Picasso seemed fully aware of the tangential nature of proof in artistic depiction. Always trying to describe a searing truth in his mind’s most amazing determined eye, the physical working of it was rough, crude, but carried the truth with it, like a sword in the back of a brutish bull in a bullring. That the matador and horse were almost interchangeable. That always eyes are on the same side of the face. That a skull with horns could be well represented by a bike seat and handlebars and rusting mounted on a wall.
All the works of art had been sent her to New South Wales from France and would be on display here till March 2012. Picasso, simply titled, and people had been queuing up to get in, to see all the special works of the famous painter/sculptor. You could tell by the conversations in the large lobby where a latest (not by Picasso) all black opus entitled ‘Stephen Hawkings‘ hangs across from two plaster busts regarding the floor where bits of broken white bust lie quietly. In the ticket queue you could overhear that some people had studied Picasso carefully or quickly or not at all. I had read his biography some years before and forgotten most of it.
Having purchased tickets, we all had to come back at the scheduled time and queue politely in an anteroom with a large screen video showing Picasso doing paintings on glass. Birds mostly. Quick and true.
Then at the appointed time, we marched across the lobby in double file as though marching through the entry to the bullring and into the first gallery room, one of about a dozen which represented the different phases of his artistic career.
I was in the centre of gallery room number 5 “Brushes with surrealism”, and having seen galleries 1-2-3 and quickly through 4, was optimistic that I could begin to understand something of the artist. I was standing in the middle of the ‘Bullring’. I was imbued with the art, the deconstruction, the destruction of 3D forms, and its smattering of surreal truth on the walls of the gallery. Truth and Picasso a master at it like a matador, each work of art a conquest, and when finished a death.
There on the outer edge of the Bullring I could see a large guitar like painting. The sinewy strings aboard the neck of the body of the bull, and I writing notes with a Katana and looking over at the guitar. I wandered slowly over, past the people like pebbles of crushed stone that made up the field of the ring. There on the wall was the guitar. The painting. I moved closer.. The painting originally white with grey brown and black shades started to develop depth and shadows. The painting changed as approached. Gradually the painting of a guitar dissolved into 3 dimensions of painted metal and tin. Looking at it now from 5 feet back, the guitar became folded metal which looked like something from the Australian outback. Remnant of a roof perhaps, but cut with metal shears and folded by hand to become a painting at 20ft. And with strings added. The tin now, folded cut metal, an now from the side looking for all the while like a tin gate, all twisted and bent. Yes, from the side it just looked like a bunch of metal folded and painted badly.
I came to see Picasso’s works, I saw many others, in fact all of them twice. What I saw was that art reflects on life and truth, but in itself cannot be true to that. I loved how cleverly folded painted tin on a wall, could at 20 paces look for all the people in the gallery like a painting of a guitar. I could hear the screams of the crowd assembled at the bullfight where the Matador and Horse are conquered by the bull, and his latest wife looking on the comic cubic Picasso who wrestled with tin snips and cut himself no doubt on the tin, trying to make music with a painted folded tin ‘guitar’.