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The reality of a rebel

Fernando Castro

“We are not experiencing the ultimate reality: the ‘real’ is hiding all through life, but we don’t see it. We mistake it for all these other things. Fear is based on not seeing the whole thing and, if you could get there and see the whole thing, fear is out of the window”1.

In the present day, banality is sacred. Parodying Barthes, we have reached a xerox-degree culture: art has surrendered to the pseudo-rituality of suicide, a simulation of embarrassing proportions where banality increases in scale2. Lacking drama we enjoy the perversion of the sense: the forms of referentiality resemble an abyss, as if the only land we knew was a swamp. Following the heroic sublime and the orthodoxy of trauma, we find ourselves before the ecstasy of the undertakers or, in other words, a third-degree simulation. We are fascinated by the real time and, without a doubt, mediation strategies make the most of it by giving free rein to the obscene, and the shadow of such revelations bears the obvious rehabilitation of kitsch. In today’s art we are embracing what I would refer as absolute literality, where we are exempted from nothing. I am alluding to that kind of narrative where if an accident is mentioned we are immediately presented with the phenomenology of viscera, our gaze drawn gradually closer until we feel an extreme repugnance. If it were dandruff, we would have to resist the urgency of removing the white flakes accumulating on our jacket and, of course, if desire (in a complete “sexualization of art”) appears in any of its forms, we would be served with obscenity. “To undress our view, this is the effect of literality”3, claimed Roland Barthes. When counterculture is merely testimonial (or a bad digestion, vandalic sarcasm in hackerism) and the museum refrigerator has frozen seemingly conflicting ideas4, it seems as if it were necessary to embrace a problematic realism (where sociologism is combined with the almost hegemonic formulas of the abject), instead of subverted rococo guidelines established by installations. At present, these are the raw material of the aesthetic routine in an unknown display of recycling tactics.

Contemporary art is playing its last card in a long “disappearance”: it is trying to regain the power of the fascinating, although such gestures are trapped in the comedy of obscenity and pornography5. I must insist, at present the figures of obscenity spread pathetically, revealing how both traumatic and ambivalent (pleasure-pain) narcissism can be, in which involves a genuine mannerist drift. “To a some extent, the function of art is to provide some livable distance”6, although we all know the avantgarde programme specifically intended to abolish such separation, which not only separates art from life but also from politics under the “ideological” cover of autonomy. Modern art brims with paradoxes: it has plunged into false liberation (social, instinctive, traditional), which has only brought (negative) ambiguity, although it might also be understood as a liberating power7. The ambivalent contemporary art attitudes (it is difficult to know if they are either forms of semiotic resistance, poses of revolutionary decadence or gestures of cynicism where theatralization has replaced any critical strategy)8 have been unable to explain the passion human beings feel for chains, perhaps because their very creative processes are tied to the fetishism they pretend to question. It seems as if we had tacitly accepted the fact that art is a nonsense and the artist is useless, the more appreciated its work is, the more unnecessary it seems9.

Boris Groys argues there are two ways of producing and presenting an artwork to the public under the conditions of modernity: as a commodity or as an instrument of political propaganda. Antoni Miró has built an intense artistic career10: he has successfully managed to distance himself from the merely propagandistic discourse and has never been involved in the practice of the “terminal” and banal art that now proliferates. His critical work originates in his deep political commitment and, I must insist, this personal trait guarded him from frivolity and the aesthetic trends that occasionally resort to a radicalism easily identifiable as opportunistic posing. Antoni Miró’s style is related to the plastic arts movement that fought against the hegemony of informal art11 and rehabilitated figuration. By looking back at his early activities with Grup Alcoiart12 or his social criticism actions with Gruppo Denunzia13 one can easily conclude that Antoni Miró wasn’t interested in a formalist discourse. Aesthetics wasn’t a shelter from everyday conflicts; on the contrary he understood that the artistic practice had a dimension of confrontation and resistance against the status quo. According to Godard, it is not about showing the real things, it’s about showing how things really are. He alluded to Brecht who in 1935 named the five difficulties in writing the truth: the intelligence of faithfulness, the moral of tragedy, the feeling of urgency, the will of experience and the courage of sanctity. For the author of Mother Courage and Her Children being realistic in art meant being realistic outside art. The passion for the real persists in contemporary art and in particular in the work of Antoni Miró, who committed himself to a (surreal and, in general, characteristic of the avant-garde) search after a “convulsive beauty”; perhaps our “worklessness” is simply a continuation of materialist and atheist thinking which lead, among other things, to a demystification of the work of art and even a disintegration of the romantic idea of the artist14. It was an era characterized by the biopolitics of fear15, in which ideologies “were terminated”, according to authorized sources, and some plastic arts processes tried to register the precarious life, rethinking the sense of community from the fragile dimension of corporeality.

Antoni Miró’s critical realism is unequivocally connected to Equipo Crónica and Equipo Realidad but it also shows unique aspects. It emphasizes social issues and transforms what he captures from his surrounding world and the media landscape to display a purely critical visual thinking16. Pop attitude was a profound change for modernity because it questioned the frontiers between the so-called high and low culture drawn by the cultural Mandarinate. Moreover, it called attention to the decisive character of consumption and commodities, and mass media and the metropolitan dimension in the articulation of our lives. Pop art is the most eloquent example of the consolidation of a cultural system of mass communications articulated as a whole: “either formalist research or political and ground-breaking subjects are replaced by the reproduction in art and the expressive procedures of the new culture. There is a strong transitivity between mass media, advertising, industrial design and art”17. Pop is characterized by the accumulation of several languages, by the opposition and alteration of images in regards of its context, by the use of parody, by the suppression of elements represented, by condensation, fragmentation, serialization and repetition and by a gradual omission of the subject. American pop -especially in the case of artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein- is never a true critic of society: it merely shows the existing order in late capitalist societies with minimum enthusiasm. Their largely non-judgemental gaze transformed the old ways of both looking and judging. Spanish pop art and, especially its Valencian version, played a prominent role and distanced itself from the more “accommodating” international current by exhibiting a series of ironic and parodic games aimed at questioning the politics during the late Franco period, an oppressor regime that looted and deconstructed Spanish art history until its very death rattle.

José María Iglesias has always emphasized the “Valencian” specificity of Antoni Miró’s18 critical figuration. The painter understood that he needed to include ideology in his painting and his particular “chronicle of reality” shared common features with the “social realism” without transforming into a “socialist realism”. It is appropriate to remember that socialist realism was officially proclaimed the “one and only style” in the first Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934. It was considered a natural continuation of Russia’s radical legacy. Twenty-first century revolutionaries such as Nikolai Chernyshevsky, author of Aesthetic relations of Art to Reality (1863), had raised realism in art to the category of moral principle: it is the artist’s duty to interpret, capture and change reality. Marx nor Engel failed to describe the role of art in the revolutionary process and identify the subjects revolutionary art should represent or how or who should be represented. In their occasional remarks about art and literature in the 19th century they showed a preference towards realism. “In a world –argues Ernst Fisher- where the being of things is put before the conscience of men, where the mistake of an electronic brain, the slightest mechanical fault, the stupidity or imprudence of a bomber pilot can cause unimaginable catastrophes, it is more necessary than ever to be informed about reality. The languages spoken by the journalist, the propagandist and the politician aren’t enough to express a clear vision of reality and help us overcome the widely-spread feeling of impotence and believe we can change the course of fate. Such task demands the intervention of the artist, the poet, the writer, also the representation and evocation of the reality constituted by the nature of art”19. Antoni Miró takes the urgency of an artistic intervention in the social context very seriously and creates artworks that help trigger awareness and a politicization of the perception in order to avoid a drift towards totalitarian methods, no matter how “subtle” they are.

Usually, reality enters the artworks of Antoni Miró through the filters of mass media or photographic cameras. The immediacy of the news and the photograph are subjected to a pictorial process of “deceleration” which, in a sense, acts as a conspirator against oblivion. “Not so very long ago, as Barthes says, the photograph testified to something having once existed that is no more, hence to a permanent absence full of nostalgia (for the “that-has-been”). Today, however, the photograph is full of nostalgia for presence, since it is the sole remaining proof of the subject’s presence before an object. This is the ultimate challenge for the invasion of digital images to come. The relationship between the image and its referent already poses enough problems concerning representation on its own. But when the referent totally disappears, when there is no longer any representation properly speaking, when the real object vanishes in image processing, when the pure image-artifact no longer reflects anything or any person, nor even passes through a negative stage, can we still speak of the image? Very soon now there won’t be images, and even their consumption will become virtual”20. Reality isn’t sustained by a fantasy, but by an inconsistent multitude of fantasies, and this multiplicity creates the effect of impenetrable density that we experience as something that takes place and stays. Antoni Miró refuses to accept the fact that the events of our unfair world are a matter of “precession of simulacra” or something phantasmagoric; those strategies of marginalization are the ones causing the poverty and exhaustion of the system and it is the duty of artists and critics to face the truth of conflicts with honesty, although they may need to resort to disturbing presences. This attitude doesn’t force art to embrace an inertial discourse -art isn’t supposed to be a litany-; it helps generate a new practice of social art in a universe of alleged pluralism which is subjected to a powerless homogenization.

“If we understand painting –says Manuel Vicent– as the recreation of the world through shapes and colours, the world Antoni Miró has recreated throughout his artistic career is wide and protean: it ranges from sex to politics, from a pop interpretation of art history to the denunciation of violence and the sarcastic mockery of leaders, from sacred monuments and facts to the gift of transforming everyday objects, machines or belongings into objects of poetry. Antoni Miró’s perspective is so open that it is difficult to find an aspect which summarizes his sensibility towards things”21. Perhaps the term “propaganda art” is simply an oxymoron22 and Antoni Miró, as I mentioned before, does not transform art into an “orthodox programme” and he is not an artist trapped in reality, but he does have the ability to fictionalize and bring the imaginary into the real23. If anything, his symbolic determination24 is aimed at understanding our world. “Antoni Miró –suggests Wences Rambla- scrutinizes the reality of the events and when he changes –here is one of the keys of his artistic form of naming things- the relation between himself as percipient subject, the object (themes) of his works, and the “execution” in them of the plastic reversion of those events for the spectators; this is what opens up the possibility for a different presentation, more in tune with the order proposed by the painter, without severing the connection with that persistent and acknowledgeable reality of the events happening in front of our eyes; that we know, more or less in depth, but we do not invent like television, press, radio”25. Antoni Miró broadens the principle of collage26 with a transmedia hunting, but also with his vigilant gaze, combining formal subtlety with ideological conviction.

Occasionally, Antoni Miró has resorted to an “appropriationist” strategy, but he has always managed to avoid the epigonic cynicism Nietzsche condemned in the second of his untimely meditations about the use and abuse of history for life, but he also manages to modulate the anxiety of influence. According to the popular theory of Harold Bloom, the talented poet struggles to escape his influences because he is fully aware of them. The attitude of Antoni Miró is never submissive and he is not willing to embark on a “monumentalizing” task to honor his predecessors. He does not fear the apophrades (the return of the dead) and he is not indulging in arrogance when he says that, in his belief, the ancestors are the ones who “imitate” posthumous men27. History is, in fact, an enormous collection of cultural loans28 whose representations must be understood as artificial constructions29 used to generate different ways of apprehending the world. Emulating the philosophical owl of Minerva, art history is spreading its wings at dusk, although belatedly or even posthumously. After Cajas Brillo and Sherrie Levine there only seems to be room - beyond the apocalyptical tone and tedious rituals honoring the wrong dead body- for the déjà vu experience. We are doomed or, to be precise, we are destined to think about the final stages, knowing that, after such linguistic-conceptual programme, art will not be dialectically subsumed by philosophy and the (aesthetic) after will have an inertial posterity. “In fact, -Daniel Soutif commented in referring to a Sherrie Levine’s retrospective held in Paris in 1922- instead of discussing After… Duchamp, Krazy Kat, Klein… we should talk about an “after Benjamin” and his concept of the lost aura in artworks inflicted by reproduction, especially photographic reproduction”30.

