Monday, May 14, 2018

MMFA 2018: Picasso


May 12 – September 16, 2018

There are 3 elements to this exhibition: the works of Picasso, the art works that originated mainly on the African continent but also Oceania and the Americas and had influenced Picasso's artistic expression, and also Black Canadian contemporary art.

It is an adaptation of an exhibition originally mounted by the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in partnership with Musée national Picasso-Paris. The MMFA has adapted and expanded on that exhibition launched in 2017 by the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, a co-production with the Musée national Picasso-Paris. The initial exhibition, as conceived by Yves Le Fur, Director of the Department of Heritage and Collections, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, invited a dialogue between “the works of Picasso – not only the major works but also the experiments with aesthetic concepts – with those, no less rich, by non-Western artists."

The exhibition brings together some 300 works and documents, mainly from the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and the Musée national Picasso-Paris. To this, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) has added works from its own collection, as well as loans from the Art Gallery of Ontario and from private collections and galleries in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, the USA, South Africa and Canada.

The exhibition features almost a hundred works by Picasso – paintings, sculptures, ceramics and works on paper – which attest to the important influence of Africa and Oceania art. Seventy of them come on loan from the Musée national Picasso-Paris. Numerous others are being loaned to the MMFA by the Picasso family and the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. A huge collection of documents, letters, objects and photographs, together with 27 works from the artist’s personal collection, testifying how these arts accompanied Picasso throughout his life.

The exhibition reveals aspects of the material and spiritual cultures of traditional societies, African in particular, by presenting numerous works, mostly from Africa and Oceania, dating from the late-19th and early-20th century, together with a number of early Iberian and pre-Columbian works.

There are some 70 artworks from the collection of the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, notably an anthropomorphic Dan mask from Côte d’Ivoire, a Songye mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Bahinemo hook figure and a Baining mask from Papua New Guinea, a large grade figure from Vanuatu, an Inuit mask from Greenland and an incised Taino anthropomorphic axe blade from the Lesser Antilles that once belonged to André Breton. Other pieces came from the Picasso’s family and the Musée national Picasso-Paris, including a majestic Baga shoulder mask from Guinea.

The MMFA addied several leading artists from the contemporary art scene – mainly African or of African descent: Omar Ba, Edson Chagas, Omar Victor Diop, Samuel Fosso, Romuald Hazoumè, Nicholas Hlobo, Masimba Hwati, Moridja Kitenge Banza, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Zanele Muholi, Pedro Pires, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Mickalene Thomas and Kehinde Wiley. Several of these works were acquired or are in course of acquisition by the MMFA.

At the beginning and end of the presentation, two video installations are being shown for the first time in North America: representing South Africa at the Venice Biennale in 2017, Mohau Modisakeng presents Passage while Theo Eshetu presents his video installation Atlas Fractured, first shown at Documenta 14 in 2017. The exhibition also incorporates some loans from McGill University’s Redpath Museum and from Guy Laliberté’s Lune rouge collection, as well as a number of pieces from the Marquesas Islands and New Zealand from MMFA’s collection.

Click on images to enlarge them.
All photos by Nadia Slejskova.

The exhibition is located at the The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion – Level 3.

For an additional information about the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts exhibitions and activities, visit the museum's website.

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