Monday, 1 July 2013

Exhibition: Becoming Picasso - Paris 1901

- The Blue Room -
I visited this exhibition quite a while ago, and blogging about it has been a task long overdue for completion. So I thought just before I began my project on figure drawing would be an excellent time for finally tackling it.
First of all I have to say that this was my first trip to the Courtauld Gallery, the Picasso exhibition may no longer be running but it is an excellent place anyway and with their new Gauguin exhibition I shall definitely be returning very soon.
The exhibition was, in a word, brilliant! As pretentious as it sounds, you can really see the beginnings of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists in this collection of the nineteen year old Picasso’s paintings.
- Dwarf Dancer & Bibi-la-Puree -
I found it really interesting how different each one of these paintings were, Picasso’s constant experimentation shines through with so many pieces in close proximity to compare against each other. Influences from Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec seem to appear as artistic ideas mutated to Picasso’s own will.
The first room is a perturbing group of grotesques; dwarves and clowns glare at you, violently out of focus (‘Bibi-la-Purée’ and ‘Dwarf Dancer’). ‘Seen through the bottom of an absinthe bottle’ is an apt description from the exhibitions curator. The pieces have that bad sickly taste of too much alcohol and yet they are morbidly fascinating studies.
- Child with a Dove & Harlequin and Companion -
Escaping into the second and final room Picasso’s work has transformed, hitting you with intensity like sunlight, piercing the absinthe hangover from the first room. This intensity, much like sunlight and hangovers, starts to mellow and cool as you head towards Picasso’s famed blue period, there’s more emotion but less rush. The mania turns towards the melancholy.
- Casagemas in his Coffin -
His self portrait ‘Yo – Picasso’ (I- Picasso) doesn’t just grab your attention it smacks your round the face until its sure your paying full attention, There is undeniably something cocksure about the frenzied brushstrokes and the orange eruption of his cravat. He confidently stares out at you and surveys his work as if to challenge any doubts of genius, he says ‘I did all this, I - Picasso.’
- Yo - Picasso -

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