The appropriationism of Antoni Miró is his answer to his determination to pay tribute31 and his intention of creating a critical friction between historically canonized images and the avant-garde convulsion and “vulgarity” of comics. He has reworked paintings such as Las Meninas (The Meninas), Los borrachos (The Drunks), La fragua de Vulcano (The Forge of Vulcan), Inocencio X (Innocent X), El Conde-Duque de Olivares (The Count-Duke of Olivares), Carlos V en Mülberg (Charles V at Mühlberg), Carlos III (Charles III of Spain), el Autorretrato de Goya (Goya’s Self-portrait), La duquesa de Alba (The Duchess of Alba), El albañil herido (The Injured Mason), La lechera de Burdeos (The Mirkmaid of Bordeaux), Las señoritas de Avignon (Les Demoiselles d’Avignon), Guernica, etc. In such referential images one can find Mortadelo scratching his bald head or Lichtenstein’s military plane together with Goya’s intimidated masses, Picasso donning a children’s hat made out of newspaper or the terrified bodies of the massacre at Guernica “occupying” spaces in previous moments of art history. Antoni Miró acts with ease and intelligence, avoids pedantry and embraces a reactivation of the past because he believes that history doesn’t exist without an attitude of critical reading. Román de la Calle draws the attention to the artist’s evolution: at first his pictorial style was dominated by denouncement, but it grew calmer. Miró didn’t renounce to his incisive determination but he did reflect on the nature of the pictorial activity, “on the fact of painting paint or on the overwhelming situation of the human and natural environment”32. Such evolution -defined by a criticism still present in his task-, from a “painting of awareness” to an “awareness of painting” is, in fact, an expression of the thoughtful index always present in his aesthetics. Canonical art history establishes a surprising dialogue with the mass media33 and alters the imagination –before provocative, after comical– through subtle variations, details or clarifications34. His critical and appropriationist style seems to (re)consider the postmodern return to the past with an ironic tone35, but he does not surrender to kitsch or retromania, and ignores that insufferable combination of affectation and nostalgia which gained many admirers in the eighties and, unfortunately, seems to have reemerged in these infuriating times.

In a sense, irony and humor are characteristic elements of Antonio Miró’s painting36. “Humor defeats our expectations by producing a novel actuality, by changing the situation in which we find ourselves. Examples are legion, from boy bishops reciting learned sermons, to talking dogs, hamsters and bears, to farting professors and incontinent ballerinas, to straight linguistic inversion: “I could wait for you until the cows come home. On second thoughts, I’d rather wait for the cows until you come home”37. We expect one thing and read another: that defeated expectation is what makes us laugh. According to Freud, humor allows people to avoid suffering, emphasizes the invincible nature of the ego before the real world and sustains the principle of pleasure. Irony may look like a vagrant but, in fact, it reconstructs subjectivity relating the bottomless of thought with the tragic. The genuine becoming-mad transforms the ego into a fissure and in that precise moment humor manifests itself as the pure event: depth and height are abolished. A natural knowledge arises and activates nomad singularities by producing a cut in the linguistic pact, they intervene in the artwork embodying an element, which does not generate empathy but sympathy, that is, a bottomless differentiation without a place to rest. It is obvious that the mechanism of the comic is double: we laugh at others and perhaps unconsciously at ourselves, we assimilate the strange and reduce it to something superficial like a parenthesis, which triggers a harmless convulsion. The subject roars with laugher and causes agitation in the body, it exceeds the conceptual field; it is the shape of the inverted sublime38. The work of Antoni Miró resembles Balzac’s Human Comedy, which is based on a thorough observation of reality and subjected to a raw narrative. There is something comic in the modern experience itself: it is a demoniac comedy –not divine- because the modern experience is characterized by mechanized meaningless situations and by processes lacking a clear relationship.

In the preface of The Gay Science, a book where tragedy reveals with disturbing ease, we are warned about something happening simultaneously: “let people be on their guard! Something or other extraordinarily bad and wicked announces itself: incipit parodia, there is no doubt...”39. Of course, comedy can be a real booster for reflection, it can even jar a myth off its pedestal40. Also, it can benefit from the parody of the original, as some postmodern artists did according to Jameson. The danger is that such mimicry can easily lead to imposture. If the man laughing is atrociously marked41, the parodist rejoices -barely putting himself at risk-, playing with marked cards. Antoni Miró does not reserve for himself a stoical, moralizing and apathetic position, and his parody of art history is a mere rhetorical game. He provides a sarcastic and new context for images only in order to make his his social denouncement more efficient and, I must insist, it is not merely propagandistic42. The cerebral humor of Antoni Miró focuses on fundamental icons like the dollar, an emblem for capitalist domination43. Warhol silkscreens dollar bills fascinated by the “power of money”, whereas Antoni Miró paints it because it is in the bill where pain folds and sediments; it is an allegory for a world crushed mercilessly44. The totemic currency of neo-imperial America45 forces the rest of us to an unconditional “surrender”, like the one the artist reformulates from Velázquez’s painting “The Lances”. It is appropriate to remember the poem Rafael Alberti wrote for the series of silkscreens One Dollar by Antoni Miró:

“The dollar
I fenced you to bury you in darkness
The dollar
I corrupted you to make a worm out of you
The dollar Paper of the crime soon to be discovered and buried in the most luminous fecal matter of men
The dollar! The dollar!! The dollar!!!”46.

José Corredor-Matheos emphasized the witness condition of Antoni Miró. His art captures pain and cruelty, injustice and horror, but his use of color that covers his criticism with a weird “happy” touch47. It is a visceral and cerebral investigation, which paradoxically requires him –emulating his predecessors, Adorno and Horkheimer- to unravel the dark side of the Illustration. Miró knows that pronouncing a goyesque sentence means the dream of reason will produce monsters worth exorcizing. As a reaction to the modern tradition of the sublime and the delight in the “inexpressible”48, Antoni Miró displays a materialist aesthetics always present in History which is not the “real-rational” as Hegel thought, but the tremendous compendium of suffering, exploitation and injustice. Antoni Miró paints a memory of Hiroshima or in Ciutat sense sortida reflects the sinister entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp49, he presents images ignoring their potential impact but with an ethical attitude50; he is clearly a progressive intellectual; euphemisms aside, he is committed to a leftwing ideology51 and pays tribute to his era embracing memory and history –key elements in Ricoeur’s narrative-, addressing burning events but also hidden disasters the prevailing mentality would like to erase. From the photographic document52, Antoni Miró paints and engraves the events taking place around him, facing the complexities of being a systematic witness of the inhumanity of our world53.

In his considerations on the lost memory of things, Trías points out that in a world prone to cover our eyes and ears, philosophical reflection as a primary experience can only be based on the experience of the absence of experience, in the experience of the void left by escaped and disappeared things: “Only from a certain distance from the real world it is possible to open ourselves to a clear understanding of it; only by getting rid of a world which originates the collapse of the world where things inhabit and opening to a revelation of the void and the conscience of the absence which sustains this world we live in. But this distance must be counteracted by a bright conscience with a thingless world, because only in this kind of world can shine the principles and remains of whatever escaped and what it is to come. Given the prevailing lack of things, and the memory and hope such lack triggers, today the philosophical experience is sustained by worldly foundations54”.

The “spiritual agoraphobia” Worringer discussed in the book Abstraction and Empathy55 is counterbalanced by this consideration of our times as a crisis of memory, as an absence the specific which leads to a totalizing view. Antoni Miró does not resort to abstraction because his intention is to sediment and memorize epochal events to reflect sinister and crucial details of a time of misery which generates of traumas we are barely able to face. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud notes, that consciousness arises in the trace of a memory, that is, from the thanatic momentum and degradation of the experience, something that photography holds as a duplication of reality but also as a theatre of death56. At the age of the ruins of memory (when the cathode vertigo has imposed its spell) time is dismembered, “from that dismemberment -writes Trias- emerges the presence of reminiscence”57. Art knows the importance of distinguishing itself from time in order to find the correlation as a meeting point (involuntary memory) that stops the accelerated flow of reality.

In that Miró’s works are exactly that: modes of critical detention of something happening at an accelerated pace, fragments of raw reality we have to contemplate in an exercise of collective learning in order to be able to start writing our story. Although we might think we live in a country of lotophages, we should also be warned against the rhetoric use and, ultimately, banal of such “history”, because it might be, Nietzsche discussed in the second of his untimely meditations, the source of an illness, which lists cynicism as one of it symptoms. We should leave “commemorative delirium”58 behind and start remembering in a different way, as Antoni Miró does when, Román de la Calle points out, he composes images from other images “but without failing to simultaneously refer to a rich mental archive of gestures and formal and symbolic memories, transformed and maintained as a personal deposit of knowledge. Nothing is strictly mechanical here because, as Nelson Goodman reminds us, every efficient representation or description of reality demands, first and foremost, invention. They form, distinguish and relate multiple elements which, at the same time, mutually inform each other”59.

Although the artist lives in a quiet masía, his style of creating worlds has nothing to do with the distance of metropolitan reality60. Antoni Miró never stops “staring” at the city and its conflicts, those polluted spaces are, whether we like it or not, our ecosystem and it is there, in the midst of all this confusion, in the political agora, where we must find solutions and build the common space. “The cities, says Josep Sou, depicted in Antoni Miró’s paintings are covered by a thick, hard and difficult-to-swallow silence. However, the cities express the creative or significant object, an informative substance filled with characters. Men and women live alone, look alone and put their hands out and beg for money, their hands suppurate the striking misery of a rootlessness which should be unknown to human nature”61. We live in the midst of poverty, making us understand construction as an illness, the sedimentation of a colossal egotism.

“The most radical transformation that has taken place between the 60s and the present as far as the relationship between art and daily life is concerned, could be described, to my way of thinking, as the change from utopia to heterotopia62. This consciousness of the alteration of space, resulting from an introduction of the aberrant into the heart of the real, is shared by the experience of art and by the lucid practice, removed from “urbanizing” cynicism, of architecture which confirms that the city is lost (in the same way that in the plastic experience we have the emergence of, above all, fragments, rubbish, material for bricolage, etc.) and what we are left with is a territory of rubble (the surprising setting for the emergence of “intimacy”) in which all types of accidents occur.

It is advisable to have in mind that the terrible isn’t something strange, an inconceivable reality extremely far from our reality, but it is something that is there: our houses are inhabited by the terrific. “These days houses –writes Ernst Bloch in The Principle of Hope– in many places look as if they are ready to leave. Although they are unadorned or for this very reason, they express departure”63. Some people do not inhabit their homes, they just camp in them, they are in a temporary situation or maybe they simply enjoy nomadism64. The truth is that these attitudes laid the ground for the most severe of voids; our space is clinical and extremely cold. Warmth ebbed from things a long time ago65. There is only one thing left, the remains of former combustions, even artistically speaking as Antoni Miró reveals: the politics of ashes. Both Benjamin and Heidegger addressed the modern experience of disorientation: the aesthetical experience is described as a strangeness that requires recomposition and readaptation. “However, the aim of this is not to reach a final recomposed state. Instead, aesthetic experience is directed towards keeping the disorientation alive66. Between the move and the discomfort of a not-so-comfortable home we have learnt to moderate our expectations; we all have seen on our street the carts recycled by the homeless and, for a second, panic can put ourselves in their shoes: “At what moment does a house stop being a house? When the roof is taken off? When the windows are removed? When the walls are knocked down? At what moment does it become a pile of rubble?” asks Paul Auster67. It is true that a house becomes a real home, as Alexander Mitscherlich noted, when one comes home not only by routine but by the relationships with other people living there, by the continuation of feeling and learning together (a still honest interest in life); we cannot forget the idea that in this intimacy there are no unmistakably negative elements68.

Antoni Miró made an extraordinary series of paintings about the city of New York, which range from the monochromatic to the explosion of color, from the aerial view to the fatal fall. What is the most convenient place to contemplate what Michel de Certeau called “practices of space”? The tenth floor of the World Trade center, from there one can see “a city composed of paroxysmal places in monumental reliefs69. When one goes up there, he leaves behind the mass and dreams he is Icarus ignoring the devices of Daedalus. “Must one finally fall back into the dark space where crowds move back and forth, crowds that, though visible from on high, are themselves unable to see down below? An Icarian fall. On the 110th floor, a poster, sphinx-like, addresses an enigmatic message to the pedestrian who is for an instant transformed into a visionary: It´s hard to be down when you´re up70. We watched the 9/11 attacks on television, so this fall tells us something “different”, something Michel de Certeau’s metaphor does not contain. Such “down below” he considered the end of visibility is a naked piece of land today, it is a place of funerary and patriotic celebrations. The ghostly remains of the World Trade Center, “the most monumental figure of Western urban development”71 are, in many aspects, the foundations of the imperial ideology of panic, the space where the so-called “War on Terror” originates and flags flutter again. Naturally, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 200172 shocked the metropolitan gaze of Antoni Miró because they are, in every possible sense, a seminal event in history.

