2. July 2016 to 13. November 2016

DANUBIANA has prepared an exhibition of outstanding quality entitled European Stars- Miró& CoBrA on the occasion of the Slovak Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. The fact that we haven’t had any exhibition featuring an extensive collection of top European artists and artwork in Slovakia in recent decades only underlines the exceptional nature of this event. This is a challenging project which was only possible thanks to the excellent contacts of the organizers and the generous loans of the owners of individual works of art.

The works of Joan Miró are on loan from the private collection of the Joan Miró family and the Successio Miró from Palma de Mallorca, and are complemented by prints from the Meulensteen collection. These works represent all of the areas of fine art in which Miró created: paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, tapestries and an illustrated book (a total of 38 works). Many of them have never been exhibited in Central Europe.

Joan Miró along with Pablo Picasso and Salvator Dalí are the exceptional Spaniards who had a crucial impact on the development of 20th century art. And each had a unique personality. Miró did not follow prevailing streams; on the contrary, he created and co-determined them. The nature of his oeuvre acquired its particular and characteristic contours in the period of rising Surrealism and in close context with its poetics. He had the soul of a poet and was inspired by the literary environment around André Breton, especially the poets who were looking for new literary forms. In such creative atmosphere, he designed his own Surrealistic poetics as a foundation and developed it in various creative periods. His work was so original and convincing that Breton called him “the most Surrealist painter.” But he always stuck to the reality which inspired him. The micro-world of his paintings was adapted in a minimalizing approach that did away with realistic details. Thus his characteristic language was reduced to basic signs, pictograms, patterns drawings from prehistoric paintings, children’s drawings and folk art. The early Surrealist period can be considered the foundation of the complex of Miró’s oeuvre. His work was a determining factor in postwar modern art development. He opened the path to lyrical abstraction and had an impact on abstract Expressionism and Tachisme as well as American painting. The experimental nature of his work, featuring elements of children’s drawings and naïve communication processes, and combining imagination and the word and the relation to the material aspect of work were the qualities which Miró shared with members of the CoBrA group in their later works. This exhibition reveals these relations, the relative processes of artistic thinking and experiments with materials. He certainly was an inspiration for Henry Heerup, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn and Corneille and others. The exhibition of Joan Miró and Paul Klee of 1948 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam was also inspirational.

The section of the exhibition featuring the works of CoBrA artists is a result of our cooperation with the CoBrA Museum in Amstelveen, Netherlands. The exhibition will also include artwork from the Meulensteen collection and several private collectors. Sixty works of art will be exhibited in total. The following sixteen artists have been included in this exhibition: Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Eugène Brands, Constant, Corneille, Jacques Doucet, Henry Heerup, Egill Jacobsen, Robert Jacobsen, Asger Jorn, Lucebert, Jan Niewenhuys, Carl Henning Pedersen, Anton Rooskens, Shinkichi Tajiri and Theo Wolvekamp.

CoBrA (an acronym for Copenhagen-Brussels-Amsterdam), was founded in Paris by Danish, Belgian and Dutch artists who acted as a group from 1948 to 1951. In this exhibition we focus on the painters, but the original movement was of a broader character, and included writers who published a revue and others who developed wider activities. CoBrA was the first international movement which was formed in postwar Europe and was an expression of the desire to overcome fragmentation and isolation. This is also expressed by the international group of artists which, in addition to those mentioned, incorporated artists from Sweden, Germany, France, England and elsewhere). It is this international nature of the movement which may even have a positive effect in the context of certain contemporary line today. From the artistic perspective, CoBrA brought about new aspects, character, meaning and the definition of artistic creation. Freedom and going beyond limits, discovering new unconventional sources of inspiration which revived the spirit of art were its presumption. Therefore, the artists turned to and explored the area of children’s expression, folk art, naïve art, art brut, Surrealism and prehistoric art. All of this was connected with the spirit of anonymity as well as a certain collectivity or rather contextuality. An art form using new and unusual materials and going beyond traditional techniques was a part of artistic freedom and thus brought about provocative artistic solutions. The material painting of the CoBrA artists (sand, structures, thick paste, relief surfaces...) was one of the impulses for Informel’s development. At the same time, it was full of humor and fantasy and not always unambiguous vital forces.

The exhibition is held under auspices of H.E. Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic.
The exhibition will be opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Text: Eva Trojanová