As a follow-up to the 2015 exhibition ‘Picasso: In the Studio’, Cahiers d’Art presents ‘Picasso Redacted,” a selection of new charcoal and graphite drawings by New York–based artist Robert Longo, made expressly for the exhibition, together with Longo’s large-scale archival pigment print Guernica Redacted (After Picasso’s Guernica, 1937), 2016, published by Cahiers d’Art. The new print is based on Longo’s monumental charcoal on mounted paper drawing, Guernica Redacted (After Picasso’s Guernica, 1937), 2014. This original drawing measures 111 ½ x 244 1/4 inches.
Guernica Redacted demonstrates a new and critical development of Longo’s increased level of intervention of original source image. Heavy black vertical charcoal stripes fracture Picasso’s already fractured composition by intermittently cutting through the entire picture plane. Longo feels that photographs and film clips of wartime events influenced Picasso when he created the black-and-white Guernica. Longo clarifies: “I thought of the frames of a film and the flicker of black and white news reels of the past, the bars of a prison, or the redaction of sensitive texts… After experimenting with numerous versions over a period of time, I arrived at a critical conclusion where there are six black charcoal strips with various widths blocking and redacting content from the image of Guernica, as if it is too gruesome to be seen and refuses to be seen all at once. The tactic of these interventions allowed me the freedom to change Picasso’s original intended triangular composition and to call the attention to what’s been blocked. The black bars I added to the composition mimic filmstrips, the bars of a prison, and the redaction of secret correspondence. To undermine is to create a space where people can see what they can’t see or choose to ignore.”
The exhibition is accompanied by the latest issue of the Cahiers d’Art revue, ‘Picasso: In the Studio’, with an interview of Longo by Cahiers d’Art publisher, Staffan Ahrenberg, about his practice and his connection to Picasso. In the interview, Longo explains that in the process of creating his recent Guernica drawings, he became more and more aware of the continuing relevance of Picasso’s subject matter, and was challenged to create a work of his own with similar impact.