After two years of planning, the exhibition opened at the National Poetry Library in the centre of London July – September 2019. Located within the Southbank Centre, Europe’s largest centre for the arts, the Library holds the most extensive public collection of modern poetry in the world. This brought an exciting new angle to the exhibition and resulted in research into the relationship between Picasso and poetry and the commissioning of new work.
Picasso worked with the written word and poetry, an achievement that is often overshadowed by his painting. This exhibition gave attendees a chance to read Picasso’s written work and learn about his relationship with poets in his lifetime. Dr Nicola Ashmore worked closely with Librarian, Chris McCabe at the National Poetry Library. McCabe’s research informed the insights shared in this exhibition exploring Pablo Picasso’s influential friendship with poet Apollinaire:
By 1905, Apollinaire had written many of the poems for his collection Alcools, which would be one of the most significant collections of twentieth century poetry, (Picasso would later provide the cover artwork), and Picasso was immersed in his Rose Period, after finishing with blue.
This exhibition at the Library provided a great opportunity to connect Guernica Remakings with poetry and commission new work, Guernica Poetica. The National Poetry Library and Dr Nicola Ashmore commissioned two contemporary poets, So Mayer and Richard Price, to respond with poems written in response to the symbols in the painting. Watch the poems performed:
EXHIBITION OPENING Wednesday 31st July 2019 – 7:30pm launch event. Opening of a new exhibition of works responding to Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece, with poetry readings from So Mayer and Richard Price. FREE but TICKETED.