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The artist facing the mirror

Josep Sou

«May your wisdom be the wisdom of gray hair,
but may your heart be the heart of candid childhood »

Friedrich von Schiller

Every gallery of illustrious characters, and perhaps widely illustrated by their head hagiographers, intimidate visitors. You have to put on guard to defend yourself of so much sublime gaze, of so much reproach from the severe frame of the portrait that limits the area as a private hacienda, fed up with profits that have earned the glory ... This was once common currency, relic to transfer to posterity, with particular characteristics that have been converted to keep the memory of the greatest, or of the most significant, or of the richest, because we can find everything in outmoded days, faded by the dark patina of reverential dust ...

We could be talking about any dedicated room, from an imaginary museum, to the emblematic figures that posterity has given us, for example, of their own behaviour, and of others as well. And surely it will be like that, or it has been throughout the time that painting has guaranteed the immortality of the great men of history. And sometimes it seems like sarcasm, because the "illustrious" in question did nothing remarkable. And if we look at everything regarding the scope of the portrait within the painting, we can conclude that what is truly essential shies away from the conventional gaze, hiding inside the unfathomable intimacy of the spirit in the portrayed character. A kind of trip or trajectory in the morality and the determining character of the celebrity itself.
Well, the artist Antoni Miró, far away from defraying the human victory of the characters he has chosen to paint and give, allows us to work inside, from his point of view, the cordial human matter of his characters. And, little by little, in these brief lines that we will be building, we will try to explain the reason for this positioning: as rational as emotional. Nothing is in vain in this industry of the portrait, with different ways of carrying out the work, even when the technical approach occurs in a reliable way.

There is a great deal of morality, of contact, of empowering noble causes, of need to confess from whom are the lessons that good men have dictated throughout the history of their vital vicissitudes. Apart, of course, from the example that has meant for so many generations to understand how they have been kneading the world with the attentive rowing of the earth. Or let's say, complicity. And the artist Antoni Miró is placed "facing the mirror" to say of the others in a clear affirmation of opposites, or is prepared to perform an eloquent magic trick : the characters talk at all times of life, of infinite lives that the diversity of works can satisfy. So the painter captures the inside of the voices, makes them his own, and as he suffers from his enormous fragile sensibility, he allows their takeoff to the summits from the frame of his painting, from his exquisite material existential. The reverberation of the image, of the images, is of such magnitude that we make with them, through the hand of the painter, a communion full of traces of dignity and love. Of pure recognition by the height of trajectories that speak, and tell us in the ear, the last truth in the indelible cause of men pontificated by goodness.

And realism is another thing to keep in mind: realism where neutrality seeks the benefit of audacity. That is to say, the external appearance of the characters reflects the truth of the behaviours, because the photograph or the impressionistic mark, deposits the precise drops in the glass of recognition of the merits.

They are not, this gallery of characters, the ghosts who have come to visit us to intimidate with their severity, no. These characters give us, because that's what the artist wanted, their amorous condition of humanity. And their look, from the frame of the painting, confirms the generosity of the lived life, and assures us that the artist dignifies them and achieves with a frank hug, to make us transfer his hopeful creative work. In the end, it was worth the effort. Surely, he opens a communication channel that guarantees the participative relationship between the main characters and the citizens who come to make transcend, even just a little, the reflections that history entrusts. And all with a certain degree of silent perseverance, of attainment of the principal voices, of a fragrant way of living in the complicity of the dictates that wisdom seeks. A luck for the artist, and a great luck for all of us. Well, rejoice in!

And when we talk about the representation of morality, the true and also real spirit of the characters, is that we think on the evidence of a behaviour growing on the banks of humanity, expressing the willingness to belong to the fraternity of delicate men: "Behaviour is a mirror in which each one shows his image", says Goethe. And the artist already tries to harmonically put in contact the verisimilitude between the representative image of the character, and the pietas that illustrates his background; the legacy that has reached all of us, and that continues reaching us, of a clear social commitment that enhances the merits for the distinction. Sometimes, everything is a question of neighbourhoods that are structured along paths that only the artist recognizes. Maybe.
And as we said in previous lines, perhaps for Antoni Miró the voices of his characters, now ours too, are a kind of company for learning, so loved and appreciated by the painter, and for the particular growth of his life. Of all these characters, men and women who have struggled to make their condition of humanity profitable, as we have already said, Antoni Miró has taken the specific lesson that has been provided by the tissues of his wisdom, or by his life experience. All at once: "the advice of a friend is like the generous wine in a golden cup," admits Solon. And of generosity, if we speak now, it is not necessary to make a great effort to signify the behaviour of the painter in this sense: with his characters, he even gives us his feeling, his particular vision of the world and of the things. Is a greater generosity possible than this? Can one be more generous than, appealing from the infinity of one's own thought, showing us which are the paradigms of his personal human condition? This is true of generosity and cleanliness when he comes to marking his individual position within the world to which he belongs. The artist "facing the mirror". Again. As a constant in his work, in this, and also, in all we know.

