Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape
14th April – 11th September 2011
Intro by: Chris Dercon New Director at Tate Modern
The first major retrospective to be held in London for almost 50 years, Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape brings together over 150 pieces by one of the 20th century’s greatest artists.
Miró is most famous for his surreal, highly stylised work defined by a vocabulary of uneven stars, crescent moons and bright colours with figures reduced to snaking black outlines on the canvas.
Yet this belies the sheer breadth of his output as well as the complex political narrative which pervades his work. The struggle for Catalan identity, the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s Spain are reflected most succinctly in the symbol of the ladder which recurs throughout and can be read as a motif representing hope and the possibility of escape from bleak times.
The exhibition divides six decades of Miró’s career into three sections, with early figurative work such as The Farm gradually giving way to increasing abstraction. The stars of the show are 5 monolithic triptychs, brought together for the first time and displayed in specially constructed octagonal rooms, as well as five dramatic burnt canvases embodying the spirit of protest in the 1960s.
The exhibition has been co-organised by the Tate Modern and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. It will travel there before being displayed at the National Gallery of Art, Washington next year. It opens today at the Tate Modern where it will run daily until mid-September.