We will need time to overcome the astonishment of the great demolition and, of course, we will still have to accompany thinking and hope in their fall into the dark hole, into that naked piece of land of ghostly foundations. It was easy to condemn Stockhausen when he was quoted calling the destruction of the World Trade Center “the biggest work of art there ever has been”. When reality became an appearance of itself, those colossal terrorist attacks forced us to walk over the space of deprivation (carrying the oddest pleasures and fears), trying to resist the new glaciation with an archaic and surprising body like ours. Somehow this cloned architecture was an end in itself73. We speak a babelic-media language, but its precarious archive is as doomed to fail as the tower that challenged the sky. “If the tower had been completed there would be no architecture. Only the completion of the tower makes it possible for architecture as well as the multitude of languages to have a history. This history always has to be understood in relation to a divine being who is finite. Perhaps it is characteristic of postmodernism to take this failure into account”74. Everything falls to the ground. In a sense, American people were already prepared for the collapse of the World Trade Center, an cinematographic event marked by paranoia75. They had to collapse, it was in its very architectural essence: a cataclysm was its destiny76; such “cloned” space was something challenging which had to be destroyed: it always materialized the violence of globalization77. Antoni Miró paints the ruins of the so-called Zero Zone as a central element of contemporary biopolitics, which always, at all times, dispenses enormous dosages of terrorism, accidents, testimonies of victims, details of murders, “parallel” or incidental judgments, TV shows about forensics or illnesses. We could conclude that the real-tremendouscatastrophic, the colossal dimension of the attacks, neutralized any critical action and that we are literally covered in the mud of a “reality” unable to generate symbolic processes78.

The aberrant projection of this devastating era starts with the popular images of tortures in Abu Ghraib, which fitted Antoni Miró’s thirst for criticism. In these images we find one the purest manifestations of the apophatism of horror. It is worth re-reading a famous passage wrote by Plato in The Republic where Leoncio coming up one day from the Piraeus, under the north wall on the outside, observed some dead bodies lying on the ground at the place of execution. He felt a desire to see them, and also a dread and abhorrence of them; a paradoxical tension, he struggled and covered his eyes, however -Socrates recounts- the desire got the better of him and forced them open. “He ran up to the dead bodies, saying, Look, ye wretches, take your fill of the fair sight79. Horror is one of the most powerful aesthetical categories and not even fear can restrain our morbid curiosity, such disturbing desire of taking pleasure in the scent of carrion. “Art, says Jean Clair, has domesticated the demons within the visible and invisible world, animals, plants, seas and lands, cities and deserts, monsters, angels, demons and gods, even dogs, according to Rimbaud. But it doesn’t seem to have domesticated horror”80. Many men exercise the private use in the world of citizenship (in the enlightened sense) and to such obviousness we can add the fact that deaths are not counted the same everywhere. “There are of atrocities, but they’re somewhere else”81, said Noam Chomsky.

Narcotized by live coverage (where a voyeuristic drive and a strategy for planetary grand-scale surveillance cross paths), an illumination which lights up the reality of the world, a stark light which drags out the least nook and cranny82, we have hardened and, above all, our addiction to televised violence has immunized us against the suffering of others83. Our world, as Antoni Miró’s artwork reflects, amplifies violence and turns fear into the ultimate shield of the emotional life. A horrendous but global image, the tortured man with the hood and his wired extremities84 shakes the amnesia off Richard Serra’s heavy minimalism. It is not enough to declare in a hollow tone of voice that one is “outraged” or talk about disgust. Even the American government did that. It is significant that certain words cannot be pronounced but “quoted”, as if we were astutely playing a metalinguistic game: “My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture”, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said at a press conference-. And therefore I’m not going to address the ‘torture’ word85. Even his apologies sounded -as usual- completely insincere86. Antoni Miró stare once again at the image of the tortured man handcuffed to a railing, reminiscent of a contemporary Ecce Homo with his face covered with a mask and traces of blood around him. That symbolic image of tyrannical and “global” haunts the documents about death penalty in the United States, in a lucid series of paintings where Antoni Miró portrays the menus the condemned prisoners chose for their “last meal”. The news about the execution of the prisoner who became an activist against violence faces us with the literally indigestible, with something we would avoid looking at because it is not decorative.

The vigorous determination of building a memorial for contemporary conflicts leads Antoni Miró to consider a space which, in appearance, would look like a “haven of peace”: art museums where the subject devotes itself to what we call disinterested pleasure after Kant. Antoni Miró paints museums obsessively: the British Museum, Metropolitan, Guggenheim, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, among others. It is not a “documentary” series or a systematic archive but an investigation on the kind of experience originated in such spaces of artistic memory. My impression is that the artist concluded the museum has evolved into a place of habits, where unfortunately the logic of tourism has produced a disappearance of the aesthetic experience. “Between profanation (the trivial) and sacralization (the display case), dissemination (life) and concentration (collection), radicality and promotion, there is a type of back and forth movement in which the Media still has the last word, transforming anticulture, culture and saliva into holy water. The Museum wins on points. The show must go on87. Postmodernity is, in a way, the moment of the return of the same, an eclecticism that tends, more than anything, to the disguise game and the heavy deja vu feeling. According to Steiner we find ourselves in an after-word culture, epilogic, where the proliferation of the comments moves us away from the “real presences”. The museum is a great means of communication which swings between narcissism and the impression of uselessness, the discourse for the initiated and the obligation of entertaining the masses, scandalous artistic strategies and scenographies to showcase the artworks are equally acceptable provided the decontextualizing mechanism “covertly organizes” what might otherwise rush into chaos. Obviously the ideological neodecorativism88 Antoni Miró constantly challenges celebrates the apotheosis of the art as an idle territory. It is curious that the moment arts radically incorporate the philosophical task is also the moment of the planetary introduction of the popular chorus, the intellectual humming and, in metaphorical terms, the karaoke culture or the institutional abandonment of the political and (allegedly) antagonistic discourse, which mainly triggers disconnection89.

“If culture -argues Michael Sorkin- is being Disneyfied (and there’s no mistaking it!) the royal road is precisely that: going for a ride”90. There is no need to overcome the vertigo of a roller coaster or vomit next to a popcorn trolley, you simply emulate Antoni Miró and visit the greatest of the McDonaldized monuments in the museum sphere (a variation of the picnoleptic ubiquity or the tourist amnesia): the Guggenheim whose “effects” are to be seen in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, an institution that will impose the wintry meteorology Jean Clair describes with great sadness in his most recent books91. This is not new: the important thing is not the art but the pedestal and the frame and, of course, the container is much more magnificent than the “parergon” and must be unmistakably pharaonic. There is nothing to profane, everything is inside a display case, the museum drift of the world and the conversion of tourism into a global sentence are about to prevent the appearance of the singular. It ultimately seems as if we were unable to be at home92. We know full well what is happening: the guided visit, the commented slide, the interactive space, the management of cultural resources, the touristic pandemonium that is always short of time93. We are mobilized by tourism, this is the aesthetic experience94. That waiting for what is delayed is, in fact, the banal “free time” before continuing on our way to a destination called souvenir. What Antoni Miró remembers from his visits to museums is the drift of the gaze; he is not only attracted by the imposing façades of museum, by the architectural splendor of MUSAC or the surreal rarity of the Dalí Foudnation, but by the contemplative attitude of the audience, their behavior towards the work of art. Antoni Miró shows again and again the passion of the artistic gaze, that mirror process where you look by looking95 generating a mise en abyme, that mirror process96 in which his own paintings are installed in the museum sphere, offered to the idle time of the aesthetic contemplation.

The Museum is not the Arcadia we wish to recover or an oasis where we go to forget the cruelty of our world; it is a heterotopia facing marginality. In the artist’s opinion, what happened in our world is not the much-trumpeted expansion of democracy, but the globalization of poverty97. Our society of surplus and added values must indulge in wastefulness, something that does not need to be a game but can also have tragic aspects. The destruction of the most valued possessions may reveal their real value as it happens in the case of potlatch; donating may be a way of regaining power from the foolish frenzy of military spending to the dilapidation of our physical energies. The powerful, the lords, “compete with each other to see who is the most destructive”98, luxury needs a shadow, a tomb or a pyre to disappear into. “True luxury and the real potlatch of our times falls to the poverty stricken, that is, to the individual who lies down and scoffs. A genuine luxury requires the complete contempt for riches, the somber indifference of the individual who refuses work and makes his life on the one hand an infi- nitely ruined splendor, and on the other, a silent insult to the laborious life of the rich. Beyond a military exploitation, a religious mystification and a capitalist misappropriation, henceforth no one can rediscover the meaning of wealth, the explosiveness that it heralds, unless it is in the splendor of rags and the somber challenge of indifference. One might say, finally that the lie destines life’s exuberance to revolt”99. Such poetic defense of misery may be used to support political cynicism, normalizing a mystified vision of the margins. We know there is trend devoted to constantly portray poverty, claiming a “compassionate” concern for the human condition100.

Antoni Miró does not transform the marginal into the picturesque, he uses a slow medium like painting to stem the amnesia we suffer against the suffering of others. In a sense, his paintings offer an imaginary “shelter” for poverty, having the certainty that the harsh destiny of living in the open cannot be artistically “appropriated” in vain. Somehow the term “homeless” is an ideology masking many questions101. “The homeless are the soul of postmodernity if it can be said to have a true soul. They move around the public space, their carts filled with worthless ‘belongings’, a parody of the other postmodern figure, the yuppie tourist”102. They embody the scarcity but at the same time the inability of our system of thought to assume a critical point of view beyond a compassion induced by mass media.

“Given the nature of the game now played, the misery of those left out of it, once treated as a collectively caused blight which needed to be dealt with by collective means, can be only redefined as an individual crime”103. As Bauman cleverly notes, the poor are no longer the rejects of consumer society, defeated in the all-out competitive wars; they are the outright enemies of society. In the logic of exclusion104 the figure of the poor is defined as some who fails to adjust to the norm, and society reacts to them with a mixture of fear and revulsion on the one hand and pity and compassion on the other. We take pleasure in thinking that poverty is “destiny” or a certain relationship (or lack thereof) with possessions, when in the strict sense of the word is a social status105. We need to make the excluded invisible106, keep them permanently out of place, alien to our club effect107. At the same time, mass media “approach” misery on a daily basis, although as Walter Benjamin points out, in their “photographic” practice there is an eagerness to transform the pain and inequality of others into an object of consumption. Agents or hacks abound and they “make a great display of their poverty and turn the gaping void into a feast. One couldn’t be more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation”108.

Claiming the need of documentary images, mass media feed our western guilty conscience appetite for gore, they want to move us by showing painful spectacles sometimes described as “inexplicable” or inhuman even when they belong to conflicting notions to those managed ideologically. Pierre Bourdieu noted that the photograph itself is usually nothing but the group’s image of its own integration109, so we could argue that the images of poverty show a disintegration, something that can only reappear in a “visual liturgy” which is nothing but a concealment. The work of Antoni Miró reacts against such “nationalization of misery” and keeps his critical conscience alert, imposing the ideological basis of his systemic denouncement: “In his series, says Ricard Huerta, he talks about people wandering around the city trying to squeeze some crumbs of life from the disproportionate wealth of the powerful, about groups of workers fighting peacefully on the streets, demonstrating to demand fairer working conditions, about women suffering harassment in a situation of neglect, about children enduring abuses from their closest relatives in the majority of cases. About people suffering in the city. But also about people involved in the processes of urban space. Antoni Miró gathers the most distressing atoms of such hidden lives and spills them over his paintings with a thorough ability to insert every single detail into the fair container. It is the effort of the artist to narrate his point of view and also his uprooting. He attracts us to a sphere of collapse, an uncomfortable situation, and installs us in a necessary unease which leads us to demanding and encouraging positions. Tirelessly, optimistically, Antoni Miró’s paintings instill enough rage to experience a healthy emotional discharge, in which we rely to access to an entirely desirable state of reflection”110.

We know how difficult it is to relive the past without experiencing nightmares111 and that the (traumatic) compulsion of repetition can lead to a fossilization of anything possessing the status of event. As I mentioned before, Antoni Miró portrays the historical injustice which endures up to the present and forces us to stare at realities of unsettling faces: from the shacks where junkies live to the fallen existence of the poor, from the prisoners condemned to death to the tortured. One of the most shocking portraits he has ever painted belongs to the series of women in burqas; Miró combines the chromatic splendor with the social and religious imposition of anonymity. Such collective portrait talks about the phenomenon of “talibanization” which is not only rooted in the Islamic world, it also wreaks havoc among those unable to understand that the “western” empire has its own unquestioned theology, we only need to look at a dollar bill to read the disturbing sentence: “In God We Trust”. The invisible faces of Afghan women could be reflected in two skulls Antoni Miró painted (one of a dog, another human), as timely vanitas in a time when we have something worse than the “clash of civilizations”, the global political decision of preventing a dialogue among peoples.

