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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Pablo Picasso

(1881 - 1973), Spain

With his revolutionary approaches to modes of representation and creation in paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, collages, and prints that contributed to several art movements, including Cubism and Surrealism, Pablo Picasso is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

Born in 1881 in Málaga, Spain, Picasso learned drawing and painting from his father, who was also an artist. His talent was recognised at an early age, leading him to be admitted to the Barcelona School of Fine Arts at 14. By 1897, he had enrolled to study at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. Early paintings such as First Communion (1896), which depicts his sister Lola kneeling before the altar, reveal his mastery of perspective and lighting. Despite his education, however, he was dissatisfied with the academic system, instead frequenting The Prado Museum to familiarise himself with the works of artists such as El Greco, Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Zurbarán.

Picasso left Spain for Paris in 1900, but returned not long after, visiting again for extended periods in 1901 and 1902. During the so-called 'Blue Period' (1901–1904), he portrayed subjects living on the margins of society—the poor, prostitutes, vagrants—with a palette of mainly blue, fostering an air of melancholy. He often depicted his figures with elongated limbs and sombre expressions, not only adding to the blue tone of his works but also recalling the solemn saints found in El Greco's paintings.

After relocating to Paris in 1904, Picasso found better prospects, including the patronage of American art collector and writer Gertrude Stein. In the years known as the 'Rose Period' (1904–1906), he primarily painted with varieties of pink and moved to Montmartre, a district populated by entertainers. One of his best-known paintings, Boy with a Pipe (1905) shows a lean boy dressed in blue, holding a pipe and wearing a garland; behind him is an orange background with pink and white flowers.

Picasso also began to experiment with elements of ancient Iberian and African culture. Early examples include Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1905), in which Stein appears seated with a mask-like face. In 1907, he completed Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a large oil painting featuring five naked women composed of bold shapes and simple, angular masses evocative of African art. The profile of the figure on the left, for example, evokes ancient Egyptian portraiture. The artist also drew from the ancient Iberian sculpture he had seen at the Louvre and an African mask that his friend Henri Matisse owned. While his close friends and the art world reacted negatively at first, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon came to be recognised for its radical departure from figurative painting—especially idealised female beauty—as it was understood by academic painting at the time.

Picasso's subsequent stylistic changes can be found in his representation of human figures over the decades. In paintings such as Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910) and Ma Jolie (1911–1912), human forms are almost unrecognisable, having been segmented into intersecting planes and lines. This approach is characteristic of Cubism, a style he and his fellow painter Georges Braque invented around 1907, exploring new ways of representing reality by using multiple viewpoints.

In 1912, Picasso introduced the element of collage to his work, incorporating materials such as newspaper advertisements, wallpaper, and wickerwork. The early 1920s saw him briefly paint in the Neoclassical fashion, returning to figurative representation with paintings such as Woman in White (1923), while Nude Standing by the Sea (1929) shows the influence of Surrealism with a female nude composed of geometric limbs and a curved body.

In the 1930s Picasso began to portray figures with inventively sinuous contours, rendering these distortions in bold colours or monochrome. Guernica (1937)—a large mural painting created in reaction to the Nazi bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War—depicts the horrors of war through contorted human bodies and animals. Many of his post-War works directly reference canonical paintings in Western art history—in both titles and compositions—such as Las Meninas (1957), after Velázquez, or Luncheon on the Grass (1961), after Edouard Manet.

Picasso was the first great 20th-century art world star. He was inventiveness personified, a poet and an intellectual: a wealthy celebrity greatly admired for his phenomenal drawing skills but also, posthumously, criticised for his poor treatment of his wives and lovers. After a long and extraordinarily creative life he died in Mougins, France, in 1973.

Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Three drawings by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoThree drawings, 1970 Coloured pencils, ink, marker on book
31.9 x 50.4 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Paysage by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoPaysage, 1965 Oil on cardboard
50 x 80 cm
Hauser & Wirth
La Pause by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoLa Pause, 1951 Pencil on paper
32 x 24 cm
Hauser & Wirth
La Dame à la Collerette (Portrait de Jacqueline à la Fraise) by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoLa Dame à la Collerette (Portrait de Jacqueline à la Fraise), 1962 Linocut on Arches paper
62.2 x 44.5 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Nature Morte sous la Lampe by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoNature Morte sous la Lampe, 1962 Linocut
74.5 x 61.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Picador et Torero by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoPicador et Torero, 1959 Linocut
59.7 x 74.9 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
L’Italienne by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoL’Italienne, 1953 Lithograph on Arches paper
65.8 x 50.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Le Corsage à Carreaux by Pablo Picasso contemporary artwork
Pablo PicassoLe Corsage à Carreaux, 1949 Lithograph
65.2 x 50 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso, Anatomies of Desire at Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
9 June–14 September 2019 Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso Anatomies of Desire Hauser & Wirth, Zürich
Contemporary art exhibition, Pablo Picasso, Picasso’s Women: Fernande to Jacqueline at Gagosian, New York
2 May–29 June 2019 Pablo Picasso Picasso’s Women: Fernande to Jacqueline Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Muse & Motif at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
10 January–16 February 2019 Group Exhibition Muse & Motif Cristea Roberts Gallery, London

Represented By

In Related Press

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Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Related Press Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Hyperallergic : 20 October 2018

LONDON—In 1981, the Royal Academy of Arts in London put on an exhibition of 20th century painting that changed the art world. A New Spirit in Painting was 'a manifesto,' the accompanying catalogue said; it showcased a set of contemporary, mostly European painters, whose work possessed qualities—figurative, narrative, emotional,...

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The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Related Press The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Hyperallergic : 12 May 2018

'A faint, beautiful memory' is how curator Norman Rosenthal described A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018, the current show at Almine Rech Gallery on the Upper East Side. What he’s remembering, as spelled out in the exhibition’s title, is the seminal survey, A New Spirit in Painting, which opened, barely, at the Royal Academy of Arts in...

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In Murakami’s Moscow, It’s All “Cuteness and Catastrophe” Related Press In Murakami’s Moscow, It’s All “Cuteness and Catastrophe” Vogue : 3 October 2017

In a 2000 interview with the Japanese photographer Mako Wakasa for the Journal of Contemporary Art, the artist Takashi Murakami presented the following rules for survival and success in the contemporary art market (best exemplified, he said, by Damien Hirst and the continued relevance of Picasso and Warhol): "First of all, distinctively...

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Pity and Terror: Picasso’s Path to Guernica Related Press Pity and Terror: Picasso’s Path to Guernica Frieze : 30 May 2017

As anniversaries go, few are more potent than the one marked by this exhibition. 80 years ago, on the afternoon of Monday 26 April 1937, aeroplanes of the German Condor Legion, acting in support of Franco's Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, bombed and virtually obliterated the undefended Basque town of Gernika: one of the first times...

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