Our exhibition Miró: The Ladder of Escape is now open at Tate Modern.

Joan Miro at Tate Modern

Packing a punch: Installation view of a central room in Joan Miró at Tate Modern.

Photograph: Tate Photography/
© Successió Miró/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2011

Here you can see over 150 paintings, works on paper and sculptures, including, as you may have already read in the press, five of his large triptychs which have been brought together for the first time.

Joan Miro Reunited Mural Paintings

Re-united: ‘Mural Paintings I (Yellow-Orange) -II (Green) - III (Red)’ (1962)

Photograph: Tate Photography
© Successió Miró/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2011

Miro Colorful Contemplation

Colourful Contemplation: Miró’s ‘Blue I-II-III’, 1961

Photograph: Andrew Dunkley/Tate. Centre Pompidou /
© Successió Miró/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 201

We are very excited about this exhibition - and look forward to hearing your comments. So please do post your messages on the Tate blog below. We look forward to hearing from you. Matthew Gale is head of displays at Tate Modern and co-curator of Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape.

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape is at Tate Modern until 11 September.

Comments

Maira Maria Martins

Miró, I love you!!

Eis a real pinting!

Voce assim como Matisse, e por que não Picasso? e tbm Kandink,e poucos outros; Foram pessoas que souberam dar a uma obra de arte, a verdadeira Face da pintura imaginária, do lado lúdico da vida! I, am pinting too!!! I Love vcs all. Tanks

Caroline Meyer

Whilst I loved Room 1 including The Farm and I have previously visited La Fondacion in Barcelona and Miro's workshop in Palma and enjoyed the experience, having seen this exhibition I do have growing reservations about Miro's art.

I was wondering whether the burnt canvases were the result of rage, his wife burning them during a fight or an inability to pay the heating bill!! Either way that is the sort of art where a cynic might think the lending institution might say "Oh yes do borrow them... in fact keep them as long as you like... in fact there is no need to give them back!"

Miro is someone whose drawings give the impression that he believed there was a sharp toothed monster living under his bed. But perhaps that is what he really did feel in a political sense.

I feel a growing sense of unease whenever I see art which has no skill underpinning it. When artists become so arrogant that a single black line suffices then something is seriously awry.I would like to see a general boycott of art where artists just "take the piss" as ultimately it will bring down the reputation of galleries who fail to make any critical judgment. Critical judgements are made all the time in publishing and on stage and screen.So why have galleries failed to take on that responsibility?

Georgina-Kate Adams

It took us 2.5 hours to get around Miro yesterday but by the end we really felt we'd achieved something! When I try to describe the exhibition as a whole, the word I come to is 'meaty' - we had the headsets and felt we became so immersed, in the politics, his personal development, demons, inspirations and joy. There are not enough words to describe each piece individually.

It's too hard to choose a favourite piece but his early work was fascinating. I think I could live with The Farm in my lounge for 25 years and everyday spot something new. The dog howling at the moon piece held all the charm of children's rhymes (the cow jumped over the moon) but juxtaposed with provocative darkness. The large pieces in the side rooms were incredibly calming and moving. And how I wish we could have seen The Barcelona Series when it was squashed onto the walls of a flat. What a deeply evocative site that must have been.

Thank you for an exceptional, eye-opening, rousing exhibition.

Bill Lovett

What was particularly interesting was the variety of work, from something semi-represntational semi-cubist to Pollock-esque splashes. More variety than expected, when I had heard Miro described as a "on-trick" pony.

To an extent, in later life he seemed to me the works could be described as derivative. Plain blue canvases - Rothko? Thrown paint - Pollock. And burnt painting - Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Festival??

But all brain food.

Heather

I thought the Miro exhibition was great! It's a very extensive collection and gives the visitor a good understanding of the political backdrop to the art as well as demonstrating how Miro's work developed over the years. I visited twice, the first time near the beginning of the exhibition and the second time towards the end. I have to say I got more out of my first visit as when I returned on Friday evening it was incredibly busy in the gallery. None the less, my friend and I had a very pleasant evening and the timing mean't we could also enjoy a glass of wine in the bar!

