Photo I Project 3

From Fall 2009 Semester at Kennesaw State University

K.Barnes.Project3.Left1 K.Barnes.Project3.Left2

K.Barnes.Project3.Middle

K.Barnes.Project3.Right1 K.Barnes.Project-3.-Right-2

Okay. For this project we had to appropriate, or reuse, another artist’s work or style. I chose Picasso’s Guernica. Look: I even did a FANCY artist statement for this one! ::

Still Guernica

While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso suffered harassment from the Gestapo. One officer allegedly asked him, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, “Did you do that?” Picasso responded,

“No, you did.”

Picasso’s Guernica is a powerful painting that captivated me from an early age. Its composition, subject