Friday, 30 October 2009

Miro 'Painting' 1926

Miro Peinture (Painting) [formerly Dark Brown and White Oval] 1926 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The soft brown space is misty and suggestive — almost suffocating, like a smoke cloud — and segmented by diagrammatic dotted black lines, creating a transparent cubic depth. Into this are placed the objects that float freely both in depth and across the flat surface. The white oval is a jokey face, moon-like and childish, the other blob a yin-yang symbol or half-lit planet. One mass is tethered to a solid black weight, the other in unsupported orbit.

This simple composition generates multiple oppositions: The vague brown area, dimensionless and boundless, is trisected by the Euclidian space of the dotted lines along the traditional three fixed axes; the happy white face-balloon, which floats upward, is restrained by the sombre black mass which gravity pulls downward; dark and light meet with large and small, solid and vaporous, occupied left and almost empty right, white full moon and black crescent moon. The complexity of the painting, which is not immediately registered, emerges only through study.

The contradictions allied to the ambiguities give the painting a delicate weight.