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Museo Picasso Málaga presents 'Picasso. German Records'


From 19th October 2015 to 21st February 2016, this exhibition makes a round trip from Berlin to Paris and back, offering a revealing dialogue between seventeen classic German modern artists and three German Old Masters. Bringing their work together for the first time, the exhibition showcases 75 works by Pablo Picasso, and over 100 works by Max Beckmann, Heinrich Campendonk, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Frans Francken, George Grosz, Erich Heckel, Hannah Höch, Was

The exhibition presents the results of examining a hitherto little-studied subject: what were the connections, divergences, reactions, antagonisms and affinities between the work of Pablo Picasso and German modern art? The exhibition’s narrative covers the period between 1905, when Die Brücke (The Bridge) movement was founded in Dresden, and 1955, when the documenta 1 international art exhibition first opened in Kassel.

A seminar will take place on 20th and 21st October in which directors of European museums – including Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen, and the Kirchner Museum in Davo - will provide the academic keys to better understanding the complex nature of this dialogue.

Innumerable studies and essays have been published by experts around the world on highly diverse aspects of Pablo Picasso’s work. His relationship with the land of his birth, Spain, and his adopted homeland, France, continue to appeal to many art historians. Yet the relationship between Picasso’s art and German art has not yet been examined in depth. Therefore, this exhibition at Museo Picasso Málaga, curated by its artistic director, José Lebrero Stals, undoubtedly opens up an important new avenue by presenting 22 records based on the connections, affiliations and divergences between Pablo Picasso and a select group of German artists who are now considered classic modern painters, and who radically changed the direction of the history of art.

Although it cannot be said that Picasso’s influence had a specific impact in Germany, the exhibition does highlight both the interest and resistance shown towards Picasso by those German modern artists who did not choose to employ abstraction. This paradox can be seen in the way such artists took up a position and developed their own work while fully aware of the innovative contributions of the Spanish artist - mainly because of the impact of Cubism – yet without this preventing them from seeking ways to create their own cultural idiosyncracy, thus resisting the danger of falling victim to Picasso’s aesthetic force.

The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Federal Republic of Germany’s Foreign Relations Ministry, and the Goethe-Institut Madrid.

PICASSO AND GERMAN ART In bringing to an end the old aesthetic of the 19th-century, the lively new settings of cultural life in Paris and Berlin during the first half of the 20th century were the driving force behind the movement of artists and intellectuals, and the powerful flow of ideas. The exhibition takes us on a journey around 22 complementary environments. In each of them, works by Picasso are combined with works by his German contemporaries. We can also see Picasso’s interest in the 16th-century German Masters, along with graphic documents, photographs, books and other items that serve to provide a spatial and temporal context for the artworks.

The narrative of the exhibition begins in 1905, when the Die Brücke, (The Bridge) group was founded in Dresden and, later, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), and Dadaism in Berlin. It ends in 1955 with the redeeming international exhibition documenta 1 in Kassel, which showcased what the Nazis had previously reviled as “degenerate art”. A total of 75 works by Pablo Picasso are on display alongside more than 100 works by artists such as Max Beckmann, Heinrich Campendonk, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Erich Heckel, Hannah Höch, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Franz Radziwill and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, as well as Lucas Cranach the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and workshops on Frans Francken and Lucas Cranach the Younger.

As a consequence of the historical construct of bourgeois individualism, the subjects of this exhibition were artists with a rebellious streak, who changed the rules of art both in Germany and in Europe. Picasso’s profoundly iconoclastic gesture with Cubism clashed with the Renaissance canon of perspective and the colourist principles of Impressionism, and was in tune with the rebellious stance that he shared in diverse ways with his German contemporaries, creating pictorial alternatives to the hegemonic order that was the legacy of Romanticism in his own country, Spain. Picasso’s destructive aesthetic force stands in contrast in both conceptual and formal terms with the essential idea that inspired the German artists selected for this exhibition: the use of the figurative image to express their feeling of cultural rejection of an order they no longer respected.

