted: its materiality also dictated the intensely physical, tactile quality of his images. In this way, the matter of reality corresponded to the matter of his paintings. This move away from a straightforward reproduction of reality to the equation of the picture plane with a wall informed his work from the outset. We have chosen to show The Farm alongside The Hope of a Condemned Man (1974), linking Miró’s early representations of walls with the wall-like graffiti in that monumental late triptych and its harrowing indictment of Franco’s continued cruelty during the final years of his regime.

003Image courtesy of Kunsthaus Zürich

This pairing of an early with a late work establishes a strategy pursued throughout the exhibition. Miró’s approach to the wall explains the care with which he selected and prepared the grounds of his pictures at every stage of his career. Here, as elsewhere, he often worked in series, and the exhibition installation mirrors that practice by uniting works executed on grounds of a similar colour or using similar everyday materials.

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