Picasso and exile, a history of Spanish art in resistance
#TOULOUSE Les Abattoirs, Musée-Frac Occitanie Toulouse, in collaboration with the Picasso Museum in Paris an exhibition devoted for the first time to the relationship between Picasso and the Spanish exile. Deployed on the three floors of the Abattoirs, it explores how the historical and personal upheaval of exile affected Picasso, and the number of artists who were contemporary with him. This open exhibition also proposes to put the works of Picasso and artists from the Spanish diaspora in dialogue with the works of contemporary artists.
Picasso was not a war exile like most of his contemporaries, he was a voluntary emigrant artist, who became exiled in spite of himself because he was unable to return to his native Spain. This unconditional bond to the country builds wonderful relationships with all the exiles he has supported, especially artists, and strengthens his commitment against Francoism and for peace. The exhibition presents the work of these Spanish artists and then addresses the theme of cultural, artistic and humanist resistance that continues in the post-World War II period.
The exhibition spreads throughout the region in about twenty places with nearly seventy artists. An exhibition with strong local and international historical resonances since in 1939 no less than 500,000 Spanish refugees crossed the border in less than two months to transit the entire region in refugee camps, often with unworthy living conditions that are reminiscent of the current refugee camps around the world. On the ground floor, the works created during the Retirada, by artists in refugee camps, are particularly popular. Art as an act of resistance, art as a breath of life, as a means of subsistence and participation in local life, art as a tool for reconstruction. The exhibition opens with a panoramic work created in one of the small Occitan churches in the region.
In the adjoining room, touching works, drawings, photographs, watercolours, document the sad life in the camps. Made on all kinds of supports; canvases of potato bag jutes, small notebooks, sheets of paper, they are put into dialogue with a work by Nissrine Seffar. A contemporary work made from photographs of the Rivesaltes camp reproduced on plaster bricks. Eighty bricks enhanced with yellow ochre (a paradoxical colour for the artist; forbidden in the case of the yellow line and freedom because of the sun’s colour), aligned in a line that seems to scroll like a film. With this plaster, Nissrine is trying to make a kind of repair like the plaster used in medicine. A magnificent work that gives colour and a dose of hope in this room with its rather sad accents. The tour continues by presenting the works of artists from the Spanish exile around Picasso: Luiz Fernandez, Oscar Dominguez, Pedro Flores, Antoni Clavé… and above all a magnificent Roberta Gonzalez who, in the shadow of her husband Julio Gonzalez, created little wonders.
The exhibition also presents works of resistance and relates the various militant exhibitions as well as Picasso’s relations with Spain. We see Picasso confronted with history, the Popular Front, the Spanish War, Picasso and Franco, Picasso and the Second World War and Picasso as the last Don Quixote in his nostalgia for Spain, especially with Guernica. The travels of this mythical painting, which has become a work of struggle and peace, are evoked and here fetishized, with the exhibition of the remains of its old chassis. A kind of archaeo-artistic skeleton as can be seen in natural history museums.
This fascinating painting, a mythological and very political work, was the subject of many revisits, reinterpretations or tributes by many artists. We can see here some examples: films with the films of Alain Resnais, Robert Flaherty or plastic with the impressive revisit in low relief on a wooden panel by Damien Deroubaix.
In the basement we are greeted by the monumental theatre stage curtain created in 1936, La Dépouille du Minotaure en Costume d’Arlequin, given by the artist in 1965 to the City of Toulouse, then capital of the Spanish exile. More than thirty works by Picasso (paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures and books) are on display, as well as more than a hundred unpublished photographs and archives, including Pablo Picasso’s personal archives, held at the Musée national Picasso-Paris.
Then on the first floor of this magnificent building, the tour proposes “Dulces Sueños”, which focuses on the contemporary Spanish scene with a dozen Spanish artists of the younger generation, native or native of Latin America, whose works are marked by commitment. It opens with a video by Carlos Aires; an astonishing tango, an Argentinean dance of exile, performed in a historical baroque setting by two police officers wearing combat gear, to the sound of Sweet Dreams (Dulces Sueños) by Eurythmics.
An exhibition where revolutionary songs and “hasta siempre” still resonate.
With the works of:
Edouard Arroyo – Marti Bas – Friedel Bohny-Reiter – Xavier Bueno – Luis Buñuel – Robert Capa – Ubaldo Izquierdo Carvajal – Antoni Clavé – Mercedes Comaposada Guillé – Honorio Garcia Condoy – Pere Créixams – Oscar Domiguez – Equipo Cronica – Apel/les Fenosa – Luis Fernandez – J.Fin (Josefin Vilato) – Robert Flaherty – Pedro Flores – Carles Fontserè – Julio Gonzalez – Roberta Gonzalez – Francisco de Goya – Emilio Grau Sala – Hans Hartung – Joan Jordà – Antonio Rodriguez Luna – Baltasar Lobo – Dora Maar – Josep Marti – Blasco Mentor – François Miro – Joan Miro – Manuel Angeles Ortiz – Gines Parra – José Palmeiro – Joaquim Peinado – Pablo Picasso – Josep Ponti – Joan Rebull – Robert Hessens & Alain Resnais – Roa – Antonio Saura – Antoni Tàpies – Bonaventura Trepat – Remedios Varo – Javier Vilato – Hernando Viñes
Contemporary guest artists:
Pilar Albarracin – Carlos Aires – Aniel Adujar – Babi Badalov – Eduardo Basualdo – Jordi Colomer – Hélène Delprat – Democracia – Damien Deroubaix – Esther Ferrer – Dora Garcia – Nuria Güell – Amjad Ghannam & Khaled Hourani – Glend Leon – Robert Longo – Eugenio Merino – Chiara Mulas & Serge Pey – Daniela Ortiz – Pedro G. Romero – Nissrine Seffar – Oriol Vilanova
March 15 / August 25, 2019
Picasso and exile, a history of Spanish art in resistance
Les Abattoirs, Musée – Frac Occitanie Toulouse
76 allées Charles de Fitte
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