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Mani-Festa and characters s/t

Josep Sou

(Actions in Antoni Miró’s painting)

”Or everyone or none. Or everything or nothing. One alone cannot be saved.
Or guns or chains. Or everyone or none. Or everything or nothing.”
Bertolt Brecht (The slave)

The world remains on fire. We are living an instant loaded with of urgencies which are pawning, all the time, by the edge of time. Everything remains, it seems, under control, but everything flows losing its orientation, and borders are no longer the same obstacles of other stream neighbour to ours. And bonfires, now, are throwing their smoke, as the bravest ones’ undisguised panic marinates the flames out of control. Yes, the world remains on fire. And we know it. We can see it every day, just when we get up in the morning, when the sleep still closes our eyes, tired of lascivious darkness and laziness. And sometimes we do not want to believe it, but it is that way. Things do not look too much well, or things look very badly, depending on how you look at it. And we will not obtain many things from the silence, as you cannot harvest from the tree when you are out of season.

And they say, those from the news that the full weight of the law will fall on top of them because those who rule have asked so. The usual ones. Whenever it had to be. The saga never hides to say because the imperial finger will render judgment when it deems appropriate. A matter of metal and frank boldness. A matter of legitimacy, they say. The tools to achieve the success in the operations will be, simply, the appropriate in similar cases: tear gases, rubber balls, leather lined maces, tanks with water cannons and paint for the betrayal of the venturesome… excluded, marginalized, or perhaps enraged. Everybody, however, is them. Men and women who occupy the streets or the avenues, as the images fed up with painful expressions flood life, which travel everywhere, so fast, by the unlikely constants of a story which must be told. In the morning, or at night, but it is worth the unequivocal effort of required solidarity to throw the fear into the abyss of misery. Radio waves and songs breathing at the background of the bright colours of the television will be able to hurt to death the guarantees in the fact of humanity, but they will never be enough poison to conquer the truth that lies at the heart of existence. This is something else related to consumption, probably, domestic. Among colleagues who trample, every day, the plot of life.

And what does to change the world mean? Maybe too many things, and perhaps very little. A matter of hope to enjoy the future? Sometimes we think about it as a need for immersion within the codes of individual research, surely not to crumble up. Others, however, reaffirm ourselves with the greatness of the ideas which, emerged from the daily provocation without too much rhetoric venial, marinate our mood in order to deal with the violence living, so trained, in the social behaviours, and so agreed in slices of misleading and dangerous reason. Nevertheless: “the duty is a god who do not consent atheists”, as Victor Hugo would say. Because what must be done, what is inevitably already part of the notebook, cannot be postponed too many days. And everything is, already, commitment. Stiff action. At least, civility. A heartbeat, as possible as cordial, which goes beyond the spheres of the daily coffee, with the primitive crumbs of responsibility.

The revolt, the need for an outcry rising, the rivers of fire in constancy ringlets, the noise in every corner of the city, the circumstantial oblivion of fear, the security of not finding fair answer to such insecurity, the constant psalms from the heart of collective tragedy …Hug Betty confides us, without reproaches “the only strength which favours us is our strength”. And we can assure it well. The force pushing us, born in an invisible sky, is the fundamental argument of the combat. Now, reality crouches on the edge of a growing fire which finishes shaping the main meat of the days of hard work. Each time a turn, but the grasshopper never stays on the floor the whole time: beaten, dejected and defeated...

Therefore it is worth to take advantage of the lessons of history. Sometimes the root embitters, living without the sun and underground, but the cutting is sweet if the air caresses it and the dew bathes it. All the days songs are made, every day millions of confusing chemistry words sprout but the result remains evident, and the show works easily: the limits for exploiting the possibilities of making plentiful gains are not established. However, the magic of the will is enough. The stimulus of audacity to raise the sticks of the flags which belong to us. The ones which visit us in victorious dreams. Like a continuum, where the yeast is no longer fantasy, otherwise the reality who rummages the backs of the artisans who have enjoyed the shade of the tree without any leaf for too long. They are the demons of the night who visit us to cross the destiny and to make the luck which haunts us profitable, now and from always. We thought it, however, far away: “Woe to those who struggle all their life! These are the essential ones”, Berthold Brecht states, all watching, from an angle, certainly inaccurate, the machine which incorporates the ethical rigor of his constant work on the will of man. Without faintings. Although the obstacles. And decided to groove the paths of victory at all costs.

