Pablo Picasso, Sylvette, 1954, Oil on canvas
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Photo: Lars Lohrisch
© Succession Picasso / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013
In the spring of 1954, Picasso met the young Sylvette David in Vallauris on the Côte d'Azur. She embodied the ideal of beauty typical of that era ‒ tall in stature, with long, blond hair bound in a pony tail ‒ and inspired the painter to create a series of portraits. For months, he experimented in front of the model with various styles and techniques. With seeming effortlessness, Picasso varied his approach from realistic depictions to cubist abstractions of the same pictorial subject. With brush and pencil, Picasso created close-to-nature likenesses and complex abstractions of Sylvette. Arising at the same time were folded metal sculptures painted in black and white.
Already in 1955, the Kunsthalle Bremen acquired a typical example from this unique series and now ‒ sixty years later ‒ is presenting the first exhibition devoted exclusively to these works, with important loans from throughout the world. The series comprises more than fifty works consisting of drawings, paintings, metal sculptures, and ceramics.
Photography by David Douglas Duncan, Alexander Liberman, Arnold Newman, François Pages, Edward Quinn and André Villers document the sessions in Picasso's studio and the relationship between artist and model. The exhibited photographs and works of art offer insights into Picasso's creative process as well as the Zeitgeist, fashion and glamorous lifestyle on the Côte d'Azur during the 1950s.
The Sylvette series is contextualised through a number of works documenting Picasso’s work and style during this decade. Picasso met Sylvette at a critical moment of his artistic career and personal life. His relationship with Françoise Gilot ended in September 1953, causing a personal and creative crisis. In the summer of 1954 he met Jacqueline Roque who was to become the artist’s companion until the end of his life. The exhibition presents a variety of related portraits of Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque as well as works on the theme of painter and model, framing the Sylvette series within the wider exploration of creativity, desire and progress of time.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Selbstporträt, auf einen Steinsims gestützt, 1639,
Radierung, Kaltnadel, 208 x 165 mm
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Kupferstichkabinett
Andreas Slominski, Plakatmotiv zur Ausstellung in der Kunsthalle Bremen 2014
© Andreas Slominski
The starting point of this exhibition is the permanent loan from the collection of Bärbel and Manfred Holtfreich who have acquired works by the artist since 1986. It includes small-sized works, editions, sculptures and graphic works from all phases of the artist's work.
In addition to animal traps that can be seen as a leitmotif in Andreas Slominski's work, the exhibition presents numerous works of the last twenty years: the “Viennese Black”, extravagantly produced from the femur of a Lipizzaner horse; or the flatbread stamped by using a football boot. A bucket of water is filled via a complex system of pipes running through the rooms of the museum. An oddly shaped stove follows in its construction the contours of his fuel (forked branches).
Andreas Slominski’s work explores in surprising ways social connections, power relationships and pseudoactivities. Many works are also readable as examples of re- and "up"cycling. The “Viennese Black” is pigment and urn, the beginning and the end.
The exhibition was developed in close collaboration with the artist and the collectors.
An Exhibition of the Society for the Promotion of Contemporary Art at the Kunstverein Bremen
Sarah Morris, Jardim Botânico [Rio], 2013 (Detail), 59,81 m x 4,07 m
© Sarah Morris
The American artist and filmmaker Sarah Morris (* 1967) has created a monumental, panoramic mural for the central entrance hall of the Kunsthalle Bremen. Jardim Botânico [Rio] (“Botanical Garden”) is related to the artist’s new series of works entitled Rio but also reacts to the architecture of the museum. The spectacular installation combines luminous colours and abstract grid structures with rectangular and curved forms to form a spectacular environment. The numerous layers of brilliant pigments and
household enamels give rise to visual rhythms as well as to tactile, almost relief-like structures.
Morris works in the tradition of geometrical painting of modernism as well as of the 1960s with marked references to the oeuvre of Piet Mondrian, the American color field painters, Op Art and Victor Vasarely. She continues this tradition creatively into the future and instils new life into a reduced formal language through her dynamic, intensively colourful compositions. But with the shiny colours of her striking paintings and murals the artist also reflects critically on the illusionary world of Hollywood film and the surface aesthetics of glossy magazines, fashion and advertising.
The exhibition has been realised with the generous support of the Supporters’ Circle for Contemporary Art of the Kunstverein Bremen and the Bremer Landesbank.