Miralda started drawing his first soldiers during the period of compulsory military service from 1962 to 1966. He was making drawings of soldiers in their habitual positions: sitting, standing, stretched out, standing at attention or ease. The first of his white plastic soldiers, Soldats-soldes, appeared in the Tableaux-tables which he exhibited and sold in the Galerie Zunini in Paris in 1967. That same year Pierre Restany put on the Superlund show and Miralda presented his tables, with the drawers half open, covered with soldiers and for the first time also with figures of civilians. His quirky vision of the game of war spilled over the furniture, the display cabinets and public seating.
- This is the period of the Bride's Chest.
The following year he commenced his Essais d’amélioration, by which he “improved” the statues of the muses of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, for instance, by draping them with Jouy dresses and little white soldiers on top. At this time, too, Miralda walked around the streets of Paris with a huge white soldier on his back, an action recorded by Benet Rossell in the film La Cumparsita.
This is the context in which we have to situate La cité du Loisir y Proyecto de monumento para un jardín (1969), where with a subtle irony Miralda reduces the military institution and the power of the State to the absurd and in this way expresses a critical attitude very much in line with the protest movements that emerged all over Europe during and after 1968. These pieces denote the influence of the nouveau réalisme; later on, the artist eventually abandoned sculpture to focus on the conception and organization of parades, parties and ceremonies with coloured food, in conjunction with Dorothée Selz, Jaume Xifra and Joan Rabascall.
Other works from the MACBA Collection, such as Pas mal (1965), Pas mal du tout (1965), Así atacaré, así defenderé (1965) and Lo llevaré siempre puesto (1965), are drawings and collages on the subject of the military that precede the series Soldats soldés. As the artist said in an interview at MACBA: ‘They were purely autobiographical, based on the utter boredom I felt during military service.’ Miralda plays with the shooting range and false perspectives. Some of the works symbolise specific events, such as the Vietnam War in Así atacaré, así defenderé, or the absurdity of war in Pas mal and Pas mal du tout.
Gold does not take on any dirt. And gold, just are diamonds, is an exalted material. It possesses such a degree of abstraction that it encounters you –if you use it artistically– on an already exalted level.