Such as the artist Antoni Miró, who, with a clear will puts his action, both personal and creative, to the service of what he believes fair, and worthy, therefore, to be defended, shaping the compromise which the artwork means. Commitment, with the subtle sensitivity which characterizes his pictorial language, and with the freedom that marks the milestone of the underlying poetic speech. It is not, however, a narcissistic speech, where the poetic sign walks along the lands of an inspiration subject to the claim of its own importance, otherwise it is a paradoxical expression of the presence of the collective will in the heart of the work which shakes the demons of communicative need. Therefore, here and now, in Mani-Festa it is foreseen a commitment to the people and time. A present time which revives, with great beauty, but with constant effectiveness, all the wounds which life gives to those who do not kneel in front of the clamour which injustice oozes. And the streets are filled of metaphors, because the eccentric reading of the banners favours the rhetoric without admirations, and the man is present there, the poet, the painter, to cope with the magnitude of the combat which is being waged on the asphalt, but in the bosom of the wear and tear and of the gall flowing without possible restraint. There he remains in search of the image, to capture the thin thread which may lead towards the courage when a hand is raised against the wind... “If you add a little to a that little and you do it, so, often, it will be a lot soon”, Hesiod suggests, and Antoni Miró performs, from the friendly cloister of his room; place for the chemistry of the paintbrushes in the cause of the weakest and, perhaps, deterred. Restorer of the consciousness, from the vanguard positions, every singular action of his painting expresses the transit towards the generous agreement of the combat, where ideas rest, but they do not weaken such as the hemp after a rainy day. “...time, in its action, destroys and tears down all potency”, Plutarch asserts, and obvious gains are made when hope liberates the strength of the oppressed, all at once, maybe. Antoni Miró shows an immensely generous art, because he goes so far beyond the paint contributory brands, and he shows something more than harmony and beauty in his images, he also generates, by conviction and talent, the emotions and the sensations, which are lived at the heart of each one of his proposals. Hermeneutics which regulates the capital of the information generating the verisimilitude of contemplation. A thorough rehearsal which completes the necessary volume to be informed within everyday life. An open chronic which satisfies the need to follow the waves of solidarity commitment to the reality being played in the street, where there are humans beings. Because “A people alive, no matter how damaged it is, harvests strength and marrow from adversity”, Ibsen sums up. And indeed, Antoni Miró receives the inner order to convey an everyday world, unbalanced by the negligence of the powerful, but strengthened in the greatness and the will of the existential courage of the combatants.

And the geographies of misfortune are too open, and with difficulty we recognize the wastelands where the revolt is substantiated, although the contemplation of Antoni Miró’s works approaches to us the evidence of a fierce density, abundant and petty. The iron voices no longer play the feat of doing and undoing unhindered; now they are contributing to the spiral of violence which doesn’t stand another day of pain and vomit. The authority potency joins everywhere and pain syntagms never end iniquity. Each blows sarcasm, if we look at who pays the bills. There is blood full of misfortune and misery in the gasp of the fear policemen eyes. The soft madness of the wealthy is the fertilizer germinating the paths of the evil. One more hit and the luck slips under the door, like cold air spreading around the hot corners of history... “And misfortune ends up diminishing. Wind does not always blow from the same quadrant or with the same force”, Euripides presumes it will happen for sure. And we believe it because we also think so. As Antoni Miró guarantees, because his artwork appears as a restorative entity of the essence of creativity when he performs his images, so powerful, with the will to raise paths between individuals and society itself. Antoni Miró’s painting appreciates the depth of the message, and it radiates all the symbolic charge which the occasion demands. When the mass media are so reluctant to criticize the new values of the economy, which overwhelm and confuse everything, the extended treatment of reality, from the canons of pictorial beauty, they are chanting the truth living within the four corners of a world dripping disapprovals and dark rot. “Do not bend in front of adversity: on the contrary face it boldly, as much as your luck allows you” Virgil advises. And from a wise man to another, because Antoni Miró, who with pigments transforms reality to approach it for the benefit of the words which are not necessary to pronounce, starts the engines power which will build the tragicomedy of agitation, which shows itself physical to the fates of the slogans flying over the open roof of the debris of life. There are many images which do not give up to put the hue of the truth, of the reality which is credited after a hit from a guardian, with truncheon and visor.

But if “justice is truth in action”, J. Joubert categorizes, Antoni Miró multiplies his actions, as diverse are the commands of attention which marks the creative evidence of this intense art show which Mani-Festa means. The expressive ties of his communication are the result of the complicity which lies in the inner verse of each image presented to us. The individual fingerprints of the creative wit travel towards the collective essence, fostering from their warmth the questions which must be answered with the fidelity of the necessary demand. It is, in case we had not noticed it, life. And nothing more than life. Wasting seconds of emotion is perhaps an unforgivable failure or the weakness which overcomes the enthusiasm of following the path of the demand, or of the struggle. Despite everything. Despite everybody. As one man alone, and with a common north, because “the free man is that one who is not afraid of going to the end of his thought”, Léon Blum consents.

Mani-Festa exhibits, to almost all the proposals, a quite disturbing gaze. And it is disturbing because it records, as a panoptic on, a reality, where the vulnerability of the attendees transmits the insidiousness of the society which withers the stem of hope. A society where comedians are stalking the bellowing of compulsive clamour. And the evicted ones are the final verdict of the money cause, spoiled instance of the unfair capital which is fed up with corpses, every day, every passing moment. And Antoni Miró with both the circus and silk ties spangles cannot stop looping painting, from the night and towards the day. Without wishing to lose one’s patience, but with the strength of the icy steel of the darkness. And in the background a music never saturating senses, nor feelings, of well proven nobility by his years of silent work. “Society is not men but the union of men...”, Montesquieu comments in an almost inaudible voice. And Antoni Miró, who knows it very well, does not difficult the restoration to the evidence at the heart of his magnificent work. A mural, perhaps cosmic, is the story of a truly universal time. From north to south, and from east to west, the land is the same thing: the full pulsion to reach the sky of victory, or the corners of intimacy, which protect us, at any time, from intense cold weather, or from gratuitous violence. The wild ones, the hypocrites, the ones in the hat covered with unbearable flies, the ones with the insulting cigar and rings of self-satisfied, are seeking to be hosted at the doors of a new clandestinity: the contempt of those who agree, although horror, father of cruelty, stimulates the losers’ appetites. And that, of course, will be always a huge danger, because, as Balzac would say now “there is nothing worse than an annulled man.”

And with this chronicle of reality, with this permanent continuum of strategies to comprehend the world around us and, perhaps, overwhelming, Antoni Miró gives voice to those who have not got it. The painter starts a plural path reached from the confines of the navigational charts of existence. And truth becomes an island: “one by one, we are all mortal, together we are eternal”, Apuleius verifies. Because the ideas, shared, and spilled into the bucket of powerful action, knead a speech far from of anxious positions. They will be, we will be, within the consciousness of the summoned ones, and the light in Antoni Miró’s paintings verifies the cause of freedom. In order to say, and in order to do, from life a cause, and from fidelity to the principles, logic, this twists the arm putting the chains.

