So anyone who knows me knows that, in general, I am an avid disliker of cubism. There are exceptions but overall, not my cup of tea. Now you see for my birthday, my family was super awesome and got me a whole truckload of art history stickers. My birthday is so close to the holidays that, me being the great gift wrapper I am, used some of these stickers to make my gift tags. All was going well, until my brother had the NERVE to imply that I gave him a cubist sticker when it was CLEARLY abstract surrealism (one of my more favored modern movements). So this entire blog post is just about that piece, to prove to him that I would never do such a thing to someone I care for so dearly. 14-year olds…what are you supposed to do with them??? As the oldest sibling, it is my duty to properly educate this kid.
The piece that I painstakingly chose for him was Carnival of Harlequin, painted by Joan Miro in 1924-25. Now tell me, do you see anything remotely cubist about this? Am I missing something?
In this piece, Miro does a fantastic job of somehow visually representing the human subconscious, and in the same breath critiques the brain in its harsh interpretation of memory versus reality versus imagination. When I look at this fantastic painting (with MAYBE three cubes if you squint) I think it really conveys how the brain claims to compartmentalize, but in reality we’re all just electromagnetic mush. It’s one of those things that I feel like I could always remember what it looks like but Miro proves me wrong every time. Seriously, though, scroll to a different tab and reconstruct the painting in your mind. Come back and look at what’s actually there. Never once have I been right, never once have I gotten everything. But maybe my memory is just bad.
Miro perfectly illustrates the amount of chaos that goes on in the subconscious mind in order to create a single cohesive thought, especially a creative or poetic one. I like to think that this is what my brain looks like on a good architecture day. There is such a playfulness to it, but also an innate sadness that I think only creative minds can really grasp. Look, I never said that the surrealists weren’t pretentious just like the rest of us.
I would love to have a “Where’s Waldo”-esque book but instead of Waldo it’s a collection of Miro’s work. Like we have so much here. Demons playing jump rope (I think?), dice, mermaids, weird circle faced creature with a mustache, music, and a dead fish. Like if I told you that you needed to put all of these things together in a painting about the subconscious you would look at me like I was nuts. But Miro did it. Was he nuts? Maybe, I suppose most artists have to be at least a little bit.
Hopefully my brother now sees that this selection was the utmost of compliments to his creative and expansive mind. But you can best believe for his birthday it’s all going to be cubist out of spite.
Details and Image of Work : https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/AWSS35953_35953_31707555;prevRouteTS=1675094304618
Header Image : Taken by Alexander Liberman ; https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/AGETTYIG_10313546582;prevRouteTS=1675094525914