Miró and Ten Catalan Poets of Today
The exhibition “Miró and Ten Catalan Poets of Today”, with the collaboration of Vicenç Altaió and Blanca Llum Vidal, is a dialogue between nine pieces by Joan Miró and ten poems of today. Miró’s works, historical and timeless, are presented alongside poets who are ephemeral and at the same time ahistorical, like art and poetry. The dialogue provides a sense of continuity, and therefore of rupture, and at the same time a link to a whole tradition. Continuity is given to an activity that Miró enjoyed, reading poetry, with collaborations from Pere Gimferrer, Joan Navarro, Biel Mesquida, Enric Casasses, Dolors Miquel, Maria Callís, Marçal Font, Maria Sevilla, Mireia Calafell and Pol Guasch.
Miró, who was a great reader of poetry and produced 109 books in collaboration with poets during his lifetime – mostly poets from the French school (Tzara, Breton, Éluard, Dupin, etc.) and fewer, but equally significant, Catalan poets -, was a poignant, rebellious and nonconformist artist with poetic language. The Surrealists, who were essential for Miró, offered a new and revolutionary approach: poetry is a revolt and enables a way of being and acting in a completely different world. They demonstrated in favour of a revolution of the spirit, with art and poetry becoming a policy. Joan Miró was faithful to these principles and a clear example of an art that proclaims its principal of freedom linked to an ethical conscience. Pere Gimferrer, the only living poet who collaborated with Miró, is present in the exhibition with “Lapidari” (“Lapidary”), a poem about stone, which we present alongside a magnificent 1956 ceramic by Miró/Artigas.
For Miró, poetry involved synthesis and a clash. The artist, who was clearly aware of the life cycle or of the universal cycle, often chose to dignify poor materials through art and poetry, as we observe in works such as Peinture (Painting) (1976), in which he uses an open cardboard box to work on the idea of the fragment and of the whole. Miró thus gives continuity to a spatial framework, which is the square, and paints a scene on each of the delimited spaces, and at the same time continuities in all of them. As observed by the poets Vicenç Altaió and Blanca Llum Vidal: “The physical medium conditions it like the structure of a poem and frees it. […] He is writing visually, listening to the music of the eye and the music of the splash, fullness and void, in other words everything which forms part of contemporary poetry: that the pause, the silence, the outline is far more important and expressive than the dominant excess of the figurative word, all semantic content”. Talking about this work, Altaió highlights how Miró succeeds in giving movement to such a static thing, an act characteristic of the great obsession of poets: stopping the reading time to provoke silence, for the word to become mute and to speak in its echo…
We would also like to mention Femme aux trois cheveux, constellations (1976) and Peinture (Painting) (1966-73), which is defined by Altaió as a fragment of the universe painted with the roughness of a wooden panel. Miró paints the specific nature of each planet with a different colour, and does so with the phonetic diversity of vowels, giving each vowel a colour. “This comes from Rimbaud, who gives each colour a group of significant correspondences. Here we have blue, yellow, red, green, black… these are the elements of nature, the moods of the human body, the minimum divisions of the objects of nature. This is how Miró creates a landscape of the universe like someone writing a poem, like someone singing it, like someone discovering”. At the top of the work we see a line which could be the line of someone sentenced to death, the line of the horizon, also a line of continuity and of music. Joan Navarro was inspired by L’esperança del condemnat a mort (The Hope of a Condemned Man) (1974) for the unpublished poem that he has produced for the exhibition.
The exhibition is completed with a selection of documents, including the catalogue book published for the exhibition “Miró Barcelona 1964”, held in three Barcelona galleries, which simultaneously presented works by Miró, above all graphic work, with the collaboration of poets from the time and who were close to Miró (J.V. Foix, Brossa, Perucho, Teixidor, Cirlot, Cirici and Santos Torroella himself). It is also possible to consult the great anthology Miró i els poetes catalans (Miró and the Catalan poets), by Vicenç Altaió, which analyses in detail Joan Miró’s collaboration with ten poets, as well as the artist books Oda a Joan Miró (Ode to Joan Miró) (1973) and És quan dormo que hi veig clar (I see clearly when I sleep) (1975).
Invitation to the poets by Vicenç Altaió and Blanca Llum Vidal
Works by Joan Miró © Successió Miró 2022