Fondation Maeght - The Miró Labyrinth

Aimé Maeght offered Miró the necessary dimension to the excessiveness of his universe and proposed that he take over the gardens of the Foundation. Miró, enthusiastic, embraced the project.

Together with the ceramist Josep Llorens Artigas, his childhood friend in Barcelona, Miró reinvented monumental sculpture. It is associated with architecture and nature, the infinite source of his inspiration. For the Labyrinth, he created a dreamlike world populated by fantastic animals from his own mythology. The Catalan genius explores all materials: The ceramic Lizard climbs the walls of the patio.

The Wall has 468 ceramic plates. A tower rises in which three ceramic plates are embedded, a bird, a sculpture in wrought iron, is perched at the top. The Lunar Bird and the Solar Bird are made of Carrara marble, the Fork is made of iron and bronze, it is a symbol of the raised fist of the peasant in revolt during the Spanish War.

The low stone walls wind through the pine forest. The ceramic gargoyles spit out water from the basins whose bottoms are animated by Miró's creations. All the senses are awakened. The perfume emitted by the immortals, the cicadas and their song, the sun that hits the sculptures of Miró.

The Great Arch is made of concrete and Miró engraved his recurring signs with a jackhammer. Further on, Miró's most important ceramic, the Goddess of Fertility. The sundial, made of ceramic, adds color. The Fork dominates the hills of the Côte d'Azur, all the way to the sea. The Mammoth Egg is reflected on the water.

A few steps down, a white marble sculpture, The Woman with Unbound Hair, stands on a rock in the center of a pool. The brick wall of the main building that houses the town hall is the vertical support for the Personage, a brown ceramic face, perched on a high iron support, a figure without body or arms, it overlooks the Solar Bird and the Lunar Bird.

A few more steps and a last basin and its three gargoyles. The Ariadne's Thread, a white line painted by Miró on the low walls of the labyrinth, takes the visitor on an endless walk and reverie.

Excerpt from La Saga Maeght: The rooms [of our new house] are organized around a patio. The living room, where a large concert piano is enthroned, overlooks the Foundation's construction site and its large bay window is like a movie screen where we, privileged spectators, witness the construction of this masterpiece that is Miró's labyrinth. The door to the patio, which gives access to the Foundation, is always closed, so my sisters and I escape from the house by balancing on the wall surrounding the labyrinth. And here we are in this dream place. What could be better for children than a construction site like this one? Miró's sculptures fire up our fairy tale imagination; The Fork becomes the prow of our ship which sails on the mist of the nearby sea, the horns of the Minotaur dominate our kingdom, the Great Arch is the entrance to our fortress, the Gargoyles are its guardians, as for the Mammoth Egg, which earned me bursts of laughter when, at school, I dared to say that certain mammals lay eggs, it symbolizes, for us, a spaceship arrived from another galaxy.