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Taking Joan Mir's notorious declaration of 1927--"I want to assassinate painting"--as its point of departure, this richly illustrated volume is the first to focus on Mir the "anti-painter," identifying the core practices and strategies the artist used to challenge painting between 1927 and 1937. Joan Mir: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937 surveys the various material, iconographical and rhetorical forms of Mir's attacks on painting by presenting, in chronological sequence, 12 distinct series of works, beginning with a remarkable group of paintings on unprimed canvas and concluding with Mir's return to Realism in "Still Life with Old Shoe" (1937). Acidic color, grotesque disfigurement, stylistic heterogeneity and the use of resistant, ready-made materials are among the key tactics of aggression that are explored in this extraordinary presentation of the interrelated and oppositional series of paintings, collages, objects and drawings Mir produced during this crucial decade of his long career. This volume integrates close scrutiny of Mir's materials and processes with historical and iconographic analysis, leading to an expanded understanding of the underappreciated aggressiveness of an artist long regarded as Surrealism's most lyrical painter-poet.
Joan Mir was born in 1893 in Barcelona. After his first trip to Paris in 1920, and through 1931, Mir generally spent half of each year in the French capitol and half in his native Catalonia, returning to live in France after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. One of the twentieth century's greatest Modern artists, Mir created a pictorial world of intense imaginative power, in which visionary and cosmic elements are inextricably intertwined with the earthly and mundane. He died in 1983 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.