Art Lives: Joan Miro [DVD]
Joan Miró (1893 - 1983) is one of the most important artists of the 20th century and a key figure in the Surrealist movement. Theatre of Dreams is a sensitive profile of the great artist, written and narrated by his long-time friend Roland Penrose, and directed by Robin Lough.
The documentary touches on many of Miro’s most important works, beginning with The Farm from 1921. In this painting Penrose identifies several of the prevalent symbols in his friend’s work: the ladder, women, birds, the sun dominating a clear blue sky.
The film goes on to explore Miro’s innovative use of scale in his paintings, notably The Farmer’s Wife (1924), as well as the importance of the unconscious and dream imagery. This concern with the subconscious, and invocation of magic, lead to comparisons with cave painting and an age when, according to Penrose, to be a painter was not to be a ‘slave to representation’.
The 1930s see a darkening in his work, which can be linked explicitly to the deteriorating situation in Spain and the rise of the far right across Europe.
It was in Paris, in 1937 that his The Reaper was exhibited alongside Picasso’s iconic Guernica. Miro returned to Franco’s Spain only after the war was over, but just as World War II was beginning. His sense that we live in a ‘monstrous age’ continues to the time of filming. ‘I am by nature tragic,' he says, 'and if there’s humour in my work it’s involuntary.’
The footage of Joan Miro, fingers splattered with paint, in conversation with Penrose, is a fascinating glimpse of the mind of one of the greatest 20th century artists.
No. of discs: 1
Studio: Illuminations Media
Run Time: 78 minutes
Online Price: $27.95