THE EY EXHIBITION: PICASSO 1932 – LOVE, FAME, TRAGEDY London, Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September 2018

by Tiziana Maggio

Tate Modern recently opened a new exhibition and its curatorial concept immediately caught my curiosity. It is the first ever solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the curators are offering a fascinating focus on a specific year in the career of the master: 1932. I decided to pay a visit, along with my friend and artist Christina.

Visitors are afforded a very privileged opportunity to appreciate over 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in a month-by-month journey through Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’. As soon as I enter the first room, I am already ecstatic: 

The Great Depression is about to hit the art market and the Master is in his fifties and at the peak of his success, going around in a chauffeur-driven car and living in grand apartments in Paris with Olga Khokhlova, the Russian ballet dancer and mother of his son.

His talent has reached a new height of sensuality now, mainly inspired by his 17 year old muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, featured in numerous works, from Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, to Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror.

At the end of our viewing, I turn to my friend Christina with my elated smile of fulfilment and an unexpected comment breaks my euphoria: ‘Although prolific, he was a narcissistic, macho, lavish, misogynistic, exploitative, over-idolized , male dominatrix of an artist! Sadly this is what Western art society and art educational system still admire and promote…!!’ 

I was speechless. In only one comment, she opened a vortex of thoughts that I couldn’t suppress for days. I rewinded the whole exhibition in my mind several times and in the end I came to a conclusion. If on one hand this exhibition shows us the magnificent artistic peak reached by Picasso, on the other it opens the archives of his love life. This allows us to put them both under the scrutiny of today’s #MeToo sensitivity and there is nothing better than an exhibition that is able to create debate and open discussions.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine