Sunday, August 12, 2018

Miró Lithographs: Vol. II: 1953-1963 First Edition Edition by Raymond Queneau (Introduction), Joan Miró (Artist)(Ediciones Poligrafa)

As regards my means of expression, I try my hardest to achieve the maximum of clarity, power, and plastic aggressiveness; a physical sensation to begin with, followed up by an impact on the psyche." — Miró

Miró's line recalls Picasso's in clarity and power; the Catalan's "plastic aggressiveness" led him, as it did his Andalusian friend, to bold, successful experiment and innovation in ceramics, sculpture and printmaking, especially lithography. The lithographic print medium suited and encouraged the artist's lifelong, often radical, obsession with stripping art to the marrow. The 40 plates reproduced here sample the pith of his lithographic production — a series produced in 1944, full of the eerie images and droll distortion he had sought on canvas for decades.

"It's never easy for me to talk about my painting," wrote Miró, "since it is always born in a state of hallucination induced by some kind of shock, objective or subjective, for which I am not personally responsible in the least." Miró hallucinates on stone for these prints, filling them with monstrous beasts and one-eyed aliens adrift in a heaven of moons and stars and black nebulae, floating breasts and generative organs. These lithographs were executed shortly after finishing the famous "constellation" series of paintings (called by one critic "the most intricate, most elaborately developed of all Miró's compositions"), right around the time his mother died and he fired his first ceramics in collaboration with Artigas. Falling in a period of intense creative mingling of whimsy with the grotesque, these prints characterize an important juncture in Miró's career. They also enlarge the boundaries of lithographic technique as they simultaneously show Miró, now "stripped" of his brilliant colors, to be an equal master of black-and-white.

This book contains the prints of lithographs made by Miro' first produced in 1944, at the time of World War II. The illustrations are all black and white - some forms are quite whimsical, others reflect the influence of Picasso and surrealism. Though Miro's works usually contained bold colors, these works are all the more pwerful for the tonal values of black and white.If you are interested in art, especially of the Surrealist Movement, this is a great place to start.

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