Between 8th Oct – 8th Nov 2014 Waddington Custot Galleries presented the first exhibition to consider the relationship between Spanish artist Joan Miró, Barry Flanagan and their shared interest in the idea of ‘Pataphysics.
Attributed to the French writer Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) and regarded as a way of thinking rather than a movement, ‘Pataphysics was defined by Jarry as a ‘science of imaginary solutions’. ‘Pataphysicics, is properly denoted with an apostrophe before the ‘p’, as if to close a previous speech mark and to indicate an ideology of metaphorical circularity and alchemical processes. This ideology can be seen as a driving influence on Dada, Surrealism, the ‘cut-up’ methods of the beatniks and fed into Flangan’s interest in Concrete Poetry and the morphological nature of his work. For Miro the ‘pataphysical emphasis on mutable form and the juxtaposition between paradox and the absurd where intrinsic to his work.
In the introduction for the catalogue published for the exhibition Jo Melvin describes the regard which Flanagan held Miro’s work and his relationship to ‘pataphysics; ‘Barry, as you know, held Miro in high esteem and hired a dinner jacket so as to be nicely dressed to meet him at his Tate Gallery exhibition in 1964.’