Composition avec des cordes

  • 1950
  • Joan Miró
  • oil, plaster, rope on canvas
  • 123,5 x 103 x 10 cm (incl. lijst)
  • Location VAM, B0, 04, 00
  • Acquired in 1960
  • Inventory number 336

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The background of the painting 'Composition avec des cordes' by the Spanish artist Joan Miró consists of areas of colour applied in thin layers which partly merge together. Miró placed some sharply defined figures on top of this. These figures were partly left “open” and were partly coloured in with black or brightly coloured paint. In addition he attached pieces of rope to the canvas with large daubs of white glue.

Miró divided his time between Paris and the area of his birth, Catalonia, from 1919, and was introduced to Surrealism in 1924. The Surrealists were very interested in the role of the subconscious in creating a work of art. Some worked with écriture automatique, while others expressed curious images from dreams in great detail. In Miró’s painting the shapes and colours of the background seem to fan out across the canvas in an uncontrolled way, but the carefully designed and precisely coloured figures come from a meticulously constructed imaginary world. The pieces of rope are similar to these figures in terms of their shape. The ragged ends correspond to the thin, shifting, radiating splurges of paint.

Virtually all Miró’s work is populated by creatures who resembled humans or animals. In terms of the form they originate from objects in the Catalan landscape such as stones, shells, gourds, holes in rocks or weathered wood. Miró turned these organic but lifeless starting points into living creatures by adding eyes or feet. He explained: “My people are subject to the same simplification as my colours. Simplified as they are, they provide a more human and lively effect than if they had been represented in great detail. If they were detailed they would lack the imaginary life which makes everything larger.” After 1940, Miró started to experiment more with different materials, leaving the expressive strength of the material to dominate.

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