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Miró: Sculptor, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, until January 6
9:50am Saturday 14th April 2012 in Exhibitions
Joan Miró would have loved the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, say his family, who chose it to host the first major UK survey of his sculptures. JO HUGHES went to visit.
THE great Catalan artist Joan Miró was inspired to make sculptures by the sun and the sea, the plants and the nature around him at his home in Mallorca.
He created from everything he found, no matter what it was, an old basket or clothes peg, an almond or a pebble, a doll’s arm, a dragonfly or a donkey yoke. If it captured his child-like imagination, he would play with it until it became a part of the world of new beings around him.
He made most of these sculptures in the second half of his life, transforming his surrealist hallucinations into massive bronze monuments, and said he wanted them to be outside, among people, in nature, “where they might become confused with living things”.
His dreams have come true at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where his family of strange children are reunited for the first time since he gave them life in Mallorca, brought together from collections all over Europe.
The biggest exhibition of his bronzes stand proudly in the 500- acre Country Park, recently described as “the best exhibition site for sculpture in the world”.
Inside the Underground Gallery are brightly painted surrealistic sculptures, ceramics, and paintings, his “phantasmagoric world of living monsters”, and some of the most significant sculptures of his early career, which would not stand up to the rain outside in England.
The family has also lent personal pieces, the objects he found and drawings he used to make some of the great sculptures.
The exhibition is a voyage through the sculptural experiments by one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
This is the first major survey of Miró’s sculptures in Britain and is the result of years of work by the director of the park, Peter Murray, the head curator, Clare Lilley, Miró’s estate, Successio Miró, and his grandsons, Emilio and Joan, who have visited the park several times and believe he would have been happy to see his vision enjoyed freely in this wide open Yorkshire setting.
“They were brought up in nature, and together, they are brothers and sisters, mothers and lovers, it is wonderful they are all together again, they can stand in conversation,” Emilio says.
Clare Lilley says: “Miró cared really deeply about people, he made big sculptures to be with people. This survey of his sculpture has never been done before in Britain, it is just right it should here, outside in the countryside.”
Miró’s vision brings to life simple objects – a sweet bag, a napkin, a nut – to make new life forms which represent all he believed about being and existence, the nature of mankind and the world around us.
With a childlike sense of fear and humour, and a well-developed knowledge of all the responsibilities of the artist, he shows us how it really is, by showing us how it’s not. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is alive with a new cast of characters.
• Miró: Sculptor runs at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, until January 6, 2013.
For more information see ysp.co.uk