Skip to main content

Talking about history…

Carles Cortés

It all begins in 1944 when Antoni Miró was born in Alcoy, and could not have been otherwise. He was going to be in charge of the family business but one day he woke up with the need to express his feelings, his view of the world through his painting. Art allowed him to offer the world his sharp comments, an avalanche of criticisms born in his mind. Times were hard in the country; dictatorship asphyxiate freedom and artists of Toni’s generation fought for us all, in order for us to have a real peace and one day, a state that let us become what we wanted. So he did his first solo exhibition in 1965, after receiving the first prize for a picture in 1960, at the age of sixteen. Then came the foundations of Collective Alcoiart (1965-1972) and the Gruppo Denunzia, from Brescia (1972). Thus began a career marked, without any doubt, by the civic and social commitment, the sense of reporting of his work. So, perhaps, figurative expressionism came originally as a tool to visualize the human suffering. In the late sixties headed towards neofiguratism, with full identification with the movement called Crònica de la Realitat (Chronicle of Reality). Directed by the pop-art and realism mixed language codes to better build their critical message. We are in the sixties and the artist develop the series, Les Nues [“Naked”] (1964), La Fam [The Hunger] (1966), Els Bojos [The fool] (1967), Experimentacions [Experimentations] and Vietnam [Vietnam] (1968).

In the seventies, the sense of portray social injustices grew in collections like L’Home [The Man] (1970), Amèrica Negra [Black America] (1972), L’Home Avui [Today’s Man] (1973) and El Dòlar [Dollar] (1973-1980). Miró denounced the power of capitalism through the Dollar symbol, pushing governments and dictatorships such as the one in Chile. It was following the presentation of Amèrica Negra [Black America] when the artist started to gain a full international recognition for his work. Since then, paintings and sculptures by Miró are shown worldwide in numerous museums and collections. Similar to this is the starting point of a comprehensive study about his work that has been made, with a considerable thickness of publications. From the next three decades, until now, seeing a consolidation of this career, with the series Pinteu Pintura [Painting paint] (1980-90), Vivace [Vivace] (1991-2001) and Sense Títol [Untitled] (2001). Antoni Miró has perfected his painting technique, with a set of chromatic prompt that gives a personality increasingly marked by reflection of reality. Mixing various levels of discourse, with the raising issues of environmental reporting, social, political or cultural issues, the artist builds a stronger path of valencian contemporary painting. We must also add the review of classic art and literature that Miró has in recent years, especially Pinteu Pintura [Painting paint]. It pays tribute to the intellectual and artistic figures who have left an imprint on his training, we must not forget the self-teaching- character of the painter at the time that posed a constant experimentation with the tools of artistic language.

That’s why we are presenting the exhibition of a journey through the artist’s entire career. The place of Naies offer the scores of Miró painting in the sixties and seventies. From a personal Paisatge Alcoi [Landscape Alcoy] (1962) the portrait of the Alcoy’s life of the sixties with El bevedor [The drinker] (1960) or a critical view of Esclau i esclavitzador [Slave and Enslaver] (1973-1974), the reality he has known has always been a subject of his lucid critical vision. The public viewer can enjoy unique pieces, from the painter’s personal background; they all glimpse at the painstaking work and educational growth to an implied commitment in every piece. The works made homage to writers, painters and freedoms fighters who were also presented in the exhibition, as A Che Guevara (1970), Admirant Velázquez (2006), A Enric Valor (2007) and A Joan Fuster (2007), with a desire of a continuous criticism, that has addressed various discursive levels, from the complaint of hunger and destruction that was at Biafra, three years of existence. From Biafra-4 (1970) to the demand for cycling as a means of transport according to the environment Bici aèria (1996), to the human consequences of the war in Iraq Dones a Bagdad (2004) or the Jewish holocaust in Ciutat sense sortida (2005). The advocacy of a cultural and political Catalan space is also presented in several works in the exhibition, such as a suggestive assembling Felip V (1977), Temps del Tirant (2007), among others. A bulk of issue raised in an intensive and extensive exhibition of the most complete that the public viewer will be able to see of the artist in recent years.

The chronological beginning of the exhibition has to serve us to watch the history review of the last fifty years in our country. This is our invitation to everybody. We will have to remember several events that we know through the media to bring the critical discourse of each Miró’s painting. The periods of hunger in Africa, the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans, the Pinochet coup, the Spanish democratic transition after Franco’s death, the recovery of the freedoms of the valencian people, the achievement of a cultural and political Catalan entity life, the attacks on the environment, the excesses of urban planning, the repression of women in the Arab world today, the growth of the disadvantaged classes, hunger, the Islamist attacks in the West, all those are some of the issues we can find in the images of this exhibition. All this through the critical and ironic eyes of Antoni Miro, which makes him an artist who has subtly managed to combine the artistic recreation to the completion of a security awareness ideology. That’s why Històries (de la nostra història) [Stories (of our history)] is an example which everyone can feel identified with, because the paintings speak for ourselves, for our past, for our present and future prospects.

The exhibition is complemented by a collection of sculptures in Weathering steel containing one of the most frequent developments in all Mirós’ series: eroticism. The woman’s body for the purpose of recreation occurs in several situations, some of which are located in scenes of classical culture, where beauty and provocation attracted, no doubt, the public that sees them.

We must also highlight the contribution that this exhibition has represented to study the work of Antoni Miró, referring to the eight texts following the images of this publication. We wanted to ask several experts on the work of Antoni Miró a study from different perspectives of analysis, to complete the reception that his work can do. So, we have to highlight the comments of Daniel Giralt-Miracle, Wences Rambla, Romà de la Calle and Josep Sou, from the perspective of art criticism, that globally values the aesthetic contribution of Miró’s painting. Another group of scholars, have addressed the sample from a historical aspect, in that way they analyze their contribution to the review of history and its events. We refer to the texts of Emilio La Parra, Armando Alberola, Jesús Pradells and Josep Forcadell. Valuing the imprint of his work in the cultural landscape in recent decades, there is an introductory text of the writer Isabel-Clara Simó. A set, therefore, of analytical texts observing the value of the provided exhibition and building undoubtedly a new basis for further study of the art of Antoni Miró. Talking about history... is history, our history... This is his mastery, reality seen through the eyes of a critic and a lucid Antoni Miró.