John Copeland

I was interested in how many people like myself had been to the Barcelona Museum and not been very impressed. The arrangement here seemed so much better and I found the commentary particularly useful because what really came across to me was Miro's sincerity. When an artist is that sincere about his work then what ever you think at first you have got to take it seriously and try to understand it, so in all a very be rewarding experience.

Mick Peake

I have always loved Miro's work but this exhibition gave a wonderful insight into how he developed as an artist. Despite the many dark subtexts to some of the works, my main feeling was one of joy and mischievous humour which very often made me smile out loud as I walked around the gallery.

Adrian

Probably the best exhibition I have seen at the Tate. It was well curated and was a fascinating voyage through the life, work and development of the artist. Each room offered new highlights. And though much of the work was familiar from photos, the web etc he is an artist whose work really needs to be seen in a gallery. I was especially impressed by the scale of the mural paintings, the breadth of the Barcelona series, and by the quality of the Constellations. My regret was seeing the exhibition just days before it closes as it is one that would repay further visits.

Elena

A very good exhibition that improves from one room to the next. It gives an excellent idea of Miro's art development year after year, not only in style, but also as a deep reflection of the historical and cultural situation that Spain was living through for such a long time. You sense how strong was the tie with his country and how much he loved it. From an artistic point of view my favourite rooms were the very last ones. Especially the tryptics are unique and set in a perfect space for a better enjoyment.

Denise Hambry

Second visit with a first time visitor .We enjoyed it but it was so busy with so many babies in buggies - it was very crowded & distracting....the yummy mummies seem to love it,I think it ruined it for my friend but I was lucky to have seen it the first week so quiet...

Sonia Cabrera

Es una buena exhibicion de la obra de Miro.

Victoria

I loved the Miro Exhibition and hoped that it would be extended as many of my friends and relatives did not see it and I only saw it late so I couldn't enthuse them on time. I think the fact that both the exhibition and the commentaries were very much based on Miro's life and his attitudes to the political developments in Spain and worldwide, particularly the Spanish Civil War and the 36 years of mass repression that followed, made the paintings easier to understand and appreciate. It also explained the seeming contradiction between his internationalism and his love of Catalonia. Of course there were many paintings that have an inherent beauty and appeal even without understanding them. Women and bird in the moonlight is a case in point. The addition of his sculptures, which not many people have seen greatly enriched the exhibition. Thank you for putting it together. It was a once in a lifetime pleasure.

Henk Verbrugghe

The Miro exhibition is wonderfull. What struck me most were the tryptics, especially The Blue series. The greatness of the pieces and the opposition with the three colourfull works gave me an insight in the genius of Joan Miro. The exposition ends with an explosion with the Fireworks. I was impressed.

sally

we loved the exhibition, beautifully curated - refreshing to see works displayed chronologically and with the political background succintly explained

Susan Platt

I just received the catalog. After seeing the exhibition last spring I was delighted that you are probing Miro's relationship to the intense political context in which he lived. Your exhibition is brilliant, subtle, and stunning. I will be doing a blog about it, now that I have the catalog. My recent book Art and Politics Now, Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis begins with Antonio Tapies. If I had seen this exhibition before I could have elaborated on his relationship to Miro. Thank you.

Ray Godfrey

The exhibition expanded enormously my very limited knowledge of Miro and was quite absorbing.

On my second visit I used the audio-guide and was surprised to find that images of "Fireworks" on the guide seem to represent a state of the paintings actually later than the one on the walls. On the left and area of darker grey appears as black on the guide. This could be due to photographic technicalities. On the right an area shown a black on the guide was either qhite or unpainted in the wall.

Can anybody enlighten me on this?

