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Joan Miró: Tate Modern's major new retrospective

An exhibition devoted to Miró’s work opens on Thursday in London. It is the first time in 50 years that a large number of paintings by the Catalan artist are displayed in the United Kingdom.

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14 April 2011 12:34 AM

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ACN / Laura Pous / Mireia Julià

London (ACN).- It is the must-see exhibition in 2011. Tate Modern in London presents \u2018Miró: The Ladder of Scape\u2019, a major retrospective of the artist in the country for the first time in almost 50 years. The exhibition has 161 works by Joan Miró, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. It is also a unique opportunity to see a rare variety of paintings together, coming from public and private collections, including five ten metre long triptychs that are to be reunited for the first time. Everything thanks to the close collaboration between the Tate Modern and the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. The exhibition will run from April 14 to September 11.


\u201CWe have been able to bring together works from around the world, which reinforce the idea that Miró is a great artist. An artist that still has resonance for us now\u201D, said one of the curators, Matthew Gale. The exhibition is the perfect occasion to understand the turbulent period in which Miró worked, and to discover a less well-known side of the artist that reflects his response to the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, his feelings of oppression during Franco\u2019s fascist dictatorship or his sense of Catalan national identity.

The Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell, was in London for the exhibition\u2019s official inauguration on Tuesday. \u201CThe show is a special contribution for widening the traditional idea of what Miró\u2019s work meant\u201D, said Mascarell. The exhibition explores Miró\u2019s political concerns, and relates the passionate and usually colorful paintings with the troubled political and social period in which he lived. \u2018The Ladder of Scape\u2019 shows the painter\u2019s sense of national identity, and his roots in Catalonia, something rarely explored in previous displays. \u201CThe exhibition is based on his attitudes and his activities beyond painting. They lie behind his works and are clearly committed with the country, democracy and freedom\u201D, the Catalan Minister said.

\u201CWe aimed to explore the more non-conformist or political side of Miró but avoiding a tendentious point of view. We wanted to be as impartial and realistic as possible\u201D, explained the director of the Barcelona Miró Foundation, Rosa Maria Malet. \u201CMiró is interested in the events of his time. There are moments in which he wants to withdraw and there are times where he is forced, perhaps against his will, just because of the power of events, to respond to them\u201D, said Matthew Gale. \u201CAnd those are the different moments that have triggered some other thinking behind this exhibition\u201D, he added.

At the early part of \u2018The Ladder of Scape\u2019, the visitor can perceive Miró\u2019s sense of Catalan identity, especially in relation to the countryside of Tarragona, in southern Catalonia. \u201CIt shows a less-poetical Miró exploring his internal conflicts with the period he was living in\u201D, said Vicenç Villatoro, director of the Institut Ramon Llull, one of the exhibition sponsors.  \u201CWe see Miró\u2019s rebellious and political sides, his emotional link with the country. His Catalan identity is more than evident\u201D, he added.

\u201CInevitably, around the Spanish Civil War, there is a moment where he stands up for freedom\u201D, explains the curator Matthew Gale. The visitor can see the painting of that period in the middle part of the exhibition. \u201CHe added that into his work, very deliberately. It is full of tension and anxiety. And those are points that we felt needed to be explored, and could provide a very fertile way of looking at his work altogether\u201D, he said.

\u2018Joan Miró: The Ladder of Scape\u2019 will run until September 11. It is a unique exhibition to discover a new side of this great surrealist artist, one of the greats in modern art and a great ambassador abroad for the Catalan culture.    

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  • The Miró exhibition in the Tate Modern (by L. Pous)

  • Vicenç Villatoro looking at Miró's works at the Tate Modern's exhibition (by L. Pous)

  • The Miró exhibition in the Tate Modern (by L. Pous)
  • Vicenç Villatoro looking at Miró's works at the Tate Modern's exhibition (by L. Pous)