Seven questions with Miquel Barceló
By Lydia Figes
Miquel Barceló began his career as a painter, though over the last five decades his work has evolved across many media: relief-like sculptures, installation, and ceramics. Today, he is one of Spain's most important artists, and his work continually pays homage to his country's artistic lineage – Goya, Picasso, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies (the last two were his friends). For the first time the artist exhibits his ceramic work in the UK, at Thaddaeus Ropac's 'Ceramics' (until 19th February 2022).
Born in Mallorca during the era of Francoist Spain, Barceló followed in the footsteps of his mother who regularly painted the surrounding coastal areas of the Mediterranean island. Narrowly avoiding military service, he left his native country to travel overseas, where he developed his authentic aesthetic and richly textured paintings, sculptural reliefs and ceramics. Some of his most striking and ambitious projects include the ceiling of the Palais des Nations, the EU headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva (dubbed the 'twenty-first century's Sistine Chapel') as well as the interior of the gothic Palma Cathedral, known as 'La Seu'.
Today, he lives and works as an artist-nomad, shifting between his studios in Paris, Mallorca, and Mali, where he constantly seeks inspiration from his surrounding environments, in particular, rural or coastal areas characterised by rich wildlife.