Visit Miró’s Mallorcan studio in London

It’s already receiving great reviews from press, and tomorrow, the recreation of Miró’s famous Mallorcan studio opens to the public.

Joan Miró, born Joan Miró i Ferra in 1893 in Barcelona, is considered one of the pioneers of surrealism, being one of the first to employ the automatic drawing technique that lead to his familiar surreal, hallucinatory style. The Bowman Sculpture gallery in London is hosting the recreation/exhibition put on by the Mayoral gallery in Barcelona; which aims to recreate the large studio Miró inhabited in his later years until two years before his death in 1983. This year, in fact marks the original studio’s 60th anniversary.

His studio in Mallorca was designed in the 1950’s by his friend, the Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, whom Miró had been friends with since Sert designed the Spanish Pavillion at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition (for which Picasso painted Guernica) – Sert would go on to become the dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. The studio, which opened in 1956, is cavernous, almost luxurious – but this exhibition explains why any struggling artists out there can’t begrudge him the luxury he eventually afforded. Miró spent his early days in Paris in great poverty; his biographer Roland Penrose insists his early surrealist, psychedelic paintings were not brought on by drugs, but extreme hunger. As Miró himself wrote in an article (that is on view at the recreation), he was so poor when he first moved to Paris as a young man, he could only afford to eat once a week and survived the rest of the days eating nothing but chewing gum. Also, it is to be noted, he didn’t build his big studio in the much more expensive avenues of Paris where he found the studios “tiny cubicles where I could hardly turn around”; having absorbed as much of the atmosphere as he needed, he made the decision to move and get more space instead  (and this was during the time of Franco, when art and really all culture was aggressively suppressed in Spain).

In the London recreation of his studio, as well as paintbrushes, splatterings of paint, old chairs, correspondences and replica mugs; the atmosphere would not be complete with out some of Miró’s works. Here, they are on display as if freshly painted, still on their easels. The artworks selected are from his later years in the studio.

The exhibition has special insight into the artist and his studio, as it has been curated by Elivra Cámara, the former director of the Pilar and Joan Miró foundation in Mallorca.

For all of Miró’s ground-breaking pieces, his grandson Joan Punyet miró says “my grandfather was a primitive poet, who also always liked to recall that art had been in decadence since the cave men.” Which could explain the stone walls.

The recreation runs from 21 January – 12 February.

N.B. At the odder end of the scale of Miró’s collection of items, that is not in the recreation, is the mummified corpse of his cat, which still hangs from a wall in the room where he found the pet dead after accidentally locking it in…