IT was a collection of work which attracted the largest visitor numbers in Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s history.
The first major UK exhibition of work by Jauma Plensa at Yorkshire Sculpture Park closes next Sunday, January 22.
The Spanish sculpture’s work brought a record 200,000 people to the park since it opened in April – so how does the YSP follow it up?
With another big name UK debut exhibition, of course.
The first Joan Miró exhibition of sculpture will debut at the YSP, starting on March 17 and running until early January 2013.
It mirrors the Plensa exhibition and YSP hopes it will draw crowds and inspire in the same way.
Spanish-born Miró (1893-1983) once said of his work: “When I’m living in the country I never think about painting anymore. It’s sculpture that interests me.
“May my sculptures be confused with elements of nature, tree, rocks, roots, mountains, plants and flowers.”
So what perfect place to host it than the YSP, set in 500 acres of 18th century landscaped grounds and indoor galleries.
The Miró exhibition is in collaboration with the artist’s foundations and family.
With key works set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire landscape, the exhibition will fulfil the artist’s belief that “sculpture must stand in the open air, in the middle of nature” as well as providing a rare opportunity to experience the repertoire of this iconic Catalan artist.
While celebrated for his paintings, Miró strove to “destroy painting” through an art form that transcended the two-dimensional plane.
He produced around 300 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works, the majority within the later part of his career. Though generally less known and critically examined than his painting, the artist came to view sculpture as equally important to his practice.
Born in Barcelona, sculpture became increasingly central, most notably from the 1960s to his death in 1983.
The YSP purpose-built Underground Gallery will host Miró’s “phantasmagoric world of living monsters”, tracing the evolution of sculpture as an element of Miró’s practice from 1946 through to 1982.
The works will relate to monumental works for the open air shown in the gardens beyond the gallery’s impressive glass concourse.
Among the collection is small smooth-finished bronze sculptures such as Oiseau Solaire (1946), through to the raw bronze constructions of found objects (including mannequins, dolls, rustic vessels, discarded cans) made consistently from the 1960s onwards to the highly-coloured, painted bronzes of the 60s and 70s.
By casting everyday objects in bronze, the artist demonstrated his insistence that his work must engage with something real and recognisable – “free of tricks or grandiloquence, a direct art.”
Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, Miró’s work increased significantly in scale.
He was completing major commissions such as Lune, Soleil et une Etoile (Miss Chicago) 1981, located in the Brunswick Building Plaza in Chicago.
The YSP exhibition provides the rare chance to experience a significant collection of Miró’s large-scale outdoor works usually seen only at the artist’s foundation and estate in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.
Works in the exhibition are being loaned by major collections including Fundació Miró, Barcelona; Successió Miró, Mallorca; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.