Joan Miró Will Eat Himself – The Destruction of Art as a Work of Art

The ability of art to push our thinking into ever more diverse directions and deeper dimensions is so powerful, that I am always grateful to have access to such incredible collections and exhibitions on my doorstep (a doorstep shared by seventeen million other souls in this metropolitan expanse of São Paulo).

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

And so it was that I found myself at the latest exhibition at the Tomie Ohtake Institute – an amazing collection of paintings and sculptures of Joan Miró covering his whole lifetime of work from the twenties to the eighties.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Miró’s life is one of dedication, commitment and struggle to surpass his own limits. Miró’s style is expressive, free flowing and in it one can read his visual style, in which the meaning of the whole can be expressed in a stroke and a gesture, while at other times the fragmentation is a lesson in simplicity – an earnest attempt to cut through the literal, to the deep meaning of the intuition of the artist.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Writing about Miró, the curator of the collection Paulo Miyada explains that “it was not enough for Miró to abandon the Cartesian perspective, the surface of the canvas becomes an active element in the paintings”. He was not exploring colours and shapes as pure elements, for Miró it was “necessary that they appear to be right on the verge of movement”.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

It was said that Miró was attempting to fuse art with poetry, his own art therefore aiming to “simplify reality”. I am not so sure simplification captures the essence though. Throughout his lifetime, Miró continually experimented, with the aim of transcending conventional art, and eventually reaching the desire to “assassinate painting”:

Painting disgusts me profoundly, the only thing that interests me is pure spirit, and I do not use normal tools like other painters, except to be more accurate in the blows I give.

Source: Curation Notes, Instituto Tomie Ohtake

Miró’s path in life was unique and unprecedented. We are not asked to analyse his artwork literally, but to enter into the feeling of it.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

The thinking, art and culture of the Far East always fascinated Miró:

Since my youth I have been very much interested in the Japanese ukiyo-e and I have always been impressed by the reaction of the Japanese before a drop of water, a small stone, a handful of sand, things that do not seem to have any significance.

Source: Curation Notes, Instituto Tomie Ohtake

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

The exhibition can be thought of as a playground to explore the dynamics of seeing. What can you see in this painting below? Can you tell what it is?

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Miró is a master in active seeing. The exhibition is a sensory overload of structure, movement, motion and spontaneity, as if we are inside a tornado of thinking – feeling – sensing – intuition. At the same time as Miró is entering into simplification, his paintings effortlessly portray multiple dimensions.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

Towards the end of his career, as well as expressing his commitment to social change through art, Miró also questioned the economic value of art, de-sanctifying art, acting without distinction between creation and destruction. And so he came to eat his art, but this itself was perhaps one of the greatest expressions of art from one of the twentieth century’s great modern artists.

This is an exciting exhibition, arousing emotions, making a direct contact with the bubbling effervescence of our own animatedly agitated brilliant souls. Amazing.

Credit: With thanks to the photographer who took this photo for me

Credit: With thanks to the photographer who took this photo for me

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2 responses to “Joan Miró Will Eat Himself – The Destruction of Art as a Work of Art

  1. Pingback: Everything Starts from a Dot – Kandinsky in São Paulo | Transition Consciousness·

  2. Pingback: Artistic Consciousness and Rudolf Steiner’s Theory of Colour | Transition Consciousness·

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