Yorkshire and Joan Miró

By Emily Gosling

May my sculptures be confused with elements of nature, tree, rocks, roots, mountains, plants, flowers’, quipped Catalan artist Joan Miró, in the manner of, say, a Romantic-era poet, or a man who feels much of the world may be drifting in lysergic reveries.

While the strikingly deliberate, geometric forms are not exactly organic – and distinctly unlikely to be mistaken for flora and foliage – they are stunning works to be marvelled at just as the artist wanted – out in the open.

‘When I’m living in the country, I never think about painting anymore. It’s sculpture that interests me’, he said. ‘Sculpture must stand in the open air, in the middle of nature.’

Finally, Miró has been granted his wishes in a brilliant exhibition in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has been ro. organized in collaboration with the artist’s foundation and family.

Key works from his astonishing corpus are on display in the open air, selected from his vast collection of around 300 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works produced by Miró, the majority of which are concentrated within the later part of his career.

Though perhaps best known for his paintings, Miró claimed to set out to ‘destroy painting’, using his innovative sculptures as a means to transcend the two-dimensional and examine the idea of construction in art.

We see the development of his practice from small bronze sculptures such as the 1946 work Oiseau Solaire, his 1960s sculptures, which utilized found objects such as mannequins, dolls, rustic vessels and discarded cans – cast in bronze as part of his artistic insistence that his work must be recognisable – ‘free of tricks or grandiloquence, a direct art.’

Alongside the open-air sculpture displays, the Park’s Underground Gallery provides a cavernous home to the artist’s ‘phantasmagoric world of living monsters’, maquettes which relate to the works outdoors and trace the evolution of sculpture as an element of Miró’s practice from 1946 to 1982.

The show will run until 6 June at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4

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