Brian Stanbridge

The siren that is "Morning Star" keeps calling me back to see it. And I do go back. Even managed to see the rest of the exhibition. Thank you Tate.

B S

Unlike many of the commenters here, I didn't really enjoy the exhibition. (I attended it as a Member, I do not expect I would have paid otherwise to see it).

The only pieces which I found fascinating were the triptychs. Sadly the way they were set out made it difficult to really see them - both rooms had benches full of people, and so any possible vantage point blocked the views of others. The final triptych was much better, even if it didn't have a room of its own.

Overall, I found the exhibition to be dry and uninspiring. The same few days included visits to The Vorticists at Tate Britain and Tracey Emin's show at the Hayward. Both of these were much more enjoyable, focusing less on chronology and adding much more historial and contextual detail.

Janice

Loved it - I wasn't expecting it to be as good as Barcelona because of sheer volume of large paintings there but the number and variety of works displayed here left you thinking it was a really worthwhile visit. The audio commentary entranced my GCSE and A level student daughters and made the whole thing come alive. Just one thing but not exclusive to Miro why are there so few exhibition linked products and prints in the shop?

Sally Linin

Visited the exhibition last Saturday and loved it - it was one of the best I've been to. I too found the display totally uplifting. Miro's work is joyful and brimming with life. Even though he does draw on some dark subjects, he deals with them in a way that ensures a sense of optimism. Thank you, Tate, for such a wonderful opportunity.

Anthony Davis

I do not know whether those who purchase a ticket on the day are allowed re-entry (and I have heard people in the past talking about 'doing a show' in 90 minutes because they have an art-history background), but I tend to find these Tate Modern exhibitions quite demanding, because they are so extensive and there is often almost too much to look at.

(I have seen some comments about the ticket-price: maybe the exhibitions will seem expensive if, apart from the availability of toilets (and they are not very obvious), one understands that the only time to look around is the two or three hours before needing lunch or dinner.)

If not, this is where Tate membership is a real benefit, because I am free to go off to have a coffee or something to eat, if I am getting fatigued and realize that I am no longer taking in what I am trying to look at. I can then go back into the exhibition once or twice more, or even leave the rest of it until another day.

However, in this case, apart from the Barcelona series - which I left to the end and only had time to spend a few seconds in front of each print - there was no one group of exhibits that represented a very significant amount of time needed to look at it properly. (I would say that the display-cases in the Gauguin show represent the other extreme.) Room 1 had been seen on another day, but I managed to look around yesterday in the five hours until 10.00 p.m. that I had available.

That, too, is a benefit of Friday and Saturday evenings, with the gallery thinning out towards closing time. Others have commented on the two rooms with two triptychs each (Rooms 10 and 12, although the fireworks triptych was displayed differently, and well), but it was only later that one could get a clear view of all three canvases, and I deliberately waited until past 9.30 p.m. to view them.

They were stunning, both pairs, and I will hope to see them again when the gallery is quiet, but I wondered whether they really needed a little more space to themselves, and the fact that they were back to back meant that a viewer standing away to take in one triptych as a whole, as I did, would inevitably (if there had been anyone there then) have been in the way of anyone wanting to see the other.

With an artist as prolific as Miró (and I had not been aware that he was working at his death until I saw the video, which was not in its normal place at the exit), the exhibition was inevitably selective, but it was a very good selection, not least for the Constellations series, and, again, the triptychs.

That said, including the burnt pictures but not having footage from the video that I saw displayed on a screen in Room 11, which could have showed the artist burning a canvas (and even stepping on it and leaving red footprints) was, I believe, a mistake: with the video where it is, not everyone would see it, and I consider it as of much more interpretative value to have something relevant to the creation of a series of works in the place where they are being shown.

