Joan Miro The ladder of escape Tate Modern exhibition banner

Room 13

Miró’s whole career was marked by experimentation and this hardly dimmed as he moved into his eighties. The final room reflects some of this diversity. The astonishing Fireworks triptych – signed on the same day as Hope of a Condemned Man – seems, even in the reversal of black and white, to capture the tireless energy of creativity, the challenge to making art and even the eventual collapse of the Franco regime. Despite his age, Miró was quietly active in the intellectual opposition and a number of his works challenge the status quo. Amongst these are the remarkable Majesties sculptures made, typically enough, from found objects but on a grand scale even as their mundane and rudimentary origins undercut the grandiose titles.

Miró lived to see the collapse of the regime following Franco’s death in 1975 and the transition to democracy in Spain. In accepting an honorary degree from the University of Barcelona in 1979 he spoke of the civil responsibility of the artist: ‘I understand that an artist is someone who, in the midst of others’ silence, uses his own voice to say something and who makes sure that what he says is not useless, but something that is useful to mankind.’