Three hundred and three thousand art lovers took time to visit the acclaimed exhibition ‘Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape‘ at the Tate Modern this year. But now you have a chance to see that exhibition in Barcelona, Catalonia, the Eastern coastal region of Spain where Miro lived, and loved. Where he convalesced from a dark depression and rallied against dictator Francisco Franco during and after the Spanish Civil War.
Born in 1893, Miro’s closeness to his homelands gives a unparalleled insight into his surroundings and Spanish history. Through sophisticated symbolism and Surrealism he’s able to communicate subtle political messages that gave Catalan people a voice in some of the most turbulent of times.
Always for the people, Miro believed that art should not be exclusive. So don’t be surprised when arriving at Barcelona airport, you’ll immediately find his 1970 mural in signature bright ceramic pieces and bold scale at terminal 2.
It’s touches like this, and so much more, that make him one of the most important artists of the Twentieth Century. His unique imagination and boundless inventiveness teamed with a lifelong devotion to his craft cement his name in history.
Described by Andre Breton, the Surrealist leader, as ‘the most Surrealist of us all’, The Ladder of Escape is a ladder of a spectacular artist’s evolution. Indeed Surreal. But also naïve, abstract and at times cubist.
Before you visit his main exhibition, take time to view his towering sculpture in the Parc Miró, titled ‘Woman and Bird‘, a short taxi ride from the city centre. This 22 metre high mosaic sculpture made in 1982 pays homage to Antoni Gaudí, another of the region’s famed artists.
On entering the museum, you’re greeted with a permanent Miro fixture cute enough to give Sanrio a run for its money. Inspired by nature a statue with childlike sentiments embraces visitors and receives guests in the most loveable fashion.
Then there’s a day to be spent pouring over 170 works – set in 18 different rooms – including paintings, sculptures and works on paper, drawn from public and private collections around the world.
Afterwards, head back to the centre of Barcelona along La Rambla where you’ll find ‘Mosaic del Pla de L’0s‘, a circular mosaic paved into the road, restored to it’s full primary colour glory and greeting visitors to the city cheerfully.
Next just a short walk north on La Rambla, and forth left onto Tallers, is the Boadas cocktail bar. Here you can have a special Miro cocktail to end the day, complete with cherry. Looking at the shiny red fruit in the triangle cocktail glass you can’t help but see some of that Miro magic which you’ll find lovingly etched into Catalan streets, hearts and culture too.
Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape is on until 18 March 2012, before touring the National Gallery of Art, Washington where it’ll be seen until May 2012. Admission is 10 Euros. For more information visit www.fundaciomiro-bcn.org. Team Fused flew with easyJet from Luton to Barcelona from around £60 return per person. Visit www.easyJet.com to book.
Words: Erica Crompton