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Masters of Collage. From Picasso to Rauschenberg

Right image: Pablo Picasso, La bouteille de vieux marc, 1913. 63 x 49 cm. Centre Georges Pompidou, París. Musée national d'art moderne / Centre de création industrielle. Donación de Henri Laugier. © Pablo Picasso, VEGAP. Right image: Alexander Rodchenko, Majakowskyj – conversation with the finance inspector about poetry, 1926. Collage with photography, 21,7 x 28,7 cm. Galerie Berinson, Berlín / UBU Gallery, New York.

BARCELONA, SPAIN.-The Joan Miró Foundation presents “Masters of collage. From Picasso to Rauschenberg”, an exhibition sponsored by BBVA containing 140 pieces from the period between 1912 and the 1980s by 42 of the foremost European and American artists of the twentieth century. The fragile nature of works in this medium means that it is difficult for them to be transported and it is even more difficult for so many by artists of this category to be shown together. This is therefore a unique opportunity: the first large exhibition in Spain on the subject of collage.

The curator of the exhibition is Diane Waldman, art critic and historian specialising in collage and a former Senior Curator and Deputy Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Today’s fragmented, plural society sees collage as something quite natural. Technical advances have led to the development of a technique that initially only required scissors, glue and re-used paper. Nowadays, collage can be found everywhere, not only in the fine arts but also in the cinema, the media and advertising. We could also talk of it in the context of the superimposition of a new architecture on old cities.

But this presence is nothing new. If we had to define the art of the twentieth century – particularly avant-garde art – by a single technique, this would most certainly be collage.

It is from this perspective that the curator takes us through the history of collage in its various forms such as papier collé, photomontage and assemblage, from its beginnings with Cubism (Picasso, Braque, Gris) nearly one hundred years ago, followed by Futurism (Balla, Carrà), Dada (Arp, Man Ray, Schwitters), the Russian avant-garde (El Lissitzky, Rodchenko), Surrealism (Ernst, Magritte, Breton), the European post-war period (Dubuffet, Chillida, Tàpies, Beuys) and the US post-war artists (Kline, Pollock), ending with Johns and Rauschenberg, who established a bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Waldman has also highlighted Miró’s use of collage in his painting and sculpture.

This history of collage is covered comprehensively in the exhibition catalogue, which represents the first in-depth study of the medium in Spanish and Catalan, with a full chronology of the subject and articles by Donald B. Kuspit, Carter Ratcliff and Diane Waldman.

In addition, to tie in with the theme of the exhibition, a seminar on “Masters of collage” will be held from 1 February to 6 March 2006 in conjunction with Barcelona University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Taking part will be such leading specialists in the subject as Dawn Ades, Dominique Dupuis-Labbé, Anne Umland, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Carolyn Lanchner, Lourdes Cirlot, Alícia Suárez, Matthew Gale and Fèlix Fanés, as well as Diane Waldman.

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November 25, 2005

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