Blog, Exhibitions

Picasso and Paper

Royal Academy of Art 25 January- 13 April

Pablo Picasso drawing in Antibes 1946 Black and White Photo Copyright Michel Sima/Bridgeman editions.

This is the RA Spring 2020 blockbuster

Billed as the most comprehensive exhibition devoted to Picasso’s imaginative and original uses of paper ever to be held. There are over 300 works encompassing Picasso’s 80 year career. The exhibition shows the myriad of ways in which he worked both on and with paper.

     Picasso was one of the most important and prolific artists of the twentieth century. He was born in 1881 and died in 1973. He worked across a range of mediums including painting, ceramics, sculpture and graphic arts. He drew incessantly, using many different media, including pastels, watercolour and gouache, on a broad range of papers and card. A glossary of these is available for anyone who is interested. He assembled collages of cut-and-pasted papers, created sculptures from pieces of torn and burnt paper, produced both documentary photographs and manipulated photographs on paper; and spent decades investigating printmaking techniques.

Violin Paris autumn 1912 Laid paper, wallpaper,newspaper,wove wrapping paper and glazed black wove paper, cut and pasted onto cardboard with pencil and charcoal 65 x 50cm Musée national Pablo Picasso

         The exhibition is organized in a chronological framework and opens with two paper cut outs of a dove and a dog made by Picasso when he was 8 years old.

Highlights include Les Femmes à leur toilette, winter 1937-38.This extraordinary collage is made from cut and pasted papers and measures 4.8 meters in length.

    Throughout the exhibition paper works are displayed alongside a number of closely related paintings and sculptures. Although Picasso didn’t paint war paintings as such, his images of sheep’s skulls or women in position of grief and anguish provide a deeply personal record of fear and dread in the shadow of impending catastrophe. He didn’t want his work to be mixed up in politics but after the aerial bombing of Guernica in April 1937 Picasso accepted the commission to paint a mural for the republic ‘s pavilion at The Paris Worlds fair of 1937

Seated Woman (Dora),1938 Ink Gouache and coloured chalk on paper 765 x 56 cm Foundation Beyeler ,Rehen/Basel, Beyeler Collection.

             In August 1940 Picasso moved back to Paris and remained there throughout the German occupation. Picasso was considered by the Nazi’s to be a degenerate and was threatened with extradition to fascist Spain. He was forbidden to exhibit or publish but continued to work in his studio. with materials in short supply, the ever resourceful Picasso created a world of shapes- masks, birds etc by tearing, cutting, and burning paper napkins. He made ink drawings on propaganda published by the collaborationist press.

    One section of the show examines the materials and techniques used by Picasso over the course of his career. This includes early woodcuts, photographic collaborations with Dora Maar and later Andre Villers, as well as experimental graphic works and illustrated books.

        Near the end of the exhibition the audience can see the great master at work stripped to the waist in the film ‘Le Mystère Picasso’ made in 1956. It is a remarkable documentary recording Picasso drawing with felt-tip pens on blank newsprint. It is shown alongside original drawings made for the production.

       The exhibition closes with a focus on Picasso ‘s last decade, which saw a final flourish of his work particularly as a printmaker.

         I have said this before, and excuse me for repeating myself, but we as audience or viewer are seeing this work with hindsight and knowledge of 20th century art. We need to imagine how amazing, original and out of this world the work of Picasso must have been when it was first viewed. It is still amazing strong and vibrant. A great, but very large exhibition, so allow yourself plenty to of time to see it.

book review, Uncategorized

CREATIVE COLLAGE by Clare Youngs

30 projects to transform your collages into wall art, personalized stationery, home accessories

9781782494898

In Creative Collage, author Clare Youngs reveals the secrets of collaging, one of her favourite crafts.

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As she says in her introduction

“Great artists who made collage part of their lifetime’s work have always inspired me. Although the techniques have been used since the invention of paper in China around 200 B.C.E., the word “collage” was first used in connection with art by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century, when the technique became an important part of the Modern Art movement.”

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In this book Clare teaches you about the kinds of paper you can use, such as maps, tickets, photographs, typography and magazine pages, and how to add texture, use layering and make use of geometric designs. Some of Clare’s amazing collages are included for inspiration, and she explains how she chose the materials and composition for each one.

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“We can stand back in awe at the work of great artists, but in fact collage is something that anyone can enjoy. It is inexpensive, you don’t need a lot of equipment, it frees your mind, and allows you to release creativity within you that you didn’t even know was there. Great things happen when you let go a bit—what’s not to love?

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Clare then presents a collection of projects that offer unique ways of displaying and using collages even making 3-D collages, such as a découpaged chest of drawers and a family photo wooden block house. She explains how to use collage on fabrics and ceramics as well as a lamp shade and place mats.Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 15.22.22

Along with helpful prompts to give you ideas for collages, this book provides all you need to get started with this personal, expressive craft.

Her other books include Folded Book Art, A Year in Crafts, Colour Yourself to Happiness, Book Art, Mobile Art, Wall Art, Make Your Own Woodland Creatures, Letter Art and Folk Art Needlecraft

Published by Cico BooksCREATIVE COLLAGE November 14th 2017 £12.99

I highly recommend this book and suggest you buy at least two copies, one to keep and one to give away as a present.

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