DOCUMENTARY MATERIAL AND INTERNATIONAL SCOPE The half-century covered by the exhibition-narrative of Picasso. German Records was an period of great changes when, despite the two wars, culture spread throughout Europe in an extraordinary way, thanks to techniques for the reproduction of images: engravings, xylography, lithography and, of course, photography and filmmaking, which are also included in this exhibition alongside the abundant documentary material.

For this major exhibition on Picasso and German art, Museo Picasso Málaga has received special contributions from the following institutions, amongst others: Brücke-Museum Berlin; Centre Pompidou. Musée national d’art moderne, Paris; Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (FABA); Fundación Picasso. Museo Casa Natal, Malaga; Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach; Kirchner Museum Davos; Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster; Musée du Quai Branly, Paris; Musée Picasso, Paris; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museu Picasso, Barcelona; Nolde-Stiftung Seebüll, Neukirchen; Otto Dix Stiftung; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Archivo Lafuente, Santander, as well as a number of loans from provate galleries and collections.

BOOK, TALKS AND SEMINAR For this exhibition, Museo Picasso Málaga has published Picasso. German Records, a book in which all 22 records shown in the exhibition have been reconstructed. Essays by various experts – Markus Müller, director of Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso, Münster; Janina Dahlmanns, art historian; Thorsten Sadowsky, director of Kirchner Museum Davos; Eugen Blume, director of the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Kerstin Stremmel, art historian; Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, professor at École Normale Supérieure, Paris; and José Lebrero Stals, curator of the exhibition and artistic director of MPM – look into the numerous connections between Pablo Picasso and German art and thought during that period. It also contains a large number of illustrations of the works on display.

On 20th and 21st October, directors of European museums will be taking part in a series of talks and a seminar, in which Peter-Klaus Schuster, former Director General of the Berlin National Museums; Thorsten Sadowsky, director of Kirchner Museum, Davos; Dirk Luckow, director of Deichtorhallen, in Hamburg; Beatrice Joyeux-Prunel, professor at the École Normale Supérieure, in Paris; and Eugen Blume, director of Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, will provide the academic keys to better understanding the complex nature of the dialogue between Picasso and the select group of German artists whose work is on display in the exhibition.

The talks will take place in the MPM Auditorium, in the afternoons. They will be held in English and German, with a simultaneous translation service.

EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL PROGRAMME To celebrate Museo Picasso Málaga’s 12th anniversary, and coinciding with the recent opening of the exhibition Picasso. German Records, over the weekend of 24th and 25th October a number of cultural and educational activities will take place that are based on art, Picasso, and German music and culture.

Because there are a large number of historical and urbanistic references, as well as customs and family trees that bear witness to the solid presence of Germans in Malaga since the 19th century, Museo Picasso Málaga is organizing activities that will provide information on the city’s “Germanic” past, linking it to the present day. German Records in Malaga will offer meetings and visits with historians, journalists, documentalists and members of families with German roots, in order to identify the historical and urbanistic references that highlight the German presence in Malaga ever since the 19th Century.

MPM has also prepared a special programme of activities bearing in mind the large German community in the province of Malaga. A number of guided tours, workshops and events for schools will be provided in German. For the full programme, contact the museum website.

Taking advantage of the wide variety of artistic techniques on display in the exhibition, workshops for adults have been organized that are based on the techniques seen in the exhibition rooms: urban photography, in collaboration with Escuela Apertura; a drawing workshop for Urban Sketchers, led by Luis Ruiz Padrón; or making an album of engravings, amongst other activities. MPM is also providing a series of workshops and visits for schools that focus on the exhibition. To find out more, check the museum website.

The exhibition will also be the main them of the Museum Talks guided visits, which take place every Saturday at noon. To join, just register at the ticket office, as these visits are free with admittance.

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Related Exhibition

Picasso. German Records