If on the one hand Antoni Miró gives visibility to the vulnerable in society and hints with irony and anger that the world is on the wrong track112; he also pays homage to people of political integrity and cultural greatness who left an indelible memory. The sinister and forced anonymity imposed on women in burkas does not only refers to the funerary; it is also the visual antonym of the series devoted to extraordinary figures such as Miquel Martí i Pol, Josep Pla, Salvat Papasseit, Joan Fuster, Joan Coromines, Rafael Alberti, Salvador Espriu, Jordi Valor, Joan Valls, Isabel-Clara Simó, Vicent Andrés Estelés, Manuel Sanchis Guarner, Raimon, Ovidi Monitor, Leo Ferré, Maria del Mar Bonet, Enric Valor, Antoni Tàpies, Puig Antich, Salvador Allende, Karl Marx, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Ché Guevara, Lluis Companys, Antonio Gades, Antoni Gaudí, Sigmund Freud, Miguel Hernández and Pau Casals. These portraits are, in fact, a political and cultural history113 in which Antoni Miró gathers the people who contributed to create a Catalonian national conscience and international intellects from a variety of fields like the critique of political economy criticism, the ideological mutation of consumerism, the expedition to the unconscious of the psychoanalysis and the heroic strategy of Cuban revolution. As Isabel-Clara Simó wrote, the art of Antoni Miró is a bond: “a bond where he deposits not only his dignity but also our precarious and distressed dignity”114. The artist knows how to make the collective conscience uncomfortable115 by keeping a utopian dimension, by believing that a strategy of resistance could lead to a better society.

“The formal overabundance of his works is clothed in fantastic connotations and a truth which has a raison d’être whenever it comes from afar, from the scrupulously chosen basic points, to take up very personal and original aspects in the sharp contrast between color-material and the word. He manages to acquire distant experiences which are balanced on the line which separates representation from nominal designation. He overcomes the powerful presence of the object, not by isolating it or taking it out of context, but by affirming its oneiric reality, such as that described by Freud in is Tramdeutung116. In his works sediments the emotional and mysterious power of dreams and memory117. The series Vivace is perhaps one of the most magnificent expressions of the friction the imagination of Antoni Miró creates between the ideal of beauty and the raw reality we live in. “During the nineties Antoni Miró devoted himself to observe and hang on the walls those machines that build and destroy the coast, high voltage pipes, piles of pipes, cigarettes and cartridges, monsters of a civilization that devours the human environment and the landscape”118. José María Iglesias noted that the series Vivace is at the highest level of aesthetical conception of the artist: “It seems as if now the message needed a greater dose of beauty in the medium”119. As a reaction to the environmental crime, emerges a nostalgia for the adventure and the image or the physical presence of the bicycle as some sort of “heavenly” vehicle120. The artist, who is a radical critic of the notion of historical “progress”121 makes the imagination spin with the wheels of the bicycle in an archeological and encouraging dimension122. In the artistic career of Antoni Miró there is always a different sense of beauty123, unconventional, marked by the presence of the undesirable, the unfair, of whatever undermines the “historical” splendor. He firmly believes that beauty is something more than a static reality: “to Antoni Miró beauty is, above all, a spirit of transformation”124. His paintings from his trip to Greece and the erotic series that recreate scenes from Greek ceramics allude to a tension between the ruins and the pleasure. His modern interpretation of a classical iconography125 always has in mind the “polluted” dominance we must try to survive to with dignity.

When the very dissatisfaction has turned into a commodity and the reality show strengthens the desire for pathos, the subjects consume gadgets in an accelerated fashion and the artists resort to bricolage, some of them even incite others to assume the delirium of the world in a delirious way126. Contemporary art reinvents incompetence, insignificance, absurdity when perhaps it is already absurd: “Nullity, however, is a secret quality that cannot be claimed by just anyone. Insignificance —real insignificance, the victorious challenge to meaning, the shedding of sense, the art of the disappearance of meaning—is the rare quality of a few exceptional works that never strive for it”127. However, in a radical sense, art is about leaving the door always open or perhaps undecided –Open? Closed?– escaping from dogmatism and insignificance. Certainly with his work of iconic intertextuality128 Antoni Miró trascends the swamp of triviality; he knows perfectly well the duchampian gesture, and he “pays homage” to it in his pictorial version of the provocative urinal signed by R. Mutt, but he is not willing to be another serf of the monotonous paradigm of the ready-made. The artist or intellectual only needs a slight persuasive consensus to release an idea to the world. “The creative act is not performed by the artist alone”, Duchamp said in 1957. Otherwise, fiction would be useless, only a fiction and never a reality. The Readymade is both a photometer and a deception”129 The negative part is that the compulsion for repetition of the ready-made is not eloquent anymore130. The “pyrotechnic” becoming of art has generated a proliferation of ephemeral rituals131 that are, in most cases, enigmas lacking greatness.

It isn’t enough to “pedestalize” things with an “aesthetical indifference” and the artist cannot devote himself to play an infinite chess game with supreme meta-irony, when the world is rushing into an abyss of bottomless crisis. As I mentioned before, Antoni Miró interprets what happens around him, but it is not his intention to “neutralize” our consciousness but the opposite, he wants to produce a critical agitation. “Antoni Miró is a painter committed to his cultural identity –whose origin is in the baroque archetype, always present in Valencian culture, and ends in pop-art and social realism. The work of Antoni Miró –which usually shows a grotesque, absurd, satirical tone-is a hundred percent Valencian. And it is defined by demystification and denouncement, goals he always achieves with a extraordinary quality of drawing and with a great brilliance of images”132. The grotesque is the alienated world133. Kayser wrote that by alienated world we understand a place that one minute it looks familiar and the other reveals its strange and disturbing nature. That description matches the sinister according to Freud. If, on the one hand, the artistic logic of the grotesque image “ignores the closed smooth and impenetrable surface of the body and maintains only its excrescences (sprouts, buds) and orifices, only that which leads beyond the body’s limited space or into the body’s”134, it is also a experience of disorientation, in which the carnivalesque stops working as a popular uprising to account for a kind of singular displacement or to reveal a life condemnation, as if we were subjected to a marionette theatre135. Although sometimes it may looks as if we live in renovated commedia dell’arte (with an abuse of masks and costumes), in fact, we are the extras in a never-ending soap opera136.

On many occasions one concludes that art is nothing but an effect, something more delirious than comical137. The empire of the flow experiences138, where such flow never leaves any traces behind. Nothing happens; it is always the same; we had a good time. I must insist there is an indulgent infantilism, as if we only cared about more presents, tidbits or lullabies139.

In a moment of aesthetic ether140 nobody seems to be uncomfortable with the glamorous doses of things completely disorganized; in fact, there are artists like Antoni Miró who does not share the same principles of the majority of members of this (tedious) culture of spectacle. Images, as David Le Breton lucidly explained, transform the real world in an endless place, always identical and always renewed, they introduce the intelligible or the gaze where incoherence and the invisible prevail. When distorting the flux of the real or the strokes of things, they distort content, but offer –elusive from these realities for its thickness and complexity- an image that allows the start of an understanding or, at least, a rapprochement. In a sense, images serve as a comfort for Antoni Miró’s aesthetics, there is a homeopathy of anguish which originates in the part lacking sense, in the ethical irrationality that accompanies the life of men as their insurmountable shadow. “The distance with respect to the event is abolished when the image transforms and dismantles irreducibility. The fixation of what is infinitely small or remote, photographic or television harassment of the world in a tireless search for the “shock-image”, the “heroic deed”, the “horror” responds to the concern of the modern man of having in plain sight all those things that can escape the gaze”141.

The news that hypnotizes us are incomprehensible or became utterly weird142. To a certain extent, information and even art, at least in an “appropriationist” way, would serve to reveal radically desubjectized ghosts, which could never be assumed by the subject. “This brings us to a further crucial complication: if what we experience as ‘reality’ is structured by fantasy, and if fantasy serves as the screen that protects us from being directly overwhelmed by the raw Real, then reality itself can function as an escape from encountering the Real. In the opposition between dream and reality, fantasy is at the side of reality, and it is in dreams that we encounter the traumatic Real - it is not that dreams are for those who cannot endure reality, reality itself is for those who cannot endure (the Real that anounces itself in) their dreams”143. It all falls in a sort of bottomless well: from old political ideals to Lehman Brothers. There is no need to insist on it, we are in total bankruptcy144. It may be so in certain artistic fields, although no one wants to take responsibility for it, another stagflation. Even certain contemporary aesthetic modes performing a “(brutal) return to the real”145 frequently cause narcoleptic fits. Both politics and military strategy require the spread of false news146 assuming, as does Boris Groys, that mass media are not only a communication channel but also a mask hiding absolute void. “Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management. Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let’s by all means grieve together. But let’s not be stupid together”147, warned Susan Sontag. The negative part is that perhaps the “future community” is defined as a group of people enduring together the indigestible or wandering a landscape of nothing.

Although failure is our destiny (something an artist who has embodied multiple personalities and has self-portrayed himself as an antihero knows), we cannot conclude that art is a big machine of castrating sovereignty148. Antoni Miró, a radically Mediterranean artist with an incorruptible sense of rebelliousness149, has an agenda of his own but it is based on a collective experience, he is always attentive to the burning question of justice. In an interview with Vicent Hernández published in the newspaper Avui in 1976 Antoni Miró declared: “I paint what I dislike”. The work of this “painter of ideas” is a permanent building of awareness150, he stands up to a new version of imperialism that is putting an end to citizen rights. In a painting of great intensity, in Floriano de Santi words, the conflicting co-presence of two antithetical forces pushed in opposite directions: “the severe gaze of meditatio mortis observes the potential ab aeterno of the Old Masters like Velázquez, Goya, Picasso and Joan Miró and rejects the artistic activity as futile acrobatics of the sensitive and the ephemeral and, on the other hand, the human and almost hypnotized gaze of the painter is dragged to his regret to some kind of static trance, to the uncontrollable metamorphosis of “writing” through images”151.

Critical thinking is nowhere to be seen in a time of absolute crisis and I have the impression that our minds swing between infantile regression and fun. We need to embrace pessimism after the overdose of happy talk152. The work of Antoni Miró reminds us we must confront history153 from civic positions, always trying to make comprehensible what concerns us. We have to act beyond melancholy, recover the vigor of our critical thinking in these depressing times and if we want to indulge in nostalgia it should be in nostalgia for the future. José Corredor-Matheos pointed out that Antoni Miró has a “Cartesian determination” which forces him to exhaust a subject until its last breath. Unfortunately, injustice is inexhaustible. Antoni Miró is a tireless observer of his surrounding reality and he takes sides because he knows that the necessary task is not simply to imitate what happens but to be able to offer critical and emancipatory154 options; his aesthetics is extremely detailed, precise and always furious155, it reveals a constant attitude of rebelliousness.

Through his work we become aware of contemporary disasters, his plural gaze forces us to understand the crisis live in with direct messages and fair images156. After so many images, with a few words, Antoni Miró describes with lucidity what his task is: “reflexe la problemàtica d’avui”; “Reflect the problems of today”.

 

1. David Lynch in Chris Rodley (ed.): Lynch on Lynch, Faber & Faber, London, 1997.

2. See Jean Baudrillard: “La simulación en el arte” in La ilusión y la desilusión estéticas, Ed. Monte Ávila, Caracas, 1998, p. 49.

3. Roland Barthes: “Sade-Pasolini” in The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1997.

4. “The criticism of institutions implied in the best of most recent works has led to a serious question: What if art objects are inevitable prisoners of the museumization of the market?” (Brandon Taylor: The Art of Today, George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Limited, London, 1995).

5. “Obscenity and transparency progress ineluctably, because they no longer partake in the order of desire but in the order of the frenzy of the image. The solicitation of and voraciousness for images is increasing at an excessive rate. Images have become our true sex object, the object of our desire. The obscenity of our culture resides in the confusion of desire and its equivalent materialized in the image”. Jean Baudrillard: The Ecstasy of Communication, Semiotext(e), New York, 1988).

6. Marshall McLuhan y B.R. Powers: The Global Village, Oxford University Press, New York, 1992.

7. “Art is constituted as much by the experience of ambiguity as it is by oscillation and disorientation. In the world of generalized communication, these are the only ways that art can (not still, but perhaps finally) take the form of creativity and freedom.” (Gianni Vattimo: The Transparent Society, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992).

8. See Hal Foster: “The Future of an Illusion or the Contemporary artist as Cargo Cultist”, in Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1986, 102-03.

