Miro mar

To go to Barcelona is to jump into a sea of Miro. Not only because Joan Miro i Ferra was born in Barcelona, but also because you run into works by Miro in various places in the city. There is a mosaic on the famous walking street of La Rambla in the open area called Pla de l’Os which was originally made by Miro in 1976. Thirty years of being walked on caused enough wear and tear for the city to commission a restoration in 2006. Until 1760 Pla de l’Os was the location of the Boqueria gate, a trophy of war. Before that a gate named after Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona, stood at the same place. Even now, the mosaic marks the place at which you can turn into the Boqueria market.

Another piece of public art by Miro is in the Parc de Joan Miro near Place d’Espanya. The piece called Woman and Bird (Dona i Ocell) is supposed to stand in a pool of reflecting water. When we walked up to it, there was construction activity around it (see the adjoining photo), and we only saw the sculpture without the pool. As you can see, this Dona does not lack admirers even in deshabille. The third piece of public art by Miro is a ceramic mural in Terminal B of the airport. I guess I’ll see it if I fly in to Barcelona some time.

These public sculptures are just waves lapping on the beach. The real sea of Miro is the collection in Fundacao Joan Miro on Avinguda Miramar. The delightfully functional building is a typical design by Barcelona-born architect Josep Lluis Sert, who counted Miro as one of his friends. The wonderfully curated museum led us through the evolution of Miro’s idiosyncratic style, full of symbols for stars, ladders, birds, and women binding together large areas of colourful paint. A very impressive piece is the large sculpture which you can see in the photo above and below.

I was mesmerized by the odd tapestry shown in the featured photo. During his developing years in Paris, Miro made the famous statement that he meant to assassinate painting with his new style. As a ticket-buying member of the bourgeoisie, whose society he meant to destroy with his paintings, I figured that this museum is a monument to his glorious failure. We sat in the well-lit cafe inside the museum and mulled over what we had seen. It was then that we began to appreciate how successful he was even as he failed, by re-making sensibilities so that you appreciate a tapestry like this.