Unfortunately for Nina we didn’t go and see Mirror Mirror this afternoon. Instead we went to see the Joan Miro exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a lovely day out. An excellent walk in rolling Yorkshire hills punctuated by works of art of outstanding beauty and it does have to be said, some sheep poo. But it just adds to the charm. There were even lambs flocking around the car as we went to park this afternoon. We have been many times and with diverse sets of friends and every time we find another previously undiscovered corner to enjoy as well as visiting all the old favourites. The park is the perfect combination of nature and art.
But today we were there for the Joan Miro exhibition. After a quick trip to some of our favourite pieces such as the rusted iron HA HA bridge, a bridge of rusted iron with the letters HA HA cut out of both side, and the beautiful smooth granite egg sculptures. I am afraid they are both so tactile the children love to climb on them despite the signage asking you to desist. In our defence the signage is quite obliquely placed, it is so subtle and far away from the corresponding sculpture it took us a few visits to even notice they were there. In some cases it is also rather misleading. This is our favourite:-
A little further and we were into the Miro sculptures. They were amazing. Very elemental. I know nothing really of Joan Miro except he was from Spain, was working around the time of the Spanish Civil War, and that his paintings were very colourful with those broad black strokes and his use of primary colours and shapes.
The inspiration for his work comes from the earth. His experiences of his family’s farm south of Barcelona had a profound influence on him. He said himself “It is contact with the earth that enables me to fly”. And he wanted his work to be shown outside. I think he would have approved of this exhibition. I wondered if there was another place on earth so suited to show his work.
There were about 10 to 15 pieces outside. They were unpainted bronzes. The figures abstract but always appealing. The children could see similarities to much loved Aardman and Pixar characters. I am sure to an art connoisseur this is tantamount to blasphemy but thought it said much for the universal appeal of his work.
There was an extensive collection inside includes some of his most famous pieces, the Sun and Moon Birds. The bronze looked more like wood, it looked like it should be warm, it was hard not to reach out and touch. Many of the bronzes looked like me in a bad mood sniggered Nina and Harry and this became a great game to compare the abstract forms in front of them to a cross me.
But reading about the themes I was stuck by the perception of the children’s remarks. Miro dealt with male and femaleness, with fecundity and creating life. Miro would also describe his sculptures as “phantasmagorical monsters” so I think those descriptions of me before my tea in the morning were really rather accurate!
There were some of those world-famous paintings there too. Seeing them on a wall half hour’s journey away from my house nearly made me cry, it was so thrilling.
The final room of the exhibition went into his working life and techniques. I was very taken with a quote about life under the Nazis. He thought he was “done for” that he would only be able to draw in the sand or make pictures with cigarette smoke. An evocative image in itself and I was a little jealous too if I am honest, jealous of a creativity that would find a way or method of expression, no matter how enormous the obstacles put in its path.
The exhibition is on until January 2013 and I would heartily recommend it.