Presence and absence

New forms of self-representation that were subtler and more cryptic began to appear at the time Picasso explored Surrealism. Such images of presence and absence would run through his self-representations for a considerable number of years. In the late 1920s Picasso embarked on a series of oil paintings in which the shaded profile of the artist is eventually confronted by a monstrous Surrealist figure. The shadow and profile would often be used as projections of domestic events he preferred to keep secret. In the early 1950s, the work The Shadow on the Woman, a metaphor of the breaking down of his relationship with Françoise who had left him, confirms the essential role of the shadow at times in which the artist was experiencing personal difficulties. With varying degrees of intensity, this resource would survive until the last years of his life, as the self-portrait genre extended to other techniques such as ceramics, prints and illustrated books, in which he even depicted himself as a writer.