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Picasso Exhibition Gallery Of NSW 2011

Article by Angela Yannatos

As far as art exhibitions go, this one was interesting! I attended the exhibition on the 20/11/11 at 1pm at the ART GALLERY OF NSW. There was a dark waiting room before the exhibition, dedicated to display the private collection photos of Picasso, friends and family members. All black and white of course. And in that room was a large screen a few meters high by a few meters wide displaying old films of Picasso painting. That was interesting because it was filmed standing opposite Picasso on the other side of a tall and wide pain of clear glass, which he painted various designs on! He used a thick paint brush and a cream coloured oil paint where he demonstrates simple abstract strokes forming figures of animals and humans. These designs are depicted in many of his finished paintings that we are all familiar with. It gave me a close look at his free hand and his easy flowing ideas. His brush strokes were confident, and he painted with a jovial facade, every now and again stopping to smile at the camera filming him! These movies were filmed in his later years, I would say in or around his 80’s. Then again people did look older than there true age those days, so he may infact have only been 35! Who knows!!There was nothing else shown in these movies but him painting, alone.

It was time to enter the hall where his paintings were held, and off we went! The displayed paintings were catogorised from the earliest ones to the most recent ones.Firstly what I noticed was that I wasn’t yet seeing anything remotely close to what I knew as Picasso style paintings! What I was seeing was a large display of hand drawings of people, and hardly any abstract at all! More realism than anything else. As the years progressed his style changed along with it.

I noticed something quite unusual, in around the middle of his career, although the paintings remained large and bold, it’s almost as though he became tired, depressed or simply just lazy! The displays went from intricate detail and magnificent realism to child like simplicity and basic blotches of people on canvas! To me they seemed unenthusiastic, like he had lost his vitality. But of course I could be completely wrong about that, and may have just been a new style that he thought he’d tamper with! It wasn’t so appealing or interesting to the eye however. Knowing very little about his personal history, I may not be aware of something that might have happened to him around that time, but I choose to remain ignorant and treat this as a simple “take” of my own.

It was in the 60’s and 70’s that I finally got to see the paintings that we all know and love! That became a little more exciting for me! Now keep in mind I might be out a year or two, or even a decade or so, and plainly going by what I “remember” of the exhibition, because I didn’t infact document it whilst I was there. The over all comment I have about it is that he had so MANY styles of creating, that it wasn’t easy keeping up with it all! But what I personally liked about that the most, is that it reminded me of myself!! I thought, up until I had seen that exhibition, that there was something “wrong” with me, in that I can never just stick to ONE style of painting, or, had too many interests in design to focus on just one thing alone!. But I guess that comes with being creative! And since Picasso was the same, I’m not complaining!!

There were also displays of many many sculptures that he had made over the years. These I was not that interested in myself, because I was there to take note of his technique in his paintings, and it is what interested me the most. Plus the fact that sculpting has never actually been a creative interest of mine.The sculptures were however large, above 6 foot, and mostly made of bronze, showing either men, women or animals. Others made of metal sheeting that formed abstract designs depicting musical instruments. Infact, I can say as a broad statement that his entire collection of paintings and sculptures consist of a very small hand full of subjects and those being, women (naked), animals (bulls and goats) and musical instruments (string). Not nessasarily all in the one combination, but mostly! There are a few paintings with a male child here and there and a man or two, but not many of them!I guess like any artist he appreciated the female form, and being a male artist even more so. The animals displayed in his paintings I personally feel had a close relation to sexuality, people and women, which is the main focus of his work. My guess is, in Picasso’s mind it was all related, and it made perfect sense!I found the bull’s especially interesting in his paintings, and they are a large focus in a certain era of his work, I think from memory around the 40’s. He painted them over and over again. I wondered what was going through his mind?? Again, my guess would be, the bull being an extremely powerful animal, and a dominating one, and he admired it for those qualities. They may have represented some of his own! Or again I could be just talking rubbish since I also know very little about that time and place in history, for all I know bullfighting may have been a major craze!

My favourite painting from the entire exhibition was the bullfight, ‘death of the torero’. It’s only a small painting but what impressed me was firstly that it was so very different from anything else shown at the exhibition, in other words, I’m not sure if there are more like that hiding somewhere else in the world, but it was unique there! The very fine strokes and detail is what I loved, and the over all power of the image itself. The “true” picasso style is incorporated and of course I adore colour, and it’s loaded with that too! Making is a great cocktail!

His etchings I also admired and need to mention, because again, this man had multiple talents and displayed in the one place! It was mind boggling!There were many etchings done around the middle of his career, again going by memory, and I found them to be even more amazing than his paintings! The detail that was depicted in them and the beautiful flow of the lines is magnificent!I have personally only ever experienced the making of an etching back when I was at school, so I’m buggered as to how it’s actually made, but I think it’s a print made from a drawing scratches onto to glass. Pardon my ignorance and lack of effort to research that! But I had more important things to write about!Well thats about all I have to say about the exhibition, unless I think of more later! For now I’m tired of typing and it’s time to go off and do some painting of my own!I enjoyed it though, and the surprise element of it was the best part for me!



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