Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spain (part 10)

study of Picasso's lithograph "El Ensayo"

In Malaga I fell in love with Picasso's lithographs and Picasso reminded me what I love about lithography! He really threw himself into the medium later in his career (from about 1945) and created lots of amazing prints. The variety of materials and mark-making techniques that he incorporated into each image was inspiring and showed his willingness to explore the potential of the medium. I was also inspired by his extensive exploration of a single subject - frequently revisiting the same face, usually his wife or lover, to draw it in a different way often changing his approach in terms of materials or in the degree of abstraction. 

Picasso, "Portrait of Mademoiselle Rosengart"

Sometimes a single image was progressively worked on and altered with lithographs taken through up to 18 states (I believe credit is also due to the outstanding skill of Picasso's printer Fernand Mourlot in Paris)! At the Picasso Foundation there were two temporary exhibitions devoted to Picasso's printmaking ("Cherchez la Femme" and "Belleza Multiple") each presented in small, quiet gallery spaces, which I had practically to myself on the multiple occasions that I visited - In contrast to the larger museums, on this occasion I really enjoyed being able to take my time and give all my attention to a smaller amount of works from a single artist. 

Picasso, "David and Bathsheba (After Lucas Cranach), state 10"

Kel, Marie & Kristian 

At my hostel (just around the corner from Picasso's childhood home) I met the three fantastic, friendly travellers that you see above who I enjoyed sharing my Malaga experience with. Apart from Picasso one of my reasons for visiting Malaga was the unique environment of El Torcal, an otherworldly landscape of unusual limestone formations, situated near Antequera (about an hour away). I wasn't quite sure how I was going to get to El Torcal so I was thrilled when Kristian, from Germany, offered to drive and then managed to navigate us there using only a compass! It turned out to be a beautiful day and walking along in between the tall, neat stacks of rocks I felt like I was exploring some kind of wonderful prehistoric city. 


El Torcal


For me, another worthwhile day trip from Malaga was to Marbella to visit Museo Del Grabado Espanol Contemporaneo (Spanish Contemporary Printmaking Museum) where I saw a fabulous series of Miro etchings. It was great to see all the different elements of the print displayed together  - the image below is the multiple colour print, but it was displayed alongside the black lines printed alone, the black lines printed in relief (so they appear white on black) and a print with just the coloured shapes on their own. I was interested to find that my favourite state was generally the relief print due to the intriguing texture and details that the roller picked up in the etched areas.

Miro,  from the series "Mallorca" 

Miguel Conde, "Cabeza (Head)" series

At M.G.E.C. I was also introduced to the fantastic work of Miguel Conde whose expressive figurative etchings were often printed in a series of wide variations as colour monotypes.

Miguel Conde, "Cabeza (Head)" series

No comments: