Sunday, 20 September 2015

I Work Like a Gardener: Joan Miro

It's been nearly a week since I moved into my current house, and I am settling in well. Today I was filled with joy as I was able to sit outside in the back yard and enjoy the sunshine. I ate my lunch while listening to the birds and appreciating the wealth of herbs, plants and produce that are being grown. I get a great deal of satisfaction from growing things and I find gardening relaxing. But results do not come quickly, and plants require care and attention.

Artist Joan Miro recognised the time needed for ideas to develop, and the dedication that goes into making artwork.

"In an age when the vast majority of our cultural material is reduced to “content” and “assets,” factory-farmed by a media machine that turns creators into Pavlovian creatures hooked on constant and immediate positive reinforcement via “likes” and “shares,” here comes a sorely needed reminder that art operates on a wholly different time scale and demands a wholly different pace of cultivation.


MirĂ³ defies this factory-farming model of art with the following metaphor:

"If a canvas remains in progress for years in my studio, that doesn’t worry me. On the contrary, when I’m rich in canvases which have a point of departure vital enough to set off a series of rhythms, a new life, new living things, I’m happy.

I consider my studio as a kitchen garden. Here, there are artichokes.There, potatoes. Leaves must be cut so that the fruit can grow. At the right moment, I must prune.

I work like a gardener… Things come slowly… Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. I must graft. I must water… Ripening goes on in my mind. So I’m always working at a great many things at the same time."

Susan Sontag adds “Our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art… Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.”

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