On a pamphlet I find this quote: ‘I don’t see how one can write without several rewritings. I never read my works after they come out in print, but if my eye ever catches an occasional page I always think that this passage ought to be turned that way, and this idea needs quite different wording.’ Sounds familiar!!!
Last week in strong contrast – I visited Joan Miró’s beautiful 50's studio outside Palma on a quiet day when I felt he had just walked out of one of its brightly painted doors.
It's an airy space filled with honey-coloured 50’s furniture, trestles, tables, easels and a large bentwood armchair. A stone wall at the back of the room is laid out like honeycomb. His overalls hang over the banister, brushes stand leaning in china bowls and I can almost smell the turps on the rags that lie about. Paintings are stacked everywhere and pinned up on the walls are notes and sketches curling at the edges. On a table top is a pine cone, a majolica bowl, bits of rock, some glass bottles and a metal pencil sharpener with a winding handle screwed to the table.
The air seems permeated with the essence of the man. I’ve added another layer to the Miró I know through paintings and from his sculptures at the Fundació Joan Miró Museum on the hill above Barcelona. William Faulkner’s conviction that the writer’s duty is ‘to help man endure by lifting his heart’ comes to mind. My heart is lifted not by a book (although also by a book – because I was reading Per Pettersen’s Out Stealing Horses) but by a calm, airy artist's studio in Palma.
Up on a higher level under bent pines and past huge argave plants there’s another studio – an older terracotta-plastered farmhouse with a beautiful studded double door. On the walls are rough drawings of sculptures that will later emerge.
In these past few days of political chaos, calm is not such a bad thing. Perhaps we can hold on to this great encompassing spirit that Miró seemed to possess, where he reached out and engaged with everything in the world – encompassing and not turning away from it.
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