9. “In short, artistic “freedom” exists in proportion to the artists’ irrelevance. Whereas in Dada, meaningless was located in the artwork in a way reflected critically on social meaning itself, now meaninglessness is bestowed upon the artist, whose critical and creative powers are kept isolated from social effect. As Peter Schjeldahl wrote in the New Yorker (March 25, 2002) regarding that year’s Whitney Biennal: “American art today can be anything except necessary”. It is the structure and social function of the artworld that guarantees the meaningless of much of artistic practice today. The artworld is a trap. Promising to protect the artists’ work from the commercial instrumentalization of the culture industry, it absorbs the best, brightest, the most talented practitioners of visual culture and defuses their critical power, rendering them impotent within the larger public sphere”. (Susan Buck-Morss: Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2003, 69).

10. Wences Rambla is the author of a seminal study on the work of Antoni Miró: Forma y expresión en la plástica de Antoni Miró, Ed. Instituto de Creatividad e Innovaciones Educativas, Universitat de València, 1998.

11. “Antoni Miró belongs to that generation of Spanish painters who grew tired of the futile informal art the great masters of abstraction had exploited ad nauseam and rejected such an affected figuration of cubist and expressionist roots (new figuration). They opened their eyes to paint a their own story, to condemn wars, racism, exploitation, imperial economic or military hegemony, the destruction of our planet, the misery of our history”. (Daniel Giralt-Miracle: “El Llibre dels fets de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 262).

12. “[…] Grup Alcoiart was a group of mutual stimulation and it proved to be decisive for Antoni Miró in his beginnings. This group acted as a resistance front in a convulsive period in Spain during the sixties” (Román de la Calle: “La trayectoria artística de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 256). For more information on Grup Alcoiart see José Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: “Otra mirada sobre la obra artística de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 41.

13. For more information on Gruppo Denunzia see Floriano de Santi: “El ojo inquieto y alegórico de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, Trobades amb la Col. lecció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, pp. 93- 94. “Their images –Mario de Micheli pointed out regarding Gruppo Denunziaare presented with different stylistic and expressive characters: they are drastic and dramatic images in Miró; narrative and almost chronic in Rinaldi; ironically pathetic in Comencini; and bitter, grotesque and sarcastic in Pacheco. But in any case, they are images for and against: against the offence to the integrity of man and for the affirmation of his liberty […] Now in Italy and anywhere in Europe the new artistic generation has shown that it knows how to work in a direction that is not only that wandering, hermetic and elitist one of the most explicit things, in spite of many mistakes which abound around, of a general trend which only four or five years ago seemed absurd to hypothesize about. Miró, Rinaldi, Pacheco and Comencini, in their own way, belong to this trend”.

14. See Alain Badiou: The Century, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007.

15. “That is to say, with the depoliticized, socially objective, expert administration and coordination of interests as the zero-level of politics, the only way to introduce passion into this field, to actively mobilize people, is through fear, a basic constituent of today’s subjectivity. For this reason, bio-politics is ultimately a politics of fear; it focuses on defence from potential victimisation or harassment.” (Slavoj Zizek: Violence. Six Sideways Reflections, Profile Books, London, 2008, p. 34).

16. “An analytical proposal, which avoids pop-art clichés and hyperrealism, and integrates art, society and modern times expressed with a singular aesthetics. It reflects the spirit of Antoni Miró, an artist who “ldquo;looks at reality and transforms it. He transforms it in three different and simultaneous ways: he transforms it by giving it meaning; he transforms it by rescuing it from the daily routine that dulls objects and persons; and he transforms it by projecting his own alternative world, created by the artist, on it”, as Isabel-Clara Simó wrote in the catalogue “Antoni Miró. Els ulls del pintor”. Miró belongs to the generation of Equipo Crónica, Equipo Realidad, Canogar, etc., but conceptually, they are dissimilar. He didn’t attend traditional art schools or arts & crafts schools and didn’t take part in any of the groups promoting critical realism. Also, he didn’t mingle in the artist groups from the city of Valencia and didn’t share the political and philosophical ideas they would later transform into “chronicles of reality”. (Daniel Giralt-Miracle: “El Llibre dels fets de Antoni Miró” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d’Alacant, Alicante, 2010, pp. 263-264).

17. José Jiménez: “Oscuros, inciertos instantes” in Creación, n° 5, Madrid, May 1992, p. 15.

18. “The work of Antoni Miró situates itself in a prominent and unique place within a specific tradition of contemporary art Vicente Aguilera Cerni defined as “Chronicle of Reality”, which is firmly rooted in Valencia. I have always linked such deep roots with the festive tradition of Las Fallas, a domestic pop art prior to the ‘official’ American one”. (José María Iglesias: “Antoni Miró: la realidad transcendida en imágenes” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 17).

19. Ernst Fischer: “El problema de lo real en el arte moderno” in Polémica sobre realismo, Ed. Tiempo Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, 1972, p. 93.

20. Jean Baudrillard: The Violence of Images. Violence Against the Image. Translated by Paul Foss. Art US, Los Angeles, 2008, Issue 25, p. 35.

21. Manuel Vicent: “El mundo proteico de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 9.

22. “The word “propaganda” has a sinister ring, suggesting strategies of manipulative persuasion, intimidation and deception. In contrast, the idea of art implies to many people a special sphere of activity devoted to the pursuit of truth, beauty and freedom. For some, “propaganda art” is a contradiction in terms. Yet the negative and emotive connotations of the word “propaganda” are relatively new and closely bound to the ideological struggles of the twentieth century. The original use of the word to describe the systematic propagation of beliefs, values or practices has been traced to the seventeenth century, when Pope Gregory XV named in 1622 the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith)” (Toby Clark: Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1997, p. 7).

23. “What distinguishes Miró from the rest is his ability to transform fiction into reality, the fiction of a few paintings into the reality of his painting, it is the ultimate distillation of the author in a unique style capable of showing the organic through light and almost geometric shapes”. (Raúl Guerra Garrido: Esto no es un ensayo sobre Miró, Ed. Girarte, Villena, 1994, pp. 37-49).

24. “The work of Antonio Miró reveals a continuous embrace of both the symbol and the image; images filled with paradoxes and metaphors and drenched in literary figures”. (Manuel Rodríguez Díaz: “Antoni Miró. El arte de crear un mundo propio: imaginativo y reflexivo” in Antoni Miró. Pinteu Pintura. Vivace, Galería Macarrón, Madrid, 1992, p. 22).

25. Wences Rambla: “A propósito de “Sense títol”, la nueva serie plástica de Antonio Miró” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, p. 40.

26. See Román de la Calle: “Antoni Miró: imágenes de las imágenes” in Antoni Miró: imágenes de las imágenes, Fundación Bancaja, Edificio Pirámide, Madrid, 1998, p. 5.

27. “In this observation, I want to distinguish the phenomenon from the witty insight of Borges, that artists create their precursors, as for instance the Kafka of Borges creates the Browning of Borges. I mean something more drastic and (presumably) absurd, which is the triumph of having so stationed the precursor, in one’s own work, that particular passages in his work seem to be not presages one’s own advent, but rather to be indebted to one’s own achievement, and even (necessarily) to be lessened by one’s greater splendor. The mighty dead return, but they return in our colors, and speaking in our voices, at least in part, at least in moments, moments that testify to our persistence, and not to their own”. (Harold Bloom: The Anxiety of the Influence, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 141).

28. According to the historian Fernand Braudel, in order to survive a civilization must be capable to give, receive and borrow, and recently Edward Said added: “The history of all cultures is the history of cultural borrowing”. See Peter Burke: Cultural Hibridity, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2009, p. 41.

29. “In the wildest sense, representations are those artificial (though seemingly immutable) constructions through which we apprehend the world: conceptual representations such as images, languages, definitions; which include and construct more social representations such as race and gender. Although such constructions often depend on a material form in the real world, representations constantly are posed as natural “facts” and their misleading plenitude obscures our apprehension of reality. Our access to reality is mediated by a gauze of representation. (Brian Wallis: Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation, David R. Godine, Boston, 1992).

30. Daniel Soutif: Papiers Journal. Chroniques d´art (1981-1993), Ed. Jacqueline Chambon, Nimes, 1993, p. 185.

31. “Miró pays homage to the intellectual and artistic figures who inspired him when he was an aspiring artist –who is essentially self-taught– while simultaneously experimenting with the elements of artistic language”. (Carles Cortés: “De historia va la cosa…” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 249).

32. Román de la Calle: “La trayectoria artística de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 257.

33. “Antoni Miró ‘builds’ images using other series of images that originate, on one hand, in the legacy of the history of painting and, on another, in the images that arrive filtered through the media, especially those provided by advertising”. (José Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 45).

34. “The images and worlds of ‘Pinteu Pintura’ mesmerize the viewer. With icons of the most recognizable contemporaneity (luxury cars, cigarettes, beverages, cards…), paintings from the social imaginary (Velázquez, Bosch, Tiziano, Mondrian, Goya, Picasso, Dürer, Magritte, Toulouse-Lautrec, Dalí, Joan Miró…), provocative combinations and collages, Antoni Miró forces us to look with renewed eyes to sacred masterpieces, makes us accomplices of his gaze and invites us to follow the road he opened”. (Josep Forcadell: “Historia de un tiempo y de un país” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 260).

35. “The postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognizing that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited: but with irony, not innocently. I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows he cannot say to her, “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows that he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still, there is a solution. He can say, “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly.” At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly that it is no longer possible to speak innocently, he will nevertheless have said what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her, but he loves her in an age of lost innocence. If the woman goes along with this, she will have received a declaration of love all the same. Neither of the two speakers will feel innocent, both will have accepted the challenge of the past, of the already said, which cannot be eliminated; both will consciously and with pleasure play the game of irony... But both will have succeeded, once again, in speaking of love”. (Umberto Eco: Postscript to The Name of the Rose, Harcourt, New York, 1984, pp. 67, 68).

36. “If irony is a subtle deployment of wit, meaning the opposite to what is said, this rhetorical figure might be ideal to summarize Antoni Miró’s plastic language. Irony is an essentially Mediterranean dialectic device, the vehicle of intelligence, halfway between awareness and analysis. Antoni Miró is a master at this form of communicating with the viewer, through a hint, a nod that results in a smiling brain”. (Manuel Vicent: “Antoni Miro’s proteic world” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 9.

37. Simon Critchley: On Humour, Routledge, Oxford, 2002, p. 1.

38. See Gianni Carchia: “Lo cómico absoluto y lo “sublime invertido” in Retórica de lo sublime, Ed. Tecnos, Madrid, 1994, pp. 145-180.

39. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Gay Science, Vintage, London, 1974.

40. “What I like best about comedy is that’s the most subversive art form around. I organized a show at the New Museum in 1982 called The Art of Subversion, which was about work that first made me laugh and then made me think. Humor can change someone’s mind, jar a prejudice off its pedestal in the space of a single laugh”. (Marcia Tucker: A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2008, p. 194)

41. “We might evoke Hugo and his later novel (1869) The Man Who Laughs, perhaps the most magnificent; in any case, the most captivating. It is the story of an abandoned child, turned into an invalid by the comprachicos, they broke his mouth and now he seems to have a perpetual smile on his face. The drama is filled with a real and always relatable anxiety over the nature and the sense of the monster as a redeemer of man, of the horror as the path to the good, of the repulsive as the path to beauty”. (Jean Clair: De Inmundo, Ed. Arena, Madrid, 2007).

42. “He selects the image and presents it in its best definition. He manipulates it because it is devoid of context, but he does it in order to boost its denouncing power and –and this is important- its formal quality: it is a work of art and Miró emphasizes it. In art history, prominent works have decontextualized and manipulated images, played with them and with their meanings, adapted them to fit their needs. The series Pinteu Pintura (1980-1991) or El dólar (1973-1980) are an example. It can almost be said that the images from popular works of art from the past belong to the “collective retina”, hence their efficiency to be used in ironic or sarcastic registers. (José María Iglesias: “Antoni Miró: la realidad transcendida en imágenes” en Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, pp. 21-22).

43. “Miró condemned the power of capitalism through the symbol of America’s currency, a nation that didn’t hesitate to press governments or impose dictatorships in countries like Chile” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d’Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 249).

44. “I remember a portfolio of four silkscreens and a handwritten (and also silkscreened) poem by Rafael Alberti from that series [El dólar] of 1975. The theme was the dollar and the sequence of titles of the series is almost a poem in itself: 1. Dòlar dolor. 2. Dòlar plegat. 3. Dòlar forcat. 4. Dòlar soldat. The last silkscreen shows a soldier who is armed to the teeth, wearing a helmet and a gas mask, with a dollar bill in his right hand”. (José María Iglesias: “Antoni Miró: la realidad transcendida en imágenes” en Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 22).

