Colorful artworks: Designed to be walked over

Joan Miró - 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain detail
Joan MiróWall of the Barcelona Airport (detail), 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain

If you have ever been to Barcelona, you must have walked over one of Joan Miro’s mosaics. The artist began to publicly display his work in 1976 when he chose the centre of Barcelona’s Rambla to permanently incorporate his work into a pavement. This was in fulfilment of a pledge he had made in 1968 to create four pieces of art which he would donate to the city of Barcelona where he was born. The use of different colors in the mosaic brings out the vibrancy that is his style of art. All the artwork that is associated with Joan Miró speaks the language of simplicity; generous use of color and simple shapes. More than four decades after his first outdoor work of art, the works of Joan Miró located in various parts of the world are enjoying facelifts of massive proportions.

For those who grew up in Wichita or attended the Wichita State University campus, the past is reclaiming its space. The mosaic which was made in France was shipped to the United States in 1978. When the restoration was handed over to a conservation service, their focus was to not only restore the original glamor but also retain the integrity of the artwork. Since the piece was an outdoor structure, it disintegrated due to high winds, lightning, thunder, and fluctuating temperatures.

Another notable Miró mosaic is located at the Barcelona Airport, Terminal 2. It is easy to spot because it is inevitably the first thing travellers step on when they get off from a flight. This is a great orientation to visitors coming to the city for the first time and rightfully so because the large mural made up of ceramic pieces is at the entry point to the city. The airport mural which measures 9 metres in length and 5 metres in width was completed in 1970. A ceramicist friend of Joan known as Josep Llorens Artigas, who he had collaborated with on various projects in the 1960s helped him to put the mural together. Joan would spend a lot of his time to create the robust mosaic but some unexpected details occurred at the kiln which fascinated the two friends. It is such details that take a lot of time to preserve that have made facelifts of the various art pieces rather time consuming. The airport mural for instance took a record 9 years to restore but the outcome is worth every second spend.

The third of the four donations dedicated to the city of Barcelona is the Pla de l’Os Mosaic which is a symbol that ushers in visitors coming into Barcelona through the sea. The mosaic, in line with the style of the artist comprises of circular forms to represent the cosmos and depicts entry into the city through the sea. Similar to his other works which have lots of colors and shapes, this mosaic situated at the seaport is made up of round shapes in bright colors. The mosaic was commissioned and installed in 1976.

The Woman and Bird statue is the last work of art done by Miró in the series which he had purposed to act as a welcome to travellers arriving into Barcelona. This particular artwork is to be found in the main train station in Barcelona and was unveiled in 1983.

Apart from the Woman and Bird statue, all the other works of the artist were designed to be walked over in public places. This did not at all bother the artist, in fact, the reality that it would undergo faster wear and tear and thus be restored regularly, could have been inspiring to him.

Joan Miró - 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain
Joan MiróWall of the Barcelona Airport, 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró - 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain
Joan MiróWall of the Barcelona Airport, 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró - 1980, Palacio de Congresos de Madrid, Spain
Joan MiróWall of the Conferences and Exhibitions Palace of Madrid, 1980, stoneware, 950x5950cm, Palacio de Congresos de Madrid, Spain

Joan Miró - 1979, ceramic, 10x55m, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany
Joan Miró – 1979, ceramic, 10x55m, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Joan Miró - 1979, ceramic, 10x55m, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany
Joan Miró – 1979, ceramic, 10x55m, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Joan Miro's - La Lune (the Moon), 1958, Unesco Headquarters, Paris, France 1
Joan Miró – La Lune (the Moon), 1958, Unesco Headquarters, Paris, France

Joan Miro's - La Lune (the Moon), 1958, Unesco Headquarters, Paris, France
Joan Miró – La Lune (the Moon), 1958, Unesco Headquarters, Paris, France

Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas - The Wall of the Sun, 1958, 585 enamelled, painted and kiln-dried plates, 15x2.20m, Miró was awarded the Guggenheim Prize in 1958 for The Wall of the Sun.
Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas – The Wall of the Sun, 1958, 585 enamelled, painted and kiln-dried plates, 15×2.20m
Miró was awarded the Guggenheim Prize in 1958 for The Wall of the Sun

Joan Miró - Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People), 1977–78, venetian glass and marble, 8,02x15,88cm, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA
Joan MiróPersonnages Oiseaux (Bird People), 1977–78, venetian glass and marble, 8,02×15,88cm, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA, official deinstallation ceremony of the Miro mosaic, 2011
Photo: Tim Hart

Joan Miró - Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People), 1977–78, venetian glass and marble, 8,02x15,88cm, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA
Joan MiróPersonnages Oiseaux (Bird People), 1977–78, venetian glass and marble, 8,02×15,88cm, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA

Joan Miró - 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain 2
Joan Miró – 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró - 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain
Joan Miró – 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró - 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain 3 detail
Joan Miró – 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró - Wall for the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca II, 1992, Earthenware, 464 x 970 cm, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Joan MiróWall for the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca II, 1992, Earthenware, 464 x 970 cm, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Joan Miró - Wall for the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca II, 1992, Earthenware, 464 x 970 cm, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Joan MiróWall for the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca II, 1992, Earthenware, 464 x 970 cm, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas - Alicia, 1965–67, ceramic tile, 249x580cm, Frank Lloyd Wright building, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas – Alicia, 1965–67, ceramic tile, 249x580cm, Frank Lloyd Wright building, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Joan Miró - Mur pour David Fernández Miró, 1983, Parc de la Mar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Joan MiróMur pour David Fernández Miró, 1983, Parc de la Mar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Joan Miró - IBM Mural, 1978, earthenware, 280x870 cm, Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Spain
Joan MiróIBM Mural, 1978, earthenware, 280×870 cm, Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Spain

Joan Miró - Rire innocent (Innocent Laughter), 1970, Earthenware 5x12m, Osaka, Japan
Joan MiróRire innocent (Innocent Laughter), 1970, earthenware 5x12m, Osaka, Japan
Wall of the Osaka Exhibition

Joan Miró & Josep Llorens Artigas - Untitled, ceramic frieze, 1964, St. Gallen University, Switzerland
Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas – Untitled, 1964, ceramic frieze, St. Gallen University, Switzerland

Joan Miró - 1948, Gourmet Restaurant at the Terrace Plaza Hotel, Cincinnati, USA
Joan Miró – 1948, Gourmet Restaurant at the Terrace Plaza Hotel, Cincinnati, USA

Joan Miró - Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), 1982, Barcelona, Spain
Joan MiróDona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), 1982, Barcelona, Spain

 

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