The ING Espace culturel and the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, in collaboration with the Miró Foundation in Barcelona, present an exhibition of over 120 paintings, engravings, sculptures and drawings that illustrate the highly poetic nature of Miró’s uvre. The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, published by Mercatorfonds, focuses on the Catalonian artist’s famous Constellations series, which Miró painted at the beginning of the Second World War.

Steeped in literary imagery and his own experience with Surrealism, Miró developed an uvre of symbolic figures and colours to express a poetic vision of the world. He created a personal vocabulary, which he expanded upon in numerous directions sculptures created out of unexpected encounters with objects, landscapes rooted in a Catalonian identity, and figures passing from anxiety to dream states. Texts and images intertwine in paintings that are at once abstract and figurative, gestural and direct, created out of abundance and abyss.

Precursors to these include a number of works by Miró from the 1920s that reflect a progressive abandonment of any reference to reality. Spanish Dancer (1924), from the collections of the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique and Circus Horse (1927) from the collections of the Musée dIxelles show the transformation of figures into intimations of emotions and sensations.

At the start of the Second World War in 1939, Miró who was living in Varengeville-sur-Mer began a series entitled Constellations, which was later published in book form, accompanied by texts by André Breton. This series, which takes music and nature as its source of inspiration, reflects research into representation of external reality on the one hand (through mythological narration) and the search for interior peace (derived from a mysticism of the infinite) on the other. Miró’s representation of limitless space replete with recurring motifs which become authentic symbols (spirals, stars, suns, eyes, ladders, spiders, etc.) can also be understood as a profound desire for escape.

To this thematic cycle it is possible to link Miró’s passion for the purity and the magic power of primitive rock art. These elements also join with his sense of the essential, and the chromatic and symbolic force of Catalonian Romanesque paintings, which he greatly admired.

Miró’s passion for poetry also played a role in his decision to collaborate on artists’ books. Tristan Tzara’s Parler seul and Paul Eluard’s Á toute épreuve show the extent to which the artist’s contribution is personal and complementary, conceived as an accompaniment rather than pure illustration, since Miró was highly sensitive to the rhythms, tone and nature of poetic form. Colour plays a key role. In addition to these editions, a series of small-format works from the 1970s, rich in colour, show another aspect of Miró which is highlighted in this catalogue: colour as poetry.

In addition to other works completed by Miró in the 1960s1970s, the artist illustrated a series of haikus. These short, direct poems draw their force from nature and the seasons: they create line poetry.

This catalogue accompanies the exhibition by the same name at the ING Espace Culturel in Brussels, from 24 March to 19 June 2011.

In collaboration with the ING Espace Culturel and the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts in Belgium