Apr 29, 2011

Picasso at the VMFA, notes, thoughts, etc part 2

So I tried to approach the Picasso show with fresh eyes. I ignored most of the biographical content in order to simply look and respond to the work. The first piece that I felt a deeper engagement with was a painting of 2 bubbly abstracted figures copulating on what appeared to be a desolate seashore. The copulation wasn't sensual it was more violent, like they were attacking each other. What was so striking to me was the transformation of the scene. The background is simplified but not abstracted in the same sense as the figures. To me, this created a dissonance that was both exciting and melancholy. That doesn't seem to translate at all in this little jpeg. That dissonance really traps the figures in time in a way that seemed eerily familiar and somewhat ugly.

Two other pieces affected me in a similar way: there was a painting of a light in a wine bottle juxtaposed with a goat skull figure. He painted the emanating light from the candle in the wine bottle. Next to the painting was a sculpture of the same scene but with the rays of light made into physical brutal spikes. This represented to me another brutal transformation of the known physical, experienced world into limbo. I distinctly got the impression with these pieces that I was seeing a wholly realized, if terrifying, alternative reality. Not just the idea of an alternative reality, the actual thing. Like I had a portal to it.

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