45. “In the series [“Amèrica Negra” and “El dòlar”], Miró criticized the brutality of such events [social discrimination and rapid spread of consumerism] and the false reverence for whatever the green bill represents, a new object-totem of worldwide dimension”. (Wences Rambla: “El compromiso artístico y político de Antoni Miró” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 275).

46. Rafael Alberti: “One dollar d´Antoni Miró”, on the porfolio of silkscreens One Dollar-Antoni Miró, edited by Galería Juana Mordó, Madrid, 1975.

47. “Color brings a cheerful quality to his paintings and contrasts with his social commitment. The work portrays a party where powerful and powerless men have a specific role. And the artist is the sum of it all: witness, part and, ultimately, creator”. (José Corredor-Matheos: texto en Antoni Miró. Pinteu Pintura. Vivace, Galería Macarrón, Madrid, 1992, p. 13).

48. “The inexpressible does not reside in an over there, in another world, or another time, but in this: in that (something) happens. In the determination of pictorial art, the indeterminate, the “it’s happening”, is color –the painting”. (Jean Francois Lyotard: “The Sublime and the Avant-Garde” in Artforum magazine, April, 1984).

49. Cfr. al respecto de esta obra Emili La Parra: “La guerra” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, pp. 265-266.

50. “Antoni Miró is neither an “ethically committed artist” –as Ernest Contreras defined him– nor a painter of men, objects and places; he is a reporter covering violence with a ‘reality of instants’, based on a prolonged gaze and a photographic execution which seems to petrify the analytical and cognitive process of racism, of the triumph of misery in rural areas and ghettos, and of solitude and social uprooting”. (Floriano de Santi: “El ojo inquieto y alegórico de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, Trobades amb la Col·lecció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, p. 94).

51. “Toni Miró is a left wing politically committed intellectual, who has constantly condemned and criticized social injustice in the second half of the 20th century”. (Rafael Acosta de Arriba: “Antoni Miró. Pastor de imágenes” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, p. 58).

52. “Antoni Miró transforms the still [photographic] image captured in the reception process into both an object and a reference. The automatism of the photographic image had a key role in the investigation of the nature of visible things. Such image is closely linked to the real, but also to a representation method constantly revealing facts. And the desire for exposing the facts has always been present in the pictorial activity of Antonio Miró”. (Román de la Calle: “Antoni Miró: imágenes de las imágenes” in Antoni Miró: imágenes de las imágenes, Fundación Bancaja, Edificio Pirámide, Madrid, 1998, pp. 25-26).

53. “In his extensive and prolific corpus there are traces, works, denouncing the systematic violation of human rights, condemning poverty and abject poverty known to the humankind, rejecting cruelty and violence of any kind, expressing the inhumanity of allegedly human beings (perhaps we need to admit that inhumanity is human, even very human…), showing self-interested manipulation, racism, xenophobia, etc.”. (José María Iglesias: “Antonio Miró: la realidad transcendida en imágenes” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, xxxp. 22).

54. Eugenio Trías: La memoria perdida de las cosas, Ed. Mondadori, Madrid, 1988, p. 81.

55. See W. Worringer: Abstraction and Empathy, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1997.

56. “The photograph is undialectical: it is a denatured theater where death cannot “be contemplated,” reflected and interiorized; or again: the dead theater of Death, the foreclosure of the Tragic, excludes all purification, all catharsis”. (Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Hill and Wang, New York, 1982)

57. Eugenio Trías: La memoria perdida de las cosas, Ed. Mondadori, Madrid, 1988, p. 120.

58. “A new museum opens in every day of the year, somewhere in Europe. All the every-day activities of yesteryear –lacemaking, chestnut harvesting, donkey breeding, and millinery- have their own écomusées. And our calendars are so full of memorial days for the remarkable events of the past that there’s almost no room left for anything more to happen in the future! (Tzvetan Todorov: Hope and Memory. Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2000, p. 159).

59. Román de la Calle: “Antoni Miró: imágenes de imágenes” in Antoni Miró: imágenes de imágenes, Fundación Bancaja, Edificio Pirámide, Madrid, 1998, p. 27.

60. “It was his personal decision and choice to distance himself from the urban spectacle and build his daily habitat in a place away from the city, although he feels urbanite in his artistic condition”. (Ricard Huerta: “La ciudad y el museo” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, Trobades amb la Col·lecció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, p. 98).

61. Josep Sou: “Las ciudades del silencio” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 277.

62. Gianni Vattimo: The Transparent Society, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992.

63. Ernst Bloch: The Principle of Hope, Vol. 2, MIT Press, Cambrige, 1995, p. 733.

64. “It is funny how married or unmarried young couples live; when you visit them you get the feeling they are, in fact, living on a campsite: they did not buy any furniture, they have some boxes, some pieces of wood, they did not buy a bed and sleep on a mattress on the floor, as if they were about to leave any minute. To me this is an essential idea: we are here in a temporary situation. We should never hold on to any place, we can only be here temporarily”. (Alain Robbe-Grillet: “Ciudad imaginaria, ciudad real” in Creación, n°12, Instituto de Estética y Teoría de las Artes, Madrid, 1994, p. 85).

65. “Warmth is ebbing from things. The objects of daily use gently but insistently repel us. Day by day, in overcoming the sum of secret resistances –not only the overt ones- that they put in our way, we have an immense labor to perform. We must compensate for their coldness with our warmth if they are not to freeze us to death, and handle their spines with infinite dexterity, if we are not to perish by bleeding. From our fellow men we should not expect no succour. Bus conductors, officials, workmen, salesmen –they all feel themselves to be the representatives of a refractory matter whose menace they take pains to demonstrate through their own surliness. And in the degeneration of things, with which, emulating human decay, they punish humanity, the country itself conspires”. (Walter Benjamin: One-Way Street and Other Writings, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, London, 1978, p. 58).

66. Gianni Vattimo: “Art and Oscillation” in The Transparent Society, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992, p. 51.

67. Paul Auster: The invention of solitude, Penguin, New York, 1988, p. 26.

68. “However, a home never refers to something unmistakably positive, but to something where, in the best of scenarios, the positive prevails. The oppressing, the chaining, the rough and the shapeless, the secret torment –no matter their combination- also hide in the folds of memory, provided the word ‘home’ is not connected to society, art or something like that; it must refer to the place where everybody belongs”. (Alexander Mitscherlich: “Confesión al mundo cercano. ¿Qué es lo que convierte una vivienda en un hogar?” in La inhospitalidad de nuestras ciudades, Ed. Alianza, Madrid, 1969, p. 134).

69. “Seeing Manhattan from the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. Beneath the haze stirred up by the winds, the urban island, a sea in the middle of the sea, lifts up the skyscrapers over Wall Street, sinks down at Greenwich, then rises again to the crests of Midtown, quietly passes over Central Park and finally undulates off into the distance beyond Harlem. A wave of verticals. Its agitation is momentarily arrested by vision. The gigantic mass is immobilized before the eyes. It is transformed into a texturology in which extremes coincide –extremes of ambition and degradation, brutal oppositions of races and styles, contrasts between yesterday’s buildings, already transformed into trash cans, and today’s urban irruptions that block out its space. Unlike Rome, New York has never learned the art of growing old by playing on all its pasts. Its present invents itself, from hour to hour, in the act of throwing away its previous accomplishments and challenging the future. A city composed of paroxysmal places in monumental reliefs. The spectator can read in it a universe that is constantly exploding. In it are inscribed the architectural figures of the coincidatio oppositorum formerly drawn in miniatures and mystical textures. On this stage of concrete, steel and glass, cut between two oceans (the Atlantic and the American) by a frigid body of water, the tallest letters in the world compose a gigantic rhetoric of excess in both expenditure and production”. (Michel de Certeau: The Practice of Everyday Life. Volume 1, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984, p. 91).

70. Michel de Certeau: The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984, p. 92

71. Michel de Certeau: The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984, p. 93.

72. See Wences Rambla: “A propósito de “Sense títol” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valencia, 2003, pp. 34 and ss

73. “Similarly, we can say that the World Trade Center alone expresses the spirit of New York City in its most radical form: verticality. The towers are like two perforated strips. They are the city itself and, at the same time, the vehicle by means of which the city as a historical and symbolic form has been liquidated –repetition, cloning. The twin towers are clones of each other. It’s the end of the city, but it’s a very beautiful end, and architecture expresses both, both the end and the fulfillment of that end”. (Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel: The Singular Objects of Architecture, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2002, p. 38).

74. Jacques Derrida: Rethinking Architecture: Reader in Cultural Theory, Routlege, New York, 1997, p. 304

75. “The accumulation of cataclysmic stereotypes in disaster movies indicated the crisis of America’s collective consciousness (paranoia) in a moment when their most rooted convictions (military omnipresence, integrity of their president, dollar supremacy, energy self-sufficiency) were dissolving for historical reasons”. (Ignacio Ramonet: “Las películas-catástrofe norteamericanas” en La golosina visual, Ed. Debate, Madrid, 2000, p. 65)

76. In a conversation about 9/11, Jacques Derrida mentions an article by Terry Smith (“Target Architecture: Destination and Spectacle before and after 9.11”) where he discusses the “architecture of aftermath”; also, he referred to a comment made by Joseph B. Juhas about Yamasaki in Contemporary Architects, published in 1994, that reads: “The WTC had been our Ivory Gates to the White City [...] Thought, at least when viewed from a distance, the WTC still shimmers –it is at the moment thoroughly besmirched by its unfortunate role as a target for Middle East terrorism. […] Of course, any “stability” based on the suppression of open systems becomes an element in a drama which in its own term must terminate in cataclysm”, quoted by Jacques Derrida in Giovanna Borradori: La filosofía en una época de terror. Diálogos con Jürgen Habermas y Jacques Derrida, Ed. Taurus, Madrid, 2003, p. 260.

77. “The violence of globalization also involves architecture, and hence the violent protest against it also involves the destruction of that architecture. In terms of collective drama, we can say that the horror for the 4,000 victims of dying in those towers was inseparable from the horror of living in them –the horror of living and working in sarcophagi of concrete and steel. (Jean Baudrillard: “Requiem for the Twin Towers” in The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays, Verso, London, 2002, p. 41).

78. “The traumatic intensity of the images of destruction existed precisely here: as cinematic as they appeared, they were unintentionally actual, irrefutably material and real. And the reality muddied the symbolic message”. (Susan BuckMorss: Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2003, p. 26).

79. Platón: The Republic, Book IV.

80. Jean Clair: La barbarie ordinaria. Music en Dachau, Ed. La Balsa de la Medusa, Madrid, 2007, p 35.

81. Noam Chomsky: Power and Terror. Post 9/11 Talks and Interviews, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2003, p. 14.

82. “The more that time intervals are abolished, the more the image of space dilates: ‘You would think that an explosion had occurred all over the planet. The least nook and cranny are dragged out of the shade by a stark light: wrote Ernst Junger of that illumination which lights up the reality of the world. The coming of the ‘live’, of ‘direct transmission’, brought about by turning the limit-speed of waves to effect, transforms the old ‘television’ into a planetary grand-scale optics. With CNN and its various offshoots, domestic television has given way to telesurveillance. (Paul Virilio: The Information Bomb, Verson, London, 2000, p. 12).

83. “Citizens of modernity, consumers of violence as spectacle, adepts of proximity without risk, are schooled to be cynical about the possibility of sincerity”. (Susan Sontag: Regarding the Pain of Others, Picador, New York, 2004, p. 111).

84. “The Man with the Hood appeared throughout the world, on television, over the internet, in protest posters, and in murals, graffiti, and works of art from Baghdad to Berkeley. […] The Bagman become so ubiquitous and recognizable that it could insinuate itself subtly into commercial advertisements for the iPod in New York subways, where it merged almost subliminally the figures of “wired” dancers wearing iPod headphones and the “iRaqi” with his wired genitals. […] If Bionic Abu Ghraib Man played the role of the powerful twin to the abject torture victim in American mythology, it found another twin or uncanny double inside Iraq, in a mural that appeared in Baghdad shortly after the release of the Abu Ghraib photographs. The mural by Sallah Edine Sallat, portrays the Hooded Man on his box paralleled by a hooded Statute of Liberty on her pedestal. Again the “double” is both similar and opposite: the Statue of Liberty is clothed in the white robes and hood of the Ku Klux Klan, her hood perforated by eyeholes that reveal her as the torturer counterpart to the torture victim in his eyeless hood and black robe. Lady Liberty’s arm is raised, moreover, not to elevate the torch of liberty, but to reach for the switch that will send electrical current flowing through the torture victim’s body”. (W.J.T. Mitchell: Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9-11 to the Present, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2011, p. 103-104).

