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Calder-Picasso or the confrontation of emptiness

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Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) renewed our way of perceiving, completely reinventing our way of approaching the major artistic themes. By exploring both figurative and abstract visions, the exhibition "Calder-Picasso", presented by the Musée Picasso Paris from 19 February to 25 August 2019, will explore the expression of the "void-space" in the works of these two artists, in their resonances and differences.
 
It is a confrontation between two leading artists of the 20th century, even if we know that Calder and Picasso followed each other throughout their respective careers. Alexander Calder is a sculptor renowned for his mobiles and stabiles that have invaded cities all over the world. He worked for many years in Paris where he first met Pablo Picasso in 1931 in the Parisian gallery Percier. The press then began to make a link between the two artists, Calder even being called the "Picasso of the United States"! It was an honour for the latter, who was younger than the Catalan. Their works were then exhibited together in 1937 on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris and in 1958 at UNESCO headquarters.
 

The exhibition is based on the tangible traces of a relationship between the two men, their commonalities, their encounters, their artistic collaborations and the confrontations of their works; these elements underlie the exhibition, which proposes a synthetic and metaphorical reading of the work of the two creators based on the trace of emptiness as a matrix.
In keeping with the modernity of the 20th century, Calder and Picasso place at the heart of their practice the direct and personal experience of the spectator, giving him access to obscure or even illusory perspectives.
 
The exhibition will bring together around 150 works by the two artists, following a thematic path that will use the confrontation with emptiness as a prism for analysing the conceptual and formal tensions on which the creation of these two major 20th century artists is based. It will be accompanied by a catalogue of many major and previously unpublished contributions on the subject, published by Skira. Extending and enriching the exhibition's purpose, this book aims to highlight the common points, encounters, collaborations and confrontations between Calder and Picasso. In particular, it aims to highlight their research and their shared desire to place the direct and personal experience of the spectator at the heart of their practice in order to renew the viewer's perspective and offer new, obscure and sometimes illusory perspectives.
Through the concept of "emptiness" as a prism for analyzing the conceptual and formal tensions on which the creation of these two major artists was based, this book draws on the contributions of MnPP curators Claire Garnier and Emilia Philippot, internationally renowned specialists, Donatien Grau (Paris-Sorbonne), Estrella de Diego (UCM), Chus Martinez (FHNW), Jordana Mendelson (NYU), as well as the contributions of the American critic and author Jed Perl and those of Bernard Ruiz-Picasso and Alexander S.C. Rower (grandsons of the artists).
"Calder-Picasso" thus offers a reference tool on the expression of the "void-space" and on the idea of the tracing of the void as a matrix of the sculptural work.
 
The exhibition is produced in partnership with the Calder Foundation and the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte. It will be presented at the Museo Picasso Málaga in autumn 2019.
 
Calder-Picasso" exhibition - from 19 February to 25 August 2019 - Musée Picasso, 5 rue de Thorigny, Paris 3rd arrondissement, France
 
Header photo : Poster of the exhibition ©Musée national Picasso-Paris
 

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