The Serralves Foundation inaugurated the exhibition Joan Miró: Signos e Figuração, in the renovated Serralves Villa, whose restoration work was led by Álvaro Siza Vieira. The Miró Collection comprises 85 artworks by the Catalan artist and is deposited at the Serralves Foundation as a result of a protocol established with Porto City Hall.
Owned by the Portuguese State and loaned to the Municipality of Porto for 25 years, the Miró Collection spans six decades of Joan Miró's career, from 1924 to 1981, including paintings, sculptures, collages, drawings and tapestries, constituting an excellent sample of his work, which also reveals its complexity and the author’s main artistic concerns.
At the official opening ceremony, the prime minister recalled that choosing the city of Porto to be the faithful custodian of the Miró Collection was due to the fact that it is a “global city”, with the capacity to exhibit the works of the Catalan artist. “I am pleased that it came to fruition and from this city to the world for new discoveries”, he stressed.
"We chose Porto because we understood that it was crucial that an asset of this nature should effectively be in the hands of a city that, due to its dynamism, its history and the strategy it had for its own development and internationalisation, could value, as others would hardly do, a collection of this nature”, declared António Costa, at a ceremony also attended by Ana Pinho, chairman of the board of directors of the Serralves Foundation.
The now inaugurated exhibition - Joan Miró: Signos e Figuração, brings to light the complete collection acquired by Portugal and follows on from the completion of the renovation and adaptation project of the iconic Serralves Pink Villa. In charge of the project was Siza Vieira, the first Portuguese Pritzker prize laureate.
Exhibition highlights the aesthetic side of the Miró Collection
Joan Miró's exhibition does not follow a linear format and those who expect a chronological plot from it will be disappointed. “My criterion for this extraordinary collection was aesthetics – I wanted it to be as beautiful as possible”, said, quoted by Lusa, Robert Lubar Messeri, curator of the exhibition.
Hence, the works were grouped by themes, such as “fascism and the Spanish Civil War”, where “you can feel the anger in the paintings”, but also taking into account “the development of Miró's sign language, the wild paintings, the social protest, the treatment and metamorphosis of the figure”, said the exhibition's curator.
Among the particularities of the exhibition, which opened last Saturday to the public and can be visited until March 2022, a there is also the transposition of the conservation work, usual behind the scenes in any museum, into the frontline.
Joan Miró (1893—1983) was one of the great “form-givers” of the 20th century, having challenged the traditional limits of medium specificity. Miró’s art communicates across mediums: painting engages in a dialogue with the artist’s drawing practice; sculpture speaks to Miró’s woven objects; and collage – the yoking together of disparate entities – functions as a master principle through which the artist mined the depths of the real.
The collection from the former Banco Português de Negócios (formerly BPN) was about to be sold by the Portuguese State. In 2020, it was listed of national interest, in an order that recognised its logic, in terms of the expression of Joan Miró's artistic output.