Friday, 5 August 2011

Joan Miró @ The Tate Modern

A week or so back Lev and I popped into the Tate Modern to view the massive Joan Miró retrospective, the first in England for about 50 years. Very pleasant it was too. These days I find myself tending to lean towards art that depicts a certain period or place but I still have a massive soft spot for work of this kind. Especially seeing it all together in one place in a cohesive fashion. You can only glean so much from Taschen and Library books, seeing it for yourself makes even the most abstract works understandable. Miró’s work in particular tickles the most basic human instincts of colour and shape, tinged with political anger and Catalonian idealism.

My favourite piece his Blue triptych (Even bought myself a cute mini version!). Three massive canvases painted in the most gorgeous of blues with carefully placed black spots and slashes of red. Wonderfully immersive. As was the ‘Barcelona Series’ a set of 50 lithographs spread across the wall. Not the greatest work as individual pieces, doodles really, but displayed along the wall like they were made them very impactful.

It runs until September and I highly recommend visiting. Now where’s my Jean Michel Basquiat exhibition!


Jon Stewart said...

Tom, this is no disrespect to you or anything. I'm sure anything in the Tate Modern has it's audience and has its artistic merits, but.. I just don't get it. I really can't figure out what the hell is so appealing about things like these blue canvas's.
I'm surrounded by fantastic artwork that takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill to produce every day on various forums I frequent; and then this. A canvas painted Blue with some red lines and black dots. I... just... don't... get... it! I'm trying sooo hard, but I just don't understand what is so good and technically great about it. I guess it's because I'm technical minded 'n' all, and I judge things on their technical merit. I've also seen too many talentless hacks just throwing paint at a canvas and calling themselves an artist and using the word 'abstract' as a reason.

My point of posting is this; I desperately WANT to understand. Maybe you can shed some light on this stuff for me? It all just feels very juvenile and pompous artsy fartsy let's sit outside rochester cathedral in a circle, dressed in random rag tag clothes from the nearest charity shop whilst talking about how we are artists to me.

Anyway, I've ranted, and I don't mean to offend at all. Please, help me out here! :( MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!

Tom Beg said...

Haha, No worries. No one can force you to like something as subjective as this. That's the point really, it's subjective, not everyone is going to feel the same emotional response or reaction but I'll argue my corner regardless :D

With Miro, for me in particular, it's the cultural significance of what he was doing at the time. His art is distinctly Catalan, it sums up an entire culture, way of life and idealism. In a period when Catalan culture was being suppressed and outright banned. The Spanish civil war - when brothers were killing brothers over political idealogies.

For me his art is risky and highly provactive. It's a giant middle finger sticking out from the canvas. 'Mes que un pintura' would be the Catalan saying.

Sometimes you cant always understand a painting just looking at it , so you have to look a bit further. He wasn't painting because he was adored by the public or because it earned him huge amounts of money. He did it because he had something to say about HIS feelings of the world.

So my answer to how do you 'understand' work like Jackson Pollock, Miro et al? Look at the world around the painting. What was the prevailing culture at the time, the wars, the music,the mood of the nation and so on. It's the same for all art form really. You dont have to enjoy it always but knowing 'why?' not 'how?' at least should give you some mild thrills and appreciation.

Hope that helps.

Jonimations said...

Thanks for sharing this, I had no idea they had a Miro exhibition on. I'm definitely going. And totaly agree with you on Basquiet too! :)