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January 15, 2012

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Home » Feature » Art and Culture

Hoping Miro outdraws Picasso

AN exhibition of prints by surrealist Joan Miro (1893-1983) - who once declared "an assassination of painting" - is underway at the Shanghai Art Museum through April 3.

Nearly 170 prints covering nearly five decades of the Catalan painter's work are exhibited in "Illusionary Reality, 2012 Miro Print Exhibition."

The painter, sculptor and ceramist is known for vivid and bold dreamlike, or delirium-like works that deconstruct traditional images and sometimes send elements reeling n space.

In early 1995, a Miro exhibition titled "the Oriental Spirit" was exhibited in Shanghai and there were many visitors but some were disappointed since they could not interpret Miro's art at that time, says Zhang Hong, spokeswoman for the museum.

Since then, Western modern art and concepts have become more familiar to the Chinese mainstream which still has fixed ideas about aesthetics but is more accepting of unusual work.
However, the Picasso exhibition from October to January drew merely 300,000 visitors - a low turnout blamed both on lack of knowledge about contemporary art and the remote location of the show in the China Pavilion of the Expo site in the Pudong New Area.

The Miro exhibition is organized by the Shanghai Art Museum and Shanghai Shimao Holding Group, which bought the whole collection from a Japanese collector last year.

"The works exhibited here are chosen from the best of the best" in that collection, Zhang says.

Born in Barcelona, Miro attended both business school and art school. He began working as a clerk when he was a teenager, but abandoned the business world and took up art after suffering a nervous breakdown.

His early art, like that of the early Fauves and Cubists in Barcelona, was inspired by Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh.

In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s, Miro expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society; he famously declared an "assassination of painting" in flavor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.

"The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I am overwhelmed when I see, in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun. There, in my pictures, tiny forms in huge empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains - everything which is bare has always greatly impressed me," he said in 1958.

Date: Through April 3, 9am-5pm
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Tel: 6327-2829


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