3 June – 25 September 2016
This ground-breaking exhibition is part of events to mark the 100th
anniversary of the Dada movement, which came into being in Zurich. The
retrospective explores the historical sweep of Picabia’s (1879 –1953)
provocative career – from his early successes as an Impressionist
painter and his essential contribution to Dada, via his controversial
pin-up girls and through to his abstract works created after the Second
World War. Picabia remains a hotly debated figure among the great
artists of the 20th century, owing to his distinctive eclecticism and
persistent, deliberate contradictions.
Throughout his life, he reflected
on the operation of style, subverted categorizations and set his face
against systems of value judgment that distinguished high art from
kitsch and conservatism from radicalism, and this in a self-critical
manner and with acerbic humour. For all the demystification of painting
that underpinned his Dada activities, Picabia continued to paint
frenetically until his death while at the same time constantly
reinventing the technique.
While the works from Picabia’s Dada years are
well known, his oeuvre as a whole and his propensity for working in a
wide variety of painting styles still await more in-depth examination.
as a whole this comprehensive exhibition, which opens the Festspiele
Zürich 2016, shows the extent to which Picabia’s work questions the
principles of the modern. It comprises some 200 works, including around
150 paintings, complemented by a meticulously compiled selection of
works on paper, avant-garde magazines for which he wrote or which he
published himself, and examples of his film and theatre production.
The exhibition is a collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where it will be on display from November 2016.
A lavishly illustrated catalogue (368 pages, around 300 illustrations)
containing new scholarly essays by Cathérine Hug (incorporating comments
by Peter Fischli, Albert Oehlen, Rita Vitorelli and other
personalities), Anne Umland, George Baker, Carole Boulbès, Masha
Chlenova, Michele Cone, Briony Fer, Gordon Hughes, David Joselit,
Jean-Jacques Lebel, Bernard Marcadé, Arnaud Pierre, Rachel Silveri, Juri
Steiner, Adrian Sudhalter and Aurélie Verdier, is published by N.V.
Mercatorfonds (Brussels). It is available in bookstores and the Kunsthaus shop.
Related article and illustrations