If you have ever been to Barcelona, you must have walked over one of Joan Miro’s mosaics. In 1968 he pledged to create four pieces of art that he would donate to the city of Barcelona where he was born. They were installed in prominent places such as the airport as well as the center of Barcelona’s Rambla, where he permanently incorporated his work into a pavement.
What all of his mosaic works have in common
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.
Miró not bothered by wear & tear
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.
All mosaic murals
Miró’s Wall of the Barcelona Airport, 1970
Another notable Miró mosaic is located at the Barcelona Airport, Terminal 2. It is easy to spot because it is inevitably the first thing travelers step on when they get off 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 meters in length and 5 meters in width, was completed in 1970. A ceramicist friend of Joan known as Josep Llorens Artigas, with whom he collaborated on various projects in the 1960s, helped him put the mural together. Joan would spend a lot of his time creating the robust mosaic, but some unexpected details occurred at the kiln, which fascinated the two friends.
Nine years to restore the mural
Such details take a lot of time to preserve that have made facelifts of the various art pieces rather time-consuming. For instance, the airport mural took a record 9 years to restore, but the outcome is worth every second spent.
El Prat Aeroport, Terminal B, 08820, Barcelona, Spain
Pla de l’Os, Barcelona
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. In line with the artist’s style, the mosaic comprises circular forms to represent the cosmos and depicts entry into the city through the sea. Like his other works with 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.
Woman and Bird, Barcelona
The Woman and Bird statue is the last work of art done by Miró in the series that he had purposed to welcome travelers arriving into Barcelona. This particular artwork is to be found in Barcelona’s main train station and was unveiled in 1983.
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.
The Wall of the Moon (La Luna), UNESCO building, Paris
Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Spain
Other ceramic works & murals in Spain, Switzerland and the USA
All images by Successió Miró unless otherwise noted.