informal searching(s) and findings
Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Picasso’s Picassos, the text reads on one of the Banners outside the AGO. I am not going to go on about ‘Masterpieces’ as I have in previous ‘block buster’ exhibitions that tour to the AGO. The Picasso paintings of Art History classes and books are not here, are lesser known. These pieces have personal, and assumed private, meaning for the prolific Pablo Picasso, the artist. So, some gallery goers may sense false advertising in the subtitle. Another banner tells gallery goers that Picasso is the, Painter. Sculptor. Rebel. Genius. The travelling, tour de force, exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, etchings, and photographs from the personal collection of Pablo Picasso is in Toronto until August 2012.
The quote by Pablo Picasso (in the Education Kit) from about 1946 is apt, ‘I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary, and as such they are valid. The future will choose the pages it prefers.‘
What is showing is the significance of the journey to and from Cubism. Here the artist is thinking through a problem of planes, perspective, and the fluidity of the body. Throughout the journey in painting, the body is simplified to edges with lines, curved and straight, texture and gradation. The object is isolated to 3 dimensions, trying to work out microcosmic perspective within the flat picture plane. This is taken further to create a spatial object/subject made up of flat planes. The round surface of the body disappears. The golden mean spiral appears instead, in broken boxes/cubes and rectangles with only corners/edges, and gradations, colors are browns, grays, blacks, which become flat again. Years later figures are simplified to rounded blobs, or morphed and stretched and twisted and turned, or flattened to black lines and bright bright colors and textures, or lightened in calligraphic lines. There is also the return to realism, and small highly detailed paintings, and of bloated heavy figures. The knowledge gained from his research, for that is what he is doing, and practice appears in various mediums throughout, and various representations ie. collage, built objects, sculpture, and painting.
Besides the human figure, or portraits, some of the subject matter of Cubist paintings of the early 20th century, and built objects, are guitar/mandolin, playing cards, dice, random numbers, table top, ash tray, and bottle of liquor.
Pablo Picasso produced artworks into his old age. He died in 1973.