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Joan Miro: in the orbit of imagination

By Spiros Tzelepis

Greek summer is coloured by the genius of this great painter and sculptor

Woman, birds - 1973, Maeght Foundation

On June the 22th, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros, Greece, opened its doors to Greek and foreign visitors of this famous Greek island to present the work of Joan Miro. It is the first time that this great artist is presented in Greece; the exhibition will last till September 22 when all the artistic activities of Greece "move" from the islands back to Athens.

The short trip to a nearby island is a "tradition" in my family just after the end of the school year and just before my summer courses start. We usually say that this is a welcome to the summer and an introduction to our summer vacation which is usually one month later. The island of Andros - two hours from Athens - is the Athenians' favorite place for the summer weekends, and the outstanding exhibitions the Museum of Contemporary Art presents each summer is one of the reasons for it.

Around 100 pieces - oil paintings, paintings on paper, sculptures and lithographs- from the Maeght Foundation of Saint Paul de Vence (France), from the Miro's Foundation of Barcelona and from various European private collections aim to attract the art lovers of this summer.

Joan Miro (1893-1983), born in Barcelona, while being one of the pioneers of surrealism during the first half of the 20th century, created his own particular painting style which he mainly formed after the War. His work after 1957 is characterized by the love of color in combination with the poetic use of the lines, the use of industrial objects in his sculptures and his belief in nature and the joy of life.

Escape stairs - 1973, Maeght Foundation

Joan Miro, after Picasso who was 12 years older, is doubtlessly one of the greatest figures in art of the previous century and his work is nowadays, more than ever, in the center of timeliness; and this is because today people more than ever feel the necessity to be able to imagine, to escape from the time back to the careless childhood. People feel the need to sensitize their reflexes to the emotions coming from the little and unimportant things.

Miro painted playing in an effort to escape his present reality. His painting - creations of the instinctive energy of the moment- offer spark for subjective approaches and interpretations. His sculptures were aimed not to decorate the architectural space but to disturb it. He believed that freedom goes necessarily through simplicity and called all the power of his imagination and soul to express his own truth in his own way.

Despite the fact that he was taught the structure and discipline of Cubism, he soon left this movement as he couldn't obey the geometrical rationale. Although he supported the movement of Dadaism for the absolute freedom in the art, he didn't agree with it. Surrealism was the silent revolution for him but he soon denied obeying its various manifestos. He wanted the visitor to dream in front of his work and not the work to be the result of the dream. Leaving all the movements while searching for his identity, Miro decided to express himself in the way he believed: the way of the lost innocence, naivete and sincerity of the children.

I saw the visitors of the museum being surprised positively and negatively in front of his work; others wondering about the importance of his art. Perhaps Miro's quote is the best way to express my feeling towards his work: "If others' work is characterized by authenticity, I welcome it whatever it may be".

Photos from the Museum of Contemporary Art. Special thanks to the Press department of the Museum

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