T. J. Clark’s Lecture „Picasso and Terror”

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw 12 Nov 2019, 18:00
Picasso's „Guernica” continues to have a life in the politics of the 21st century. It has established itself as our culture's Tragic Scene. In the struggle against state violence and enforced conformism, it goes on being a potent sign, carried as placard or banner, reused as strip cartoon, sprayed on walls from Calcutta to Gaza. But why?

This lecture looks again at „Guernica” in relation to the notion of Tragedy, and in particular to the weight given in tragedy to the emotions of Pity and Terror. Picasso was an artist whose central subject became, from the mid-1920s onwards, the reality of violence in human life – the reality, the horror, but also the fascination. He was charged at the time (and still is) with an unhealthy, almost malevolent obsession with human beings at their worst, made all the more repellent by his constant twisting together of violence and sex. Is the charge justified? To some extent, surely Yes. So how did „Guernica” emerge from such a matrix? What picture of suffering, horror, dislocation, but also community and ‘humanity’, does it offer?

The lecture will be conducted in English. More information can be found on the Museum’s website or on Facebook.