Thus, and advancing little by little in this little reflection, we would like to show how the characters that are conjugated in this verb as precise as it is to love, are legitimate cause of the harmony of the artist, because as points out V. Hugo: "the mountains have always made war on the planes." And the characters who live today, yes, live in the geography of the portraits, have always been effective combatants faced with the defection of the human condition. Reasons are in sufficient quantity to highlight such claim. It is enough to review, even for a short time, the preaching that has been present in the lives of our characters. As they have raised their voices, and have helped others to rise, in order to mark the position standing up to the challenges of daily living. And it has not been easy, on the contrary it has been a very daring existential foundation. The path, the various ways they all have crossed, have known the ineffable footprint of the days of heavy rain. And the painter with his credible impressionism wanted to experience the transfer through the mirror of his privileged look. As we said, luck for all of us. A gratifying experience that comes with the recognition we make of the complex lines of history, and of the people who write a large part of the lines that follow. With regard. With rigor, and of course, with the help we are so grateful for.

And everything leads, now also, to nourish hope. Neither the paradigms, nor the free paths, nor the shared positions, almost nothing, are possible without an iota of hope that helps us to merge in the mirror that feeds the multiplication of the impressive images. Men and women who have served as balance first, being the engine to start and move the wills, and lately to carry out the collegiate march. A strategy that is reinforced through the mirror that the artist has polished to build his scope of modernity. From the 5th century B.C., they were already making portraits that appeared in the coins of legal tender, all twinning economy, pride of power and diverse dignities. Now, in this irreducible modernity that presides the work of the artist Antoni Miró, the hope for the best, to a great extent, still remains to come, and constitutes a vast territory to build a legacy, yes, that of his enormous work, but also to identify men with their collective identity; with them, with men, also all those who have been a committed guide, take root: work, study, reflection, creativity, civility at last ..., amorous condition of humanity. “Hope is the flow of life. When there is no place for hope there is death”, as says Jorge Guillén. No, but when we talk about hope as something without clear information substance. As something that lives in the vicinity of deep knowledge of things. On the contrary, we think of it as a joy that gives us an anticipated enjoyment of the future. A hope, now, that becomes quite elementary to compare, without reservations, the challenges that life proposes to us. A hope that makes us move. And as A. Maurois would say: "it is not enough to have spirit. You also have to have enough spirit to avoid having too much”. And the characters know, all of them, the meaning of the word, or the abstract concept of hope. It cannot be understood, tightened, or adjudicated by Royal Decree. Hope is, perhaps, a condition to make renunciations impossible. The characters, also the person of the artist Antoni Miró, generate hope from the irrevocable vocation of making a way, and within the important marks of freedom. And it is without conditions, nor arbitrary justifications of resignation before the demand of humanity. Now yes, perhaps, a precondition: non-renounceable philanthropic condition. And all polished by the hand of an artist who lives twenty-four hours over twenty-four hours a day, embraced by the noble wood of hope that affects the most intimate place of his existence. And as we have already pointed out in other reflections, all the work carried out by Antoni Miró, was made by the hand and by the spirit of the experience. In numerous occasions, it coexists with the vital trajectory of the characters he paints, confirming a high degree of knowledge that allows him to enter the character of the human beings he wants to bring us. A kind of speech narrated from within, or from the mirror, to outside; towards the contemplation of those of us who are present in the room of miracles, where the reverberation of the personality of the characters, now, also identifies all of us. Because we believe in the hope of a collective discovery in a universe where culture, and the freedom to exercise it, are the driving force of our human condition: "the use makes metals shine", intervenes the poet Horacio.

What we also see and recognize in the portraits of these great characters, is the force they ooze, admiring the buzz in Antoni Miró's brushes on the canvases where he rewrites history: the past and the most recent. Because of that we can also talk about, just a little, in this reflection that we are making today,  of the proposal of the artist Antoni Miró. And we guess the force because it lives within the faces of the illustrated characters. The effective look of the artist fades the dangers of melancholy in favour of retaining strength in the character of the portraits. The position of the characters is spilled out in order to ensure us direct contact. The mirror where the artist looks welcomes, also, the universal look of the receivers. A kind of meta-language to gain the possibility of understanding the origin, and the results of the journey, in this miraculous time of common existence : the exhibition hall, the artist's previous hand, the condition of visitors sheltered in the intimate falls of the confidences. And the force transpires in the closed way of exhibiting the plane that recognizes the character, now pictorial. Of living flesh, and also of memory: "be firm as a tower, the summit of which never twists to the onslaught of time," says us, now, Dante Alighieri. Thus, neither before, nor now, nor afterwards, the time that passes will be sufficient cause to replace our knowledge, our learning, as Antoni Miró did, anticipated from memory, and from the example of those who have lived, and live, to nourish the hours of men with hard hope, in the caustic conformity of living discreetly.

We feel, however, the need to say, very strong and now, that we live in a kind of inner gratitude, granted by the contemplation of this splendid gallery of characters. On the one hand because we recognize ourselves in the mirror of the artist, on the other so that we are given the voice to raise it in frank commitment to the history that every day, at the same time, we go through: "if you give a benefit, never remember it ; if you receive it, never forget it”, and we, as Quiló advises us, never want, nor can we, forget the benefits received by the audacity that culture means in these characters. Their struggle deserves rest in the eyes of the painter. Their combat, throughout life, is well worth remembering in the look, in the mirror, of all of us. A kind of caring convergent gathering, but without strident fifes that chant fallacious vanities. Now, in this gallery, in this mirror that recovers the discreet memory of the valuable characters that we contemplate, the elementary music of sincerity overflows the magic form of our love. Antoni Miró paints. He does it like someone who writes in the glossy pages of a history book, ancient and modern at the same time, to say and comment to the men who will come, that their time, our time, has been fantastic in the cultivation of fertile dignity . In the effort to build the magical city of the prodigies: amorous will of creation and recreation in the basic and elementary language of culture. And why? Because: "the only duty we have with history is to rewrite it," the wise O. Wilde will say. So Antoni Miró, asserting his consciousness of "art worker", in the stubborn expression of aesthetic communication, determines that his universe is anchored between the capital walls of his studio in Mas Sopalmo . And he lives the insistence of the creative necessity with the intensity in the formal search of his spirit, of his condition of humanity, as we said above. And reformulates every day this primordial value to obtain, if not answers, at least renewed capabilities to ask fundamental questions. Yes, because the task of the painter, with his constant learning, and reaching the voices that structure his own animated discourse, is insinuated through a vehicle full of questions, sometimes without answers, but filled with curiosity, and of need of paying tribute to the will to study: "the self is not something that is, but something that will be. It is a task”, says Kierkegaard. And indeed, the self of Antoni Miró is in a state of permanent construction, because his task, that of building a universe, which today passes through this gallery of characters, is always left to fire, beating in long nights of work and reflection. The characters dictate advice to the ear, and the painter gives them the benefit of complicity, and also of the ironic smile and the pleasant mood. As we said, it is a luck for the artist. A luck for us too, as we look through the glass of a mirror that welcomes glances, reflecting a lot of iridescent words.

There is, however, a clear harmony between the lives of the characters we visit, thanks to the creative power of Antoni Miró, and the painter's own. We could intuit a common denominator: freedom. Freedom to work, despite setbacks and miseries, in a society anxious for lack of references. The other, the painter, to go permanently towards this value, and that insinuates inviolable within his work, unmistakable mark of his creativity: by the voice that powerful rise among the rubble of a thousand spasmodic silences, and by the honesty at the time to propose the evidence of its formal and discursive universe. A luck, also now, when we say : "freedom is that faculty that increases the usefulness of all other faculties", argues I. Kant. Freedom as a tool, where creativity means an instrument in favour of such a noble cause for life. Freedom as a means to resolve the conflicts that provokes such complicit silence. The characters know the tool, and have put the means to make possible the strength of hope that, now, we remember in our modest reflection.

We also consider that our characters are, also, our wise men. Those who write in capital letters the mysteries of profound knowledge: language, literature, history, politics, dance, art, social and civic commitment ..., issues that never close the doors of life, as life, or full existence , is inscribed in the books of the universal desire: "all the earth remains within the reach of the wise, because the homeland of a high spirit is the universe", says, the also wise, Democritus. And of high spirits, of creative generosities, and of manifest fidelities to the own and thriving culture, the gallery of the characters that illustrate us rest fulfilled. And it is Antoni Miró who speaks for them; who, looking at the mirror, anticipates the images that dominate his sensibility, because: "the pride of the great consists in never talking about himself", as Voltaire affirms. As the painter, the generous artist, takes the floor, raises his voice, and through an inexhaustible mirror of infinite glances, emits the judgment of affection and recognition. Yes. Because at the end of words live dreams. Dreams that scare away unlikely monsters. Dreams that embrace just causes to reduce the tragedy of men. And because the dream particularizes the reality of the artist. The dream is own, is pleasant, and it is desirable. Always. The dream helps to behave the past days, the present ones and those that will come. A kind of safe-conduct to make the experience of living passable, and to facilitate the sweet future: "the dream is independence," says and assures Gérard-Henry Bauer. It elevates the condition of humanity, all looking at the creative horizons. Because dreaming is the food of wise men, who very quickly, taking the horns of difficulties, take advantage of the spur to raise the candles of curiosity. The voyage remains attentive when the boat advances by the communal effort and: “let each one surrender to the practice of the trade he knows the best”, insinuates the old wise Cicero.

And, why everything? Well, to populate the fragile bridges that guarantee a safe passage, or almost, and to lead the steps that we inevitably have to do. And the artist knows it well. To occupy bridges is, also, to listen to the voices that speak of loyalty to the principles, with firmness and probity. And integrate the voices is to build images, portraits if we want, that identify pride and belonging. Or simply a fragment of life: "to live is to be born at every moment", proclaims Erich Fromm. Antoni Miró pushes the wheel of admiration and transfers the will of its admirable corpus to us, to make it our own.