Joan Miró’s colorful mosaics: Designed to be walked over

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

Joan Miró – Wall of the Barcelona Airport, 1970, earthenware, 10x50m, Terminal B, El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain, image: public domain

Published: March 24, 2017

Last updated:

Joan Miró’s four mosaic pieces in Barcelona

If you have ever been to Barcelona, you must have walked over one of Joan Miro’s mosaics. In 1968 he made a pledge 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 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 meters in length and 5 meters 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.

Nine years to restore the mural

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 spent.

Location

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. 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.

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

Joan Miró – 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain,
photo: eric, 2010-08-24 PM Ramblas – Joan Miro, CC BY 2.0

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

Joan Miró – 1976, ceramics, Pla de l’Os, Barcelona, Spain, photo: Claudio, Mosaico Mirò sulla Rambla, CC BY 2.0

Woman and Bird, Barcelona

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 travelers arriving into Barcelona. This particular artwork is to be found in the main train station in Barcelona and was unveiled in 1983.

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

Joan Miró – Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), 1982, Barcelona, Spain, photo: public domain

Palacio de Congresos de Madrid
Joan Miro – Wall of the Conferences and Exhibitions Palace of Madrid, 1980, stoneware, 950 x 5950 cm, Palacio de Congresos de Madrid, Spain

Joan MiróWall of the Conferences and Exhibitions Palace of Madrid, 1980, stoneware, 950 x 5950 cm, Palacio de Congresos de Madrid, Spain, photo: Palacio_de_Congresos_y_Exposiciones_(Madrid)_01.jpg: Luis García (Zaqarbal) derivative work: Sir James (talk), Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones (Madrid) 01-2, CC BY-SA 3.0

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

Joan Miró – 1979, ceramic, 10 x 55m, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany, photo: public domain

Wichita State University campus

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.

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 Miró – Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People), 1977–78, venetian glass and marble, 8,02 x 15,88cm, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA, Brent Danley from Saco, ME, USA, Personnages Oiseaux (1978), CC BY-SA 2.0

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

Joan Miró – Mur pour David Fernández Miró, 1983, Parc de la Mar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, photo: Alinea, Miro, Palma, CC BY-SA 3.0

All images by Successió Miró unless otherwise noted.

 

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