Above all, I now appreciate that Miró related to series (and, although he is quoted as saying that two and two do not make four, he had some sort of personal mathematics that related one item in a series to the next), and also to sequence, so it was also unfortunate that the captioning in Room 7 did not more clearly draw attention to his request for the Constellations to be displayed in order. They were displayed in order, but the casual viewer would not obviously have known where to start, or (except from the date on the caption to each painting) that they were in any definite order.

Which takes me to my final few observations about the exhibition and how it was curated:

1. Unless I am much mistaken and misunderstood the footage, the curators of the exhibition themselves (shown, on the video, visiting Miró's studios, both of which he had used since 1959) confused the studios, and seemed to be saying that works created in one were the product of the other.

In any event, it would again have been helpful to understand the artist's working life to have had the history and views of the studios, and his way of working, set out in the gallery (not just references to them in the captions).

2. Inevitably, the captions to the paintings (as well as those for each room) tease out meanings, and make suggestions as to how work and life relate: the ones in this exhibition were generally suitably tentative, but, after a while, the proposition introduced by 'maybe' kept eliciting my quiet retort 'who says so?'. (What evidence is there for what the ladder imagery mean, I want to ask.)

On this level, not least when the video footage of Miró gave a very different impression of the genesis of the burnt canvases, and set his producing them in a different context, I sometimes felt misled by what was being suggested as to his motivation or meaning (Room 11, for example).

3. Finally, the fact that the chronology of his life was (as it usually is) outside the exhibition, but was essential reading to flesh out one's understanding of Spain and its history did not help. (I do not even recall a map of Spain for that matter, showing where Mont-roig and other significant places are, and not everyone has yet visited Barcelona.)

This was a particular problem where such help was most needed: I was being asked to understand the paintings from 1931 onwards against the background of what was happening, but I could not tell from what was presented to me when Franco actually gained power, or when the Spanish Civil War began and (how it) ended.

Details of that war as a whole, including German involvement and the anti-fascist movement, seemed to have been assumed to be common knowledge, which I doubt is true: information and images would have informed viewing the paintings greatly. The Phoney War was also referred to, but we were not even told (it was the anniversary on my visit) that Britain (and France) declared war on 3 September, or when Germany invaded France and The Low Countries.

Unfortunately, I end up thinking that I will have to look out texts on the civil war myself to understand better the times in which Miró was painting.

Anthony Davis

Copyright Belston Night Works 2011

Liliana

I liked the exhibition very much. Miro's symbolic language seems accessible, not so difficult to read, but it doesn't lose its power because of this. There is something very moving about the way he aligns ideas, painterly expression and mastery, and his life choices - to stay open, to respond to events, to manifest his solidarity with his roots. It speaks of utter honesty, vulnerability and power at the same time. I look forward to reading the catalogue now!

Alla Sakharova

Great exhibition and very well curated! I was there two times and wish I have enough time to go once again. What a life journey between his fist paintings and last works! Thank you!

Martin Lewis

This coherent and accessible representation of Miro's life in art has been effectively documented to disclose the social and political contexts in which the works were generated. Consequently, the exhibition as a whole (as well as the individual pieces contained therein) affords much pleasure and illumination. Thank you, Tate Modern!

Janette Kerr

Great show - particularly the last pieces of work - the triptych and the last room with the fireworks - so large and impressive and full of energy - especially when you consider Miro's age at the time of making - and the relationship of image to title makes them even more powerful. For me they were the best. Also reading of the relationship of the work to the political climate was good. Loved the long drawing - those beautiful clear lines. Was it all made it one go?

Enjoyed the film, except it was difficult to hear the conversations and I did think that the bit with the curators excitedly tracing the sites of making of some of the work by the paint marks and colours was a bit indulgent and unnecessary. And there could have been some more analysis/discussion of the individual pieces. Janette K

David R Reed

A fascinating exhibition, congratulations all round!

It was great to see Miro's early works and how he then developed his vision into a unique style which made sense to me even though, in isolation, some of his work is impenetrable (the triptych in Room 10).

Amazing that he was still creative and evolving even in his 80s.

An inspiration.

David R.

Mike Starke

My definition of art is that it should speak to us. Tate's Miro display murmured, shouted, sobbed, argued and soothed. It was most absorbing. I was particularly struck by the large triptychs, which repaid many minutes of contemplation with an appreciation of their power.

I thought Miro's response to the political turmoil in Spain in the early 20th century had an ominous resonance, and topicality, with the chaos visited on our own lives and times now.

This exhibition was a rich and rewarding experience; yet another triumph for Tate.

Ronny Day

My late husband and I were great lovers of Catalonia, ita art and folklore, and have loved Miro since first seeing his paintings on the street walls in Blanes, his gift to the town. I particularly love the early works, but really enjoy the colours of all his works. I loved this exhibition.

Cristina

A wonderful exhibition, very well organized and explained. We may see, in the same room, paintings that are scatered in museums all over the world. The important thing is to adimre, feel and understand, and Tate's staff maged to make us understand Miró and his work.

The only thing I found strange is that there were no paintings from Reina Sofia Mesuem, in Madrid, which has so many Miró's. Maybe they did not lend the paintings?

Robert Fitzmaurice

An important exhibition. I don't often write about art but felt compelled to produce the following blog entry http://bit.ly/n3gfqS

Gabriel

Outstanding Exhibition,and a relevation.One of the Giants of Modernism.The Sheer beauty(A bit Vague i know) of his work seen in the flesh takes one's breath away.Tate Modern is a fabulous space.The works had enough space to breathe.I have always felt that if i was trying to convince friends about Modern Art,Miro would be one of the main exhibits for the defence.

Robin Coulson

My second visit yesterday - I am a Tate member and have found this ability to pop in and get a top up after a longer visit very useful.

I particiularly enjoyed the film playing outside the Miro - this explained a lot of the background - combining the personal and political background. With this in mind I viewed the Triptychs - particularly 'The Hope of a Condemned Man.' with renewed interest. Both my visits to the Miro exhibition have been enjoyable and informative.

Professor John ...

Very good show but some of the bigger paintings needed a little re-stretching. (Of course, I don't mean the burnt canvases!.

Prof. John

Niki Fulton

This looks fantastic. Can you tell me if it will be touring and if it may come up to Edinburgh?

julie

The exhibition was very well hung. The choise of exhibits was well considered & I enjoyed the show much more than I expected.

Gavin Gilligan

This was my second visit to the exhibition with another friend and dare I say it as pretty much an art appreciation novice I value my membership giving me that possibility to visit repeated times to gain more insight and understanding just with the viewings alone.

What astounds me is his constantly changing creative spirit right up to the end. Rather like Beethoven really. It just got better and deeper.

The historical parellels were interesting and engaging as the trauma did affect him and his work. However, though there is never enough space for the written summaries I would have liked to read more about his style and technique more than the political history.

However, that being said, thank you for bringing this collection together. Well worth while. And ultimately there was hope in the art.

izolasyon

Great exhibit. But, way too expensive, Thanks

naomi hughes

I enjoyed the first room of the Miro exhibition but the rest was not for me. Although I did like the colour ful shoe. I canot connect to his later works at all.

John Lawrie

Miro is not really my cup of tea - the early works were charming but the later ones did nothing for me at all. What on earth were the Triptychs all about? I think he was just conning us - and those who paid him for these "works"

John Lawrie

P.S.But maybe I'm just not clever enough to see what he meant!

Susan Platt

This is a stunning show that provides a whole new perspective on Miro. His political context is intense. It has been suppressed in the era of modernism and the overemphasis on his early and late work. His work of the thirties and forties are the real revelation of this exhibition. Thank you.

Jean Howell

I thought it was well curated and displayed with much thought given to the captions. I was surprised to discover that I preferred his earlier work, and was disappointed by his mural work from his stay in Palma. Whilst minimalism is my preferred method of articulation, I felt we could have benefitted from more information from Miro on his feelings of the wars.

