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Possible Abstractions: Rodney Graham at the Museu Picasso

  • Organized by: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in co-production with the Museum für Gegenwartskunst and the Hamburger Basel Kunsthalle in collaboration with the Museu Picasso de Barcelona

The Museu Picasso de Barcelona hosts the project Possible Abstractions by Canadian artist Rodney Graham, created especially for the Museum on the occasion of the major retrospective Through the Forest, presented at the MACBA, which brings together hundreds of Graham's works from the years 1978 to 2008. The MACBA show includes the series of paintings Picasso, My Master (2005), Graham's first incursion into painting, which recreates with a touch of humour the aura of mastery surrounding Picasso's work.

In Possible Abstractions, Rodney Graham presents a new series of works based on a popular cartoon published in a men’s magazine in the mid-fifties. In this strip two people who know nothing about art stand in front of a modern abstract painting of their time, wondering what it means — still a recurrent leitmotif in discussions about the meaning of contemporary art today. Rodney Graham has taken the characters from the comic strip and the staged stereotype about how art should be looked at as the basis for a series of other possible abstractions, a selection of which can now be seen at the Museu Picasso.

Pablo Picasso himself had been interested in such magazines, sometimes painting or drawing over them. The Museu Picasso has some examples of these in its collection: Rodney Graham pays tribute to this part of the collection and challenges the master of modern painting in his own way with this new possibility of abstraction in art.

This project is the first in a series of interventions and collaborations by working artists in the Museum's programme. One of our priorities is to bring out the close links between Picasso and the idea of creation and of process and to situate him once more in the long line of artists whose work was a spur to new creativity.

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