85. “When, for instance, Rumsfeld claimed that publishing the photos of torture and humiliation and rape allow them “to define us as Americans”, he attributed to photography an enormous power to construct national identity itself. The photographs would not just show something atrocious, but would make our capacity to commit atrocity into a defining concept of American identity”. (Judith Butler: Frames of War. When Is Life Grievable?, London, 2009, p. 72).

86. “Even when the president was finally compelled, as the damage to America’s reputation everywhere in the world widened and deepened, to use the ‘’sorry’’ word, the focus of regret still seemed the damage to America’s claim to moral superiority. Yes, President Bush said in Washington on May 6, standing alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan, he was ‘’sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families.’’ But, he went on, he was ‘’equally sorry that people seeing these pictures didn’t understand the true nature and heart of America.’’ (Susan Sontag: “Regarding the Torture of Others”, The New York Times, May 23, 2004).

87. Régis Debray: Introducción a la mediología, Ed. Paidós, Barcelona, 2001, pp. 97-98.

88. See Gillo Dorfles: “La cultura de la fachada” in Imágenes interpuestas. De las costumbres al arte, Ed. Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1989, pp. 118-119.

89. “In the museum –which refers not only to a specific building but also to a form of apportioning the common space and a specific mode of visibility- all those representations are disconnected from any specific destination, offered to the same ‘indifferent’ gaze”. (Jacques Ranciere: The Emancipated Spectator, Verso, London, p. 69).

90. Michael Sorkin: “See you in Disneyland” in Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space, Hill and Wang, New York, 1992, p. 216.

91. “The Louvre, the Louvre of the kings, the Louvre of the Commune, the Louvre of the Republique will become an element –an element among other elementspart of a gigantic beach-resort”. The last Xanadu, the dream of a “stately pleasure dome” for today’s Kublai Kan” (Jean Clair: Malestar en los museos, Ed. Trea, Gijón, 2011, pp. 43-44).

92. “If the Christians were “pilgrims”, that is, strangers on the earth, because their homeland was in heaven, the adepts of the new capitalist cult have no homeland because they dwell in the pure form of separation. Wherever they go, they find pushed to the extreme the same impossibility of dwelling that they knew in their houses and their cities, the same inability to use that they experienced in supermarkets, in malls, and on television shows. For this reason, insofar as it represents the cult and central altar of the capitalist religion, tourism is the primary industry in the world, involving more than six hundred and fifty million people each year. Nothing is so astonishing as the fact that millions of ordinary people are able to carry out on their own flesh what is perhaps the most desperate experience that one can have: the irrevocable loss of all use, the absolute impossibility of profaning. (Giorgio Agamben: Profanations, Zone Books, New York, 2007, p. 84-85).

93. “Everything must be sacrificed to the cohorts of the industrious deaf and blind who listen to the catechism on their headphones and look in the video screen at the reflection of what they see and will never see. Under the pretext of democratic efficacy in the management of heritage, the pandemonium of shopping malls becomes the ideal of the museum. One of the strange areas of calm and reflection that the State has known how to preserve in the very heart of civilization from efficacy is covered by the tide of affairs”. (Marc Fumaroli: El Estado cultural (ensayo sobre una religión moderna), Ed. El Acantilado, Barcelona, 2007, p. 260)

94. “The very nature of the tourist experience is ‘aesthetic’: understanding the word in its etymological meaning of sensibility and receptiveness (Greek aisthesis), in the common meaning (referring to everything that has to do with art in general) and even to the very properly artistic meaning (the experience of art). The tourist is in search of sensations above and beyond any utilitarian interest, and looks for these experiences for pleasure, to ‘have them’ and to enjoy them” (Yves Michaud: El arte en estado gaseoso, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mé- xico, 2007, p. 155).

95. “Antoni Miró offers us his particular vision of the museums he has visited. He approaches the artistic institution as a visitor but, at the same time, he expresses his experience through his paintings, recounting his own experience. We encounter a new kind of mirror games, of reverse gaze, of convergence of interests and interpretations combined between the observer and the observed. The operation has constant impacts. Us, as viewers of Miró’s works, situate ourselves in a redirected environment, as we may see the same works again in a museum”. (Ricard Huerta: “La ciudad y el museo” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, Trobades amb la Col·leció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, p. 105).

96. “Miró is only a painter of paint, what I mean is that his work is not a mirror along a road, but a mirror along a museum of mirrors; he has a subtle way of revealing and taking the road that most interests him” (Raúl Guerra Garrido: Esto no es un ensayo sobre Miró, Girarte, Villena, 1994, p. 40).

97. “The situation has changed awfully because in the era of globalization and, particularly, of the globalization of the universal poor (is there another one?) anything is possible”. (Wences Rambla: “A propósito de “Sense títol”, la nueva serie plástica de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, p. 36).

98. Jacques Lacan: “La función de lo bello” en La Ética del Psicoanálisis. El Seminario 7, Ed. Paidós, Buenos Aires, 1988, p. 283.

99. Georges Bataille: The Accursed Share, Zone Books, New York, 1991.

100. “Most contemporary photos only reflect the “objective” misery of the human condition. One can no longer find a primitive tribe without the necessary presence of some anthropologist. Similarly, one can no longer find a homeless individual surrounded by garbage without the necessary presence of some photographer who will have to “immortalize” this scene on film. In fact, misery and violence affect us far less when they are readily signified and openly made visible”. (Jean Baudrillard: “Photography, Or The Writing of Light”).

101. “Statistically, the homeless have been around longer than post-modernity. Before the emergence of the postmodern as a social type, though, the homeless were called ‘drifters,’ ‘bums,’ ‘tramps,’ and ‘winos,’ never ‘homeless,’ Now that these kinds of people are beginning to have a certain symbolic significance as ‘homeless’, when one utters the word, the point is that one is supposed to be able to congratulate oneself for having a home. But without a simultaneous hygienic suppression of any capacity for dialectic thought, this word ‘homeless’ is potentially dangerous in use in the postmodern community, the community that invented it. It brings up a series of potentially embarrassing questions: If you have a home, who owns it? You? The landlord? The bank? Are there written and/ or unwritten rules which restrict the kinds of things you can do in or with your home? Can you knock down the wall of your apartment to make the room bigger, or pound a nail in the wall to hang a picture? Can you paint the exterior of your house barn-red? And what about your relationship to those with whom you share your home? […] What is the difference between the single man sleeping on the subway grate and the recently divorced woman who would rather spend the night almost anywhere but in her empty condo? (Dean MacCannell: Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers, Routledge, London, 1992, pp. 109-110).

102. Dean MacCannell: Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 111.

103. Zygmunt Bauman: Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, McGraw-Hill, Berkshire, 2005, p. 80

104. “Installing and promoting order means performing the job of exclusion, by enforcing a special regime upon those meant to be excluded, excluding them by subordinating them to that special regime” (Zygmunt Bauman: Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, McGraw-Hill, Berkshire, 2005, p. 107.

105. “Besides (in economy), abundance is by definition a positive imbalance. It is a concept born exactly for such reasons and it should not be applied in societies where the victory over the inadequacy between means and ends has been proclaimed. Sahlins adds: ‘This is the era of hunger unprecedented’. Rousseau said: Without luxury the poor would not exist”. It is necessary to insist on the fact that poverty is not defined neither by the quantity of assets at hand nor the inadequacy between means and ends, but by a man-to-man relationship. “Poverty is a social status”. (Remo Guidieri: La abundancia de los pobres. Seis bosquejos críticos sobre antropología, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 1989, p. 101).

106. “Unneeded, unwanted, forsaken, -where is their place? The briefest of answers is: out of sight. First, they need to be removed from the streets and other public places used by us, the insiders of the brave new consumer world”. (Zygmunt Bauman: Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, McGraw-Hill, Berkshire, 2005, p. 116).

107. See Pierre Bourdieu: “Site Effects” in The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society, Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, 2000, p. 129.

108. Erich Kästner quoted by Walter Benjamin: “The Author as a Producer” in Understanding Brecht, Verson, London, New York, 1998, p. 97.

109. See Pierre Bordieu: A Middle-Brow Art, Stanford University Press, Palto Alto, 1996, p. 26.

110. Ricard Huerta: “La ciudad y el museo” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, amb la Col·lecció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, p. 108

111. “Acting out is related to repetition, and even the repetition compulsion -the tendency to repeat something compulsively. This is very clear in the case of people who undergo a trauma. They have a tendency to relive the past, to exist in the present as if they were still fully in the past, with no distance from it. They tend to relive occurrences, or at least find that those occurrences intrude on their present existence, for example, in flashbacks; or in nightmares; or in words that are compulsively repeated, and that don’t seem to have their ordinary meaning, because they’re taking on different connotations from another situation, in another place”. (Dominick LaCapra: Writing History, Writing Trauma, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, p. 142).

112. ““When he looks at out history, Miró takes sides with the defeated, but he does not give up, he remains angry and ironic and puts a mirror in front of the winners so that we can all bear witness of the fetid ugliness of their skulls”. (Isabel-Clara Simó: “Presentación” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 251).

113. “Miró has painted, engraved and sculpted our history, the most earliest and the latest, and has left his stamp on the institutions who were lucky enough to work with him. And he never put aside his deep convictions, the purest of sociopolitical activisms; he fought with the most beautiful weapons one can possible use, his methodical and patient work; he never gave up his artistic voice –he keeps the other one to himself-, he tried to awake hidden feelings in the people and he is determined to help his country recover its identity in these difficult times”. (Armand Alberola Romà: “Antoni Miró: arte y compromiso solidario” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 254).

114. Isabel-Clara Simó: “Presentación” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 251.

115. “But far from exhausting the references used by the painter in an artistic meta-language, the iconic universe of Antoni Miró is direct, powerful, taken from a daily struggle with reality; a repertoire of images with return tickets, for through an artistic and ideological contextualisation –and in this sense we must emphasise the consistency of the artist throughout the whole of his trajectory- he returns to us all that iconographic ensemble reinforced in its power, reach, and signifi- cance; works reinforcing reaction, achieving their goal of bringing an edge of discomfort to the conscious”. (Juan Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: “Antoni Miró. Una intensa trayectoria” en Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, p. 12).

116. Raffaella Iannella: “La realidad onírica de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, 70.

117. “Sometimes everything resembles a dream. The mystery inhabiting dreams. And in this case Antoni Miró, after Joseph Conrad, proclaims: We live as we dream. Alone. But silence, we are certain, can inhabit the hidden magic of slow hopes and it is an audible resource for the men, also for Antoni Miró, if we now listen to the warm voices of feeling and to the determination of reappear”. (Josep Sou: “Las ciudades del silencio” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 278).

118. Josep Forcadell: “Historia de un tiempo y de un país” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 261).

119. José María Iglesias: “Antoni Miró: la realidad transcendida en imágenes” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 23.

120. “Heavenly are the aerodynamic bicycles riding over limpid beaches, under beautiful skies, which make us think in an utopian world without pollution” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 23.

121. “The artist questions the whole notion of progress. In this series, without renouncing his fierce uncompromising criticism, a more elevated poetic and lyric stance may be detected through mechanical and articulated objects –bicycles– which have been metamorphosed into an illogical world, moving between reality and fantasy. And placed within a stage setting of natural spaces, now explicitly referenced, they have been turned into a surreal organicist figuration through the relational interplay of truth and falsehood”. (Juan Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: “Antoni Miró. Una intensa trayectoria” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valencia, 2003, p. 10).

122. “The wheel is an archetype in a way, a most-used Antoni Miró image. The wheel is a limit to polysemy, it strung the whole «culture-archeology», traces of sacred subjects: Buddha’s wheel, celestial chariots’ wheels, the wheel related to sunsigns, Nietsche’s […] wheel rolling by itself - Superman, the wheel of avantgarde legend - the bicycle wheel of Duchamp, having started the circuit of the ready-made genre, returns by a wheel from far outside the picture boundary to discover the surface of revival from Lethe paintings”. (Valentina Pokladova: “Ramas y raíces” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, p. 86).

123. “We cannot and do not want to forget that he is an artist who works to conquer through his task the necessary crumbs of beauty required to let others see his determination: to be a whole man, to be committed to his society in a reasoned and precise way. His is not a conventional beauty, we contemplate the work of someone looking at his life with his eyes always focusing on the human condition” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 280).

124. Joan Maria Pujals: “Antoni Miró” in Volem l´impossible. Antoni Miró. Antológica 1960-2001, Casal Solleric, Palma de Mallorca, 2001, p. 11.

