Joan Miró was born in Barcelona on the 20th of April 1893, and he left his native city a legacy worth visiting. Painter, sculptor, engraver, ceramicist… he is considered one of the foremost representatives of Surrealism, although he also explored other artistic trends. He was in contact with the intellectual circles of the age, both in Catalonia and Paris, where he worked at Pablo Gargallo’s studio and met with the artists of the Dada movement (André Breton, Apollinaire, Kandinsky, etc.).
He was a strong defender of liberties, both in the times of the Republic and during the Civil War, as well as in the subsequent struggle against Franco’s dictatorship. His art has gone beyond the borders of Catalonia to places all over the world.
One of his big projects was the creation of the Fundació Joan Miró in 1975 on Montjuïc Mountain in Barcelona, which started with a great collection of works donated by the artist himself. Other places containing important collections of his work include the MNAM of Paris, the MOMA of New York, and the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma, a city he had strong connections to, and where he died in 1983.
A Creative Universe
The Mediterranean Barcelona provided a nice framework for the searching and creativity of Miró’s universe, with its typical colours and shapes. The greatest exponent is the Foundation that bears his name; a modern conceived building designed by Josep Lluís Sert in 1975 and located on Montjuïc Mountain. There, you can see the best of his work, both in terms of painting and sculpture, as well as pottery and tapestries; the Foundation was recently declared a museum of national interest because of the importance of its heritage. Currently on display until 18th March is the exhibition “The Ladder of Escape”, co-produced with the Tate Modern of London (see Modern & Contemporary Art).
Through a Multicolor World
Walking down La Rambla is in and of itself a discovery of the colourful world of Barcelona. Important buildings such as the Liceu and the nearby Palau Güell sit alongside the Mercat de la Boqueria, a colourful world representative of the products one might find in Catalonia. In the middle of this popular thoroughfare full of terraces, kiosks, and human statues, in the Pla de l’Os, pedestrians will find a mosaic on the ground designed by Miró himself, located near the house where he was born. The mosaic, with its circular shape, represents the cosmos. Its primary colours of yellow, blue, and red, framed in black over a white background, along with its simple colours, represent the purity of the world of the artist’s infancy.
Arriving in Barcelona by Plane
Until the inauguration three years ago of Terminal 1 at the Barcelona Airport, Terminal 2 (now reserved for low-cost flights) was the main terminal. On the outside of the terminal B building, a spectacular ceramic mural welcomes visitors. The work was made by Joan Miró in 1970 in collaboration with the ceramicist Josep Llorenç Artigas, a good friend of the artist with whom he collaborated on more than one occasion.
The work, which measures nine metres long by five metres high, represents the world of dreams according to the artist’s interpretation, and it was made with the primary colours typical of Miró’s work, which shine with an uncommon intensity due to the process of firing the ceramics.
Icons of the City
These works fulfilled Joan Miró’s wish to donate to his native city four works that over time would become true icons. His intention was to welcome visitors arriving in Barcelona by land, sea, or air.
The Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani (Joan Miró Foundation) is a museum of modern art honoring Joan Miró located on the hill called Montjuïc. Miró wanted to create a new building that would encourage particularly younger artists to experiment with contemporary art.
In line with Miró’s original idea the Foundation has a space named “Espai 13” which is dedicated to promoting the work of young experimental artists. Although there is also work by Peter Greenaway, Chillida, Rene Magritte, Rothko, Tapies and Saura. The collection includes Alexander Calder’s 4 Wings and Mercury Fountain. The Mercury Fountain is a fountain that uses the liquid metal mercury to create a fountain. As mercury is poisonous the fountain is kept behild glass to protect the visitors.
The museum uses QRpedia to allow visitors to read Wikipedia articles about objects in the collection, translated into their preferred language.
Address: Parc Montjuïc.
Phone: 934 439 470
Metro: L1 and L3 Espanya.
Bus: 9, 27, 30 and 109.
Barcelona Bus Turístic and Barcelona City Tour: Plaça Espanya.
Mosaic at The Pla de l’Os
The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was “the only street in the world which i wish would never end”. The name rambla refers to an intermittent water course in both Catalan and Spanish. This is reflected in the undulating design on the pavement which is also decorated with a mosaic by Joan Miró. This work was the second of three sculptures that were commissioned to welcome tourists. The first was at the airport and had been commissioned in 1968. The other was «Dona i Ocell».
Address: Pla de la Boqueria
Metro: L3 Liceu.
Bus: 14, 59 and 91.
Parc de l’Escorxador (Joan Miró Park)
L’Eixample is divided into two districts, Right Eixample and Left Eixample, the former occupied by the wealthier classes who built large buildings there, and the latter devoted more to working- class housing and public facilities. One of those facilities was the old Slaughterhouse (Escorxador), which operated as such from 1892 to 1979. After its destruction, Joan Miró Park was built in its place, one of l’Eixample’s few parks. Joan Miró Park, also know popularly by its former name, Parc de l’Escorxador, is located at the end of the carrer Tarragona, next to the new Arenas shopping centre and next to Plaça Espanya. There you can admire the sculpture Dona i ocell by the artist Joan Miró. It is a park particularly suitable for relaxing, reading or walking, and accessible for cycling, wheelchair or baby stroller.
Parc de l’Escorxador
Address: Aragó, 2.
Metro: L1, L3) Espanya, L3 Tarragona.
Bus: 27, 30, 43, 44, 50, 56, 57 and 109.
Barcelona Bus Turístic and Barcelona City Tour: Plaça Espanya.
Barcelona Airport Mural
Address: Barcelona Airport – El Prat. Façade of Terminal 2
Aerobus: from Pl. Catalunya.
Renfe: from Sants train station.