Truly, art changes the way we look at the world, and also at things. The paradigms that up to now men have served us can remain at another side of our needs, or desires. Therefore, the contemplation, the reading and later learning we do of an artistic proposal, such as that offered by Antoni Miró in his Mani-Festa, directs us to the social behaviours which must be affirmed without giving up. The land, beneath a giant’s feet, when it becomes wetland, enables the infamous slip. In contrast, there is hope in the risk of dangerous action. Maybe just a delight moment to thank, so sweet, so much vinegared courage. But the flags are facing a renovated sky, transformed by the golden universe of a day of glory. And the giant, who no longer walks easily, is sinking his knees in the murky waters of his ineffable misery. And Antoni Miró, with the secure line of his exquisite verse, but useful, drenched in colour, or in thick fog, revives the moment which, perhaps, has become a symbol, and also a victory clamour. Arguing that art, Antoni Miró’s painting, is a representation, and it will always be it, they lived time provides us with, even, the event scents. A scent involving other senses to free other feelings. A harmonious whole presenting the reality of another time in a life constant, where liturgy means, illustrates and incorporates powerful speech to the fabric of our knowledge. Painting becomes knowledge, and cause which substances frequency in the need to be present.

And Antoni Miró’s chronicle, like almost all studies delimiting strategies in defense of peoples, assures, because so we can grasp, that men are organized very well to face pain, even to fight pain, in front of the hedonistic reality of pleasure assumption. It may be a virtue it may be a setback due to the commotion implied on denying reality, also, of pleasure. But the market leaves no record of satisfaction guarantees, as the skeleton is always inside the meat. And the strength becomes chimera if the machine to overthrow the elemental will of the earth is not stopped. A man, men, nourish with shingle the facades of history, the walls of cemeteries, the squares and the streets: “only violence helps where violence reigns...” Berthold Brecht sings.

Lately, there are men and women who are, already, characters in a recognized story in the the proposal summoning us today to Antoni Miró’s painting. Humans beings where passion of living has inspired songs, also thousands of words. Constant commitment at the dawn of the first days; satisfaction for the fulfilled duty. People who are evidence and they do not think about it, because life, to a large extent, has summoned them to make profitable the plural voice, the voice of the uprising. And the mirror of the shortcomings affects the hours of easy life, but blood glitters, and it floods everything with spurs, passing through the slats of the roller shutters. So domestic. So big: “woe to you if you’re afraid”, Nietzsche sentences. And the list of acknowledgments released by Antoni Miró expresses as much as illustrates: poets, storytellers, grammarians, songwriters, plastic artists, politicians, all united by the same commitment, the building of a common history where humanity entrusts us the inexcusable duty of freedom. And we collect the pledge of hope from Salvador Espriu’s verses, or Alberti’s verses, or Fuster’s verses or Estellés’s verses, but from the rounded lyric, all uppercase built, from Valls’s, or from Jordi Valor’s, we win a space at the infinite sea of the vocation of belonging. When Ovidi sings, he is always a constant in Miró’s universe, emotions cling against the too often invisible walls of injustice. Isabel- Clara, full of mysteries, of caresses, of exigency, lives on the flowery balcony of a spring which will never end. Gades and Sol Picó dance, no matter the name of the theatre stage, because life has offered them the opportunity to excite the depths of time: forms are released in the capture of the days of pleasure and passion. The discourse transitted by ethics of a plenty life where combat commands thunders, at every step we make, at every look we have from this neighbour horizon we are watching: Allende, Ché Guevara, Marcos, Puig Antic, Companys, Jara, they are, already, from Antoni Miró’s canvas, pure life. The life we imagine within the daily bustle, apart from the hermeneutics twisting the hand of the perfect behaviour naturality. The life we understand, when we go into the voice reconstructed from the new presences helping so many to live. A large portrait gallery, which Antoni Miró builds from his inside, because he has sensed them, he has lived them with complicity, he has transhumanced from the night at Sopalmo farmhouse, sheltered under the metallic light in the hardworking study. Images, all of them, which are not images, as the scent of the painter’s will and the calm virtue accompanying them, feeds the intimacy given to us. We know, of course, the classical substance of all the components of the gallery, but we enjoy the vertigo implied on going beyond time; crossing the border of existence to win the caress of a sunset where the sun delivers fantastic. Having become loving.