Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Ajuntament de Barcelona

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1 channel HD video; 6 min 36 sec loop


Ruth Drawing Picasso, Tate Liverpool, Uk, 2009. Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra’s realisation of Ruth Drawing Picasso, Tate Liverpool, UK, 2009 brings us back to the surprising fact that Guernica (a kind of political manifesto) was exported to Britain by Roland Penrose and E.L.T. Mesens. That work provoked such an effect on a select British public that we can consider it the starting point of surrealism in the UK; it also deeply influenced important artists such as Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and even David Hockney.

The Museu Picasso presents the work of Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra in its new space dedicated to contemporary art. This emblematic videowork confronts the viewer with Ruth – a girl who, during her visit together with her schoolmates to Tate Liverpool, was confronted with Picasso’s painting Weeping Woman.

It’s a cool observation, subjective but sensitive at the same time, analysing the young girl’s reaction when viewing and copying this artwork. Picasso’s piece is directly related to one of the main figures of his masterpiece Guernica (1937).

The Museum presents it in the context of the international congress: Picasso and Identity, an event linked to the ongoing exhibition Picasso. Portraits, analysing the artist’s obsession with the ‘human image’. This exhibition is co-organised by the Museu Picasso, Barcelona and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Dijkstra’s work is another touching portrait revealing a young girl becoming emotional when discovering Picasso’s Weeping Woman. We can be pretty sure the girl is just looking at the work itself (a portrait of Dora Maar, Picasso’s lover at the time), but she is probably unaware of the historical or political charge of the work.

Watching Ruth Drawing Picasso we wonder what she felt while drawing this masterpiece.