Paul

Great exhibition. Made my heart beat faster with each room. But, way too expensive.

Michael Graubart

I found the exhibition quite overwhelming. I have seen quite a few Miro paintings in mixed exhibitions, but had no idea of the range of styles and the emotional power of so much of his work until I was able in this exhibition to follow his whole career. There is scarcely a picture or sculpture in the show that is less than a masterpiece.

The documentation on the walls next to the pictures was exceptionally full and helpful, though it would have been interesting to be told (in terms, perhaps, of dates) a little more about the direction of certain influences: the relationship to some late Kandinsky in some of the earlier rooms, the image of a screaming man or woman that relates so clearly to Picasso's 'Guernica' in a later painting, and so on.

Jane G

Excellent exhibition thanks, really enjoyed it and particularly liked the narrative that explained the political dimension.

Marilyn Sturgeon

Miró is a real favourite. I've been to the Fondation in Barcelona and to his studio in Mallorca but learned more about Miró here. The journey through his life and times was most interesting. I thought the display wall outside the exhibition was excellent as a recap. This might be the best exhibition I've visited at Tate Modern (and not crowded on a Sunday morning). The triptychs were the most visually exciting part of this exhibition for me, and very well displayed. I loved the Constellation pictures... and the Barcelona print series.

Howard Thomas

Before visiting I only had a little knowledge of Miro's work and found the exhibition very moving. I am a fairly regular vistor to Catalunya and understood some of the history of the area especially during the civil war period and this exhibition helped expand my knowledge. The audio visual guide was a wonderful addition and made the experience even more memorable.

Manish Thakur

I was in London for a week from New York, and saw the ads for the Miro exhibit in the London Underground. Am very happy I took the time out to go. First of all the Tate Modern itself is very impressive. The exhibit really encompassed all the main periods of Miro's life. And you get the unexpected bonus of great views of London

David Stansell

I was expecting to find this exhibition difficult as I generally find surrealism one of the more challenging genres for someone with my critical and somewhat skeptical mindset.

However the exhibition won me over: the humanity of the man shone through in almost every piece and I loved the expressionist / post expressionist pieces that provided a context for the progression of his style or more accurately styles.

Although he is called and called himself a surrealist I would probably also use the word reductionist; an approach perhaps necessitated by the political environment in which he found himself.

Inevitably, then, he seemed often to paint and sculpt in code. What I loved about the exhibition was that it helps the visitor tune in to parts of this code without explicitly translating it for them.

In short, wonderful, surprusing and enervating. Thank you.

Judith Gross

Probably one of the most powerful Miro exhibits I've seen so far. The gathering of the Constellations, the amazing Bleu I, II & III room make this event powerful and unique. So sad to think that very soon, many of those master pieces will be separated again, as their combination makes so much artistic sense.

Jan Lyon

Michael Graubart's responses are similar to my own and so well expressed, no point in reiterating. The scope of the exhibition provided such insight into the development of Miro's ideas and work in response to the whirl of world events which gripped Spain and Europe during his life. The notes for the exhibition were very well balanced between the biographical, personal, cultural, artistic and political. It seemed significant to be seeing his burnt canvas responses to the student protests of the the 60s as we are in deep discussion about how best to address the causes and consequences of the London Riots. Similarly I felt that revolutionary passion and the imminent overthrow of a brutal dictator resonated with Miro's compassionate response to brutality in his mural drawings and other works. I'm wondering where Libya's poets and artists are to be found and how they are speaking of their suffering. I was very impressed by the way the Gallery was hung, and as Judith Gross writes, Bleu I, II and III, made a powerful impression enabled by the set-apartness off the space provided. The day I went there was ample space to appreciate each painting and each room. I was struck by the way parents with small children were able to engage them in the works and how the children maintained concentration and curiosity.

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