Mirό of Majorca
at the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre
10 March – 30 May 2010
Inaugurated on March 10 in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain
In February 2010, I visited the Power House to show friends this beautiful venue which houses the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre. There I learnt that Miró of Majorca was coming to Nicosia and not only him but Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. What an important event! Teams of carpenters were busy creating stands and cabinets to hold all the sketches and small mementos, others were painting the high walls of the Power House in beautiful colours to contrast with the paintings to come.
So it was with some excitement that we went to the opening on March 10 although we were warned that the place would be crowded and one would not be able to see any of the paintings. Already from afar, we could see crowds of people blocking the road in front of the Power House, among them journalists and photographers who were fighting for a place to put their feet and their heavy equipment.
At 8 pm sharp the doors were opened and we flooded all in, squeezing through the narrow doors and distributed in the ante rooms. There was still time left for us to gather some information. On big boards, the viewers learnt Miró’s life, his years in Spain, France and Majorca. There is a niche where a film is shown. The big exhibition hall was still closed to us. Her Majesty, Sofia Queen of Spain arrived at 8.30 together with Dimitris Christofias, President of the Republic of Cyprus. All arms were held aloft to take pictures of their arrival. Then, the guests already been in the building were let through into the big hall while huge crowds were still waiting outside in the front: waiting to see the Queen.
The exhibition is very impressive and well organised by the initiators and curators. The partial reconstruction of his studio with room-size photos was quite helpful in providing clues to this man’s philosophy and style of work. On the opening evening most of the guests were elegantly dressed, the majority in black, and it made an absolutely fantastic impression as a whole. It was a special event, something to be proud of, and it will be remembered by many as the day when Queen Sofia came to Cyprus. The viewers who went really near the art work were fascinated, open mouthed, although many of them might have thought: my children, too, could do this. I think I should include here some biographical details about Joan Miró and his work.
Mirό and Picasso are considered to be amongst the fathers of modern painting. An impressively multidimensional and productive artist, Mirό was the narrator of mythical and lyrical stories. A poet of images, whose idiom is characterised by signs and symbols, metaphorically illuminated and charged, rising from the subconscious.
He was born in 1893 in Barcelona and at the age of 14 he enrolled at the School of Economics while at the same time he secretly studied at the School of Fine Arts and later at the Galí Academy, until 1915. In 1920, he moved to Paris where he participated in the artistic lobbies of Montmartre and was acquainted first with the Dadaists and then with the Surrealists under the influence of whom he started shaping a special and personal way of painting. André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, described him as “the most Surrealist of us all”.
In 1921, he had his first solo show in Paris, while ten years later, his first solo show in New York.
In 1929, he marries Pilar Juncosa, who gave birth to their daughter, Dolores, and 3 years later he returns to Barcelona. He engages in scenography and designs costumes for Ballets Russses, Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet company. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, he returns to Paris with his family. In 1941, the Museum of Modern Art in New York organises his first retrospective exhibition. The following year, he returns to settle in his family house. In 1955, he stops painting and starts working on graphics and ceramics. Next year, he moves to Palma de Majorca, and works in his atelier, designed by his friend Josep Lluís Sert. Four years later, he begins to paint again and exhibits in USA and Japan. In 1975, he founds the Joan Miró Foundation-Centre for Studies on Contemporary Art. He died on Christmas Day in 1983, at his atelier at Palma de Majorca, at the age of 90.
Miró’s workshop in Majorca, part of which is represented at the exhibition along with documents, notes, furniture, objects etc. will convey the atmosphere and the internal aspect of Miró’s way of thinking. The works date back to 1908 (his only surviving early landscape painting) until his death in 1983. However, the exhibition in Nicosia focuses on mature Mirό in Majorca and the works he created in his workshop designed by his architect friend Josep Lluís Sert in 1956. This workshop is a landmark in Mirό’s work, because it is in this workshop that he reviewed his work and his course up to then and decided to make a new beginning. This is a period of endless independence and quest.
Having drawn experiences whilst in America, and having been acquainted with the painters of ‘Action painting’, he now lives within the ambience of European ‘Αrt Informel’. He is influenced by prehistoric cave painting, the art of the Far East, his region’s own, Catalan folk tradition, and the twelve-tote musical technique. His eagerness to enter new fields is evident in his own artistic technique - stains, spatters, streams, graphics, tinctures, cracks, sutures, nails, ropes, use of random elements, of violent gestures, persistent deepening in the expressiveness of materials. His themes include bioform surreal symbolic figures: the woman, birds, landscapes, the realm of the sky, the sun, the moon, the constellations.
And here some organisational details, delivered by the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, for you to know who and what amount of organisation and work was behind it:
On the initiative of Nicosia Municipality and the Pierides Foundation, Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain has accepted their invitation to visit Cyprus for the inauguration of the exhibition. The exhibition is co-organised by the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, the Pierides Foundation, the Ministry of Education and Culture-Cultural Services, the Pilar i Joan Mirό Foundation of Majorca, and the Teloglio Foundation of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in collaboration with the Spanish Government, the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad [SEACEX] and the support of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.
The exhibition Mirό of Majorca showcases more than 200 works and testimonies by Joan Mirό, including paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and sketches for sculptures, public art, ballet and music. This is the first time that an exhibition of such magnitude focusing on the work of a great artist is organised in Cyprus. This prominent exhibition is organised in the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union and the Spanish Government dedicates the event to the 50th Anniversary of the Cyprus Republic.
Yiannis Toumazis, Director of the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre and the Pierides Foundation is the General Coordinator of the exhibition; Marios Eleftheriadis, Professor at the Limoges-Aubusson School of Fine Arts in France is the Curator and Maria Louisa Lax-Cacho of Pilar i Joan Mirό Foundation of Majorca is the Scientific Curator.
The exhibition is also supported by: ERCO, J.N. Christofides Trading Ltd., Lumiere Services Ltd. και Group 4 Securitas. The media sponsors of the exhibition are: ANT1, O Phileleftheros, Cyprus Weekly, ANT1fm, Radio Sfera and FredTV.
I will go again and take enough time with me to study Miró’s work, a man who with his contemporaries in the field of surrealism and dadaism was at the forefront of modern painting.
A variety of events, such as educational programmes, seminars and guided tours will be organised during the exhibition. Please contact:
Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre
19, Palias Ilektrikis (ex Apostolou Varnava), Nicosia, Tel: 22797400
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00-15:00, 17:00-23:00 - Sunday: 10:00-16:00