125. “Erotic Suite’ by Antoni Miró is a tribute to a character of archaic beauty marked by a complicated striving of the modern mind and the conviction that all versions have equal rights, and new variations replace canonical ones, bringing splendor and variety into Weltbuilt”. (Valentina Pokladova: “Ramas y raíces” in Antoni Miró. Una intensa trajectòria, Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, 2003, pp. 83-84).

126. See Jean Baudrillard: “Shadowing the world” in Impossible Exchange, Verso, London, 2001, p. 153.

127. Jean Baudrillard: “The Conspiracy of Art”. The Conspiracy of Art: Manifestos, Interviews, Essays, Semiotext(e), New York, 2005, pp. 27-28.

128. “His is, in other words, a deconstruction-reconstruction process aimed at the configuration of a new anthology of pictorial images, which will increase their polysemous charge as they are extracted –through ingenuity and a skillful use of combinatory resources- from their original context to be placed in an entirely different one. A work of iconic intertextuality with which Miró has managed to raise the level of metaphorical or metonymical sagacity. A task of reformulation or, better still, of decoding/recoding, which brings to the fore a marked feature of Miró’s versatility, extrapolating, altering, reusing, metamorphosing, dislodging… to immediately begin to recompose, to resignify… through the new linguistic codes he has drawn up”. (José Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: “Otra mirada sobre la obra artística de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 45)

129. Allan Kaprow: “The Education of the Un-Artist” in Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1993, pp. 106-107.

130. “Shovel for the snow/ as a precaution against a broken arm’: if we agree to domesticate our repetition spirit, this little exercise of mental gymnastics that we can practice on the street, alone or lost in the crowd, we will be able to understand 60-65 per cent of contemporary works of art. Such program is usually preinstalled in most our modern brains and we do not even need to repeat the exercise” (J.-P. Delhomme: Art Contemporain, Ed. Denoël, París, 2001, p. 8.

131. “As a reply to the diversity of civilizations, conceptions and uses of art, contemporary art has approached ephemeral rituals, corporeal ornamentations, decorations, pyrotechnic procedures, theatrical or religious performances and even floral arrangement art”. (Yves Michaud: El arte en estado gaseoso, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2007, p. 20).

132. Joan Maria Pujals: “Antoni Miró” in Volem l´impossible. Antoni Miró. Antológica 1960-2001, Casal Solleric, Palma de Mallorca, 2001, p. 11.

133. “The grotesque world seemed to match the vision of the world experienced in a state of delirium” (Wolfgang Kayser: The grotesque in art and literature, Columbia University Press, 1981).

134. Mikhail Bakhtin: Rabelais and His World. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1984, p. 47.

135. “The unity of perspective in the grotesque consists in an unimpassioned view of life on earth as an empty, meaningless puppet play or a caricatural marionette theatre”. (Wolfgang Kayser: The grotesque in art and literature, Columbia University Press, 1981).

136. “Our old and traditional term “serial” […] has been replaced by the Americanism “soap opera”, which may be useful to imply the never-ending quality of these pseudo-dramas that go from the insignificant to the sinister, from the sinister to the grotesque and from the grotesque to the boring”. (José Luis Pardo: “Ensayo sobre la falta de argumentos” in Nunca fue tan hermosa la basura. Artículos y ensayos, Ed. Galaxia Gutenberg, Barcelona, 2010, p. 99).

137. “It is not necessary that the mechanism be readily identified as‘art’, given that art is no more than an effect. The work has been erased to make way for experience, erasing the object to make way for a volatile, vaporous or diffuse aesthetic quality, sometimes with a laughable lack of proportion or, on the contrary, with an almost tautological equivalence between the means deployed and the sought-for effect. A pandemonium of objects can give rise to a unique and fleeting comic effect”(Yves Michaud: El arte en estado gaseoso, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2007, p. 32).

138. “[Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi] began the study of autotelic behavior and experiences of absorption like those of chess players, or music composers, mountain climbers, of specialists in art, extreme sportspersons, etc. Based on experiences described by their protagonists, it seemed possible to group them under the generic term of flow experiences, because the people questioned used the word flow continuously to describe the state of effortless absorption in an activity that comes from within, that develops freely, a kind of sphere independent from conscious life” (Yves Michaud: El arte en estado gaseoso, Ed Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2007, p. 136).

139. [...] we must seriously address the infantilization of art today, not only because it threatens to trivialize a whole cultural space which should be characterized by reflection, analysis and creative maturity, but also because it forms part of a generalized childishness of society that points to a fairly stark future: citizens gradually lose the capacity to take responsibility or stand up for their rights and fulfill their duties. Instead of the supposed rebelliousness of world youth, we see conformism, their acceptance of the dictates of producers for consumerism”. (Elena Vozmediano: “Arte en la edad del pavo” en Revista de Occidente, nº 333, Madrid, Febrero, 2009, p. 61).

140. “It is like the more beautiful a work of art looks, the less work of art it seems, when the art is scarce, the artistic expands an covers everything in color, going from a gas state to a steam state and clouding everything with steam. Art has evaporated into aesthetic ether, remembering us that ether was defined by physicists and philosophers after Newton as a subtle medium that pervades bodies. (Yves Michaud: El arte en estado gaseoso, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2007, pp. 10-11).

141. David Le Breton: Antropología del cuerpo y modernidad, Ed. Nueva Visión, Buenos Aires, 1995, p. 194.

142. “Man bites dog’ is a classic examples in journalism. And the sentence is greatly indebted to some way-too-modern premises: the binarism natural/civilized, the exceptionality of a simple break from routine; a sense of the event which today seems naïve. In the postmodern era such principle was replaced by a different system, which could be summarized like this: “Belgian citizen bites homosexual dog”. […] Such headline might attract the attention of some subscribers, but the ultimate headline of our era would be the following: “Dog Biters Club sets a new Guinness World for bites”. (Eloy Fernández Porta: Homo Sampler. Tiempo y consumo en la Era Afterpop, Ed. Anagrama, Barcelona, 2009, pp. 262-263).

143. Slavoj Zizek: How to Read Lacan, http://www.lacan.com/zizhowto.html.

144. See Javier Montes: “Crisis de mercado, arte y “valores tóxicos” in Revista de Occidente, nº 333, Madrid, Febrero, 2009, pp. 104-112.

145. “In contemporary art, we encounter often brutal attempts to “return to the real,” to remind the spectator (or reader) that he is perceiving a fiction, to awaken him from the sweet dream. […] in theatre, there are occasional brutal events which awaken us to the reality of the stage (like slaughtering a chicken on stage) Instead of conferring on these gestures a kind of Brechtian dignity, perceiving them as versions of extraneation, one should rather denounce them for what they are: the exact opposite of what they claim to be – escapes from the Real, desperate attempts to avoid the real of the illusion itself, the Real that emerges in the guise of an illusory spectacle”. (Slavoj Zizek: How to Read Lacan, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2007).

146. “In the winter of 2001, the US Defense Department announced the quiet, not say furtive, creation of a new Office of Strategic Influence (OSI). Placed under the control of the Under-Secretary of Defense charged with politics, Douglas Feith, this information operation, a veritable ‘Disinformation Deparment’, was tasked with the diffusion of false information designed to influence ‘the hearts and minds’ of a terrorist enemy, itself just as diffuse…”. (Paul Virilio: El accidente original, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007, p. 18).

147. Susan Sontag: “11-9-2001”, The New Yorker, 24 September, 2001

148. “There is a pole of reactionary investment for art as well, a somber paranoiac-Oedipal-narcissistic organization. A foul use of painting, centering around the dirty little secret, even in abstract painting where the axiomatic does without figures: a style of painting whose secret essence is scatological, an oedipalizing painting, even when it has broken with the Holy Trinity as the Oedipal image, a neurotic or neuroticizing painting that makes the process into a goal or an arrest, an interruption, or a continuation in the void. This style of painting flourishes today, under the usurped name of modern painting-a poisonous flower and brought one of Lawrence’s heroes to speak much like Henry Miller of the need to have done with pouring out one’s merciful and pitiful guts, these “flows of corrugated iron”. (Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1983).

149. “It is rhetorical to say that after such an extensive career the plastic language of Antoni Miró has evolved although, in my opinion, there certain identifying aspects that have remained intact in his work, inhabiting and making it recognizable: his Mediterranean spirit, the defense of a cultural and national alternative and his social criticism, denouncement and rebelliousness”. (Armand Alberola Romà: “Antoni Miró: arte y compromiso solidario” in Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 253).

150. “And his [work] has been defined as a painting of awareness because the does not limit himself to self-reflection and looks for a aesthetic or ideological involvement of the people staring at his works. Probably for that reason he is prone to schematism, to the simplification of artistic resources, to borrow elements from art history, cinema, comic, advertising, television that help establish a dialogue with the viewer; Miró looks for interaction with them because his works are an answer to repetition, and a lamentation or scream to alert them because he is a painter of ideas who knows how to combine ideological content and plastic expression in order to find a particular balance, a constant characteristic of this work”. (Daniel Giralt-Miracle: “El Llibre dels fets de Antoni Miró” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 264).

151. Floriano de Santi: “El ojo inquieto y alegórico de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. La ciutat i el museu, Trobades amb la Col·lecció Martínez Guerricabeitia, Universitat de Valencia, 2005, pp. 89-90.

152. “Television pictures of fighting in Vietnam and on riot-torn streets in America were “packaged&rrdquo; by broadcasters in ways designed to lessen their shock effects on audiences. By the late 1960s, a new style of news presentation had become the norm. It was initially known as “Happy Talk”. In Happy Talk news, stories are no longer simply read out by a single newsreader, but integrated with an atmosphere of TV studio cheerfulness; friendly banter between presenters; improvised pleasantries about sport and weather; and the tactical use of a closing item on some up-beat heartwarming tale of “human interest”. This style reduces any potential sense of critical disruption in social affairs by integrating disturbing pictures and information with a contrived atmosphere of normality. When the first exchanges of fore broke in the Gulf War on Wednesday 16 January 1991, President George Bush watched them live on television along with 160 million American viewers. It is said to have been the highest-rating event in American television history. (Toby Clark: Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1997, p. 117).

153. “In a luminous essay on Toni Miró titled Diàlegs, published in 1989 by the San Telmo Museoa in San Sebastián, Romá de la Calle wrote: “by using historical myths, Antoni Miró intensifies in his own terms their demystification to move from irony, as a catharsis, to the critical action as a parallel and insurmountable goal of the aesthetic experience. In my understanding, the fragment perfectly describes one of the multiple sides of this artist, who aligned himself with social realism and committed to the problems and achievements of his era. His interest in the past originates in that commitment because he knows that it is the past that shapes the present. Hence, history has a prominent role in the work of Toni Miró. He looks at it in a critical way –sometimes adding strong doses of irony, other simply bitterness- to comply with the cathartic function mentioned by Romá de la Calle”. (Emili La Parra: “La guerra” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 265).

154. “Art is not a mere reflection of reality, art takes sides for or against something. Art is indeed a mirror but it is neither inert nor inanimate. It does not have the objectivity of a scientific instrument because it not only observes but also participates. Art does not exist without a passionate implication in the depicted reality. The notion of reflection is an imperfect definition of such artistic participation” (Ernst Fischer: “El problema de lo real en el arte moderno” in Polémica sobre realismo, Ed. Tiempo Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, 1972, pp. 104-105).

155. “And the fury, which is almost imperceptible, although very present in the never-said words, slips through the extremities of his paintings, his works, always so perfectly painted, so carefully executed, so exquisitely illuminated”. (Josep Sou: “Las ciudades del silencio” en Antoni Miró. Històries (de la nostra història), Museu Universitat d´Alacant, Alicante, 2010, p. 278).

156. “Antoni Miró opted for a direct message transmitting a radical denunciation of current and historical irrationalities. Antoni Miró has successfully focused his acute gaze on subject matters impossible to overlook by an artist of his kind: the disasters of war, the primeval passions of violence, the blights of individual and collective misery, the aberrations of racism, the confusion of alienation, the urgency of social emancipation, the unbalances derived from dehumanisation, the Machiavellianism of those who manipulate, the paranoia or schizophrenia of dictators, the yearning for cultural or national independence, the brutality of aggressive capitalism, the immortality of imperialistic colonisation… Hence his art has been labelled as political, conceived to gnaw away at widely accepted positions of self-complacency. An art made to disturb, imbued with a critical spirit and revulsive meanings. In short, a denunciatory art filtered through what has been called “awareness-raising painting”. (José Ángel Blasco Carrascosa: “Otra mirada sobre la obra artística de Antoni Miró” in Antoni Miró. Antología, Ed. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante, 1999, p. 43).

ANTONI MIRÓ

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