Milking stools, clay toys, driftwood and shells are some of the objets trouvés on display at London’s Mayoral gallery. They form part of the recreation of the late Joan Miró’s studio, just outside of the Mallorcan capital of Palma.
Everything, from the paint-splattered tile floor to a ‘primitive’ stone wall (specified by Miró so he could ‘be like a prehistoric cavemen and daub it with graffiti’) has been painstakingly recreated by Mayoral and Elvira Cámara, director of the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Mallorca. Dotted among the half empty tubes of paint, rags and brushes are 25 canvases, created in the 1960s and 70s, after the peripatetic Miró had settled in the studio. Says Camara: ‘The studio, designed by Josep Lluis Sert in 1956, bears witness to the artist’s final creative stage, and sees the culmination of his brilliant human and artistic process.’
‘Grandpa didn’t fear death or failure, only repetition,’ says Punyet Miró. ‘Today, galleries are a bit repetitive, so we wanted to reinvent the exhibition concept, to magnify the sensation of being in the presence of the artist.’
It works. Sitting in the artist’ favourite rocking chair under a Mediterranean sun made of palm fronds, Punyet recalls being guided around the studio by his grandfather when he was ten. ‘He was very strict about letting family in; he used same dripping technique as Jackson Pollock, and would pour buckets of paint on to canvasses on the floor, first black, then red, yellow, green and blue, then he would hang them without stretching them first.’
Seventy per cent of the works are for sale, among them the famous Femmes V and Punyet Miró’s favourite, two black figures painted onto cardboard and separated by a piece of rope. Created in 1977, two years after the death of Franco, it’s a comment on the lack of freedom and expression in 1970s Spain. ‘It took him a day to create, but a lifetime to make,’ says Punyet. ‘The physical activity one day, the psychological, 70 years.’