Madrid may be my new favourite city (or at least my third favourite, but that’s still pretty high) and one reason is all the galleries (and food and drink and sunshine…). While I could write about Prado and Reina Sofia or the small abstract expressionist exhibition (which I loved too), I can’t help a story and that story came at the CaixaForum as they told me all about Joan Miro and his objects.
The story begins very powerfully as his early still life paintings are displayed next to objects from his collection, some of which can be seen in his paintings. By putting these together it emphasises that from an early time objects were important and not just passive subjects in his paintings and sets the tone for the whole exhibition.
The exhibition then takes you through his more abstract paintings (although he would argue with that description, they are still paintings of objects) and onto his use of collage such as adding a cut out of a shoe to a painting of a ballerina (that otherwise consists of just a few lines). One interesting display shows his use of collage when preparing a painting and then showing the finished painting (without collage) next to it, showing how the collage inspired the finished painted work.
This leads on to his grand statement that he wanted to ‘assassinate painting’ and we’re shown his sculptures, starting off with his found item sculptures made out of items such as gourds. Following this are his bronzes based on similar found object themes.
But the sculpture is not where it ended and his relationship with painting is complex. His painting continued, but certainly not in a classical sense, using different materials as canvases or paints, such as hide or tarpaulin.
Despite his apparent ambivalence (hatred?) to painting it’s his paintings that have always made an impact on me and this exhibition didn’t change that at all. While it was interesting seeing the evolution in his work and to learn more about this, it was still one of the large scale paintings at the end of the exhibition that was my favourite piece. The official explanation of this is that the large scale nature of the work made this an object in itself, although I’m not quite sure I am buying that.
The exhibition is well laid out and really nice to just look at, which I definitely appreciated. And the venue itself is in an interesting building, with a nice cafe at the top and just down the road from other main galleries in the city so well worth a visit.
Miro and the object at CaixaForum, Madrid until 22 May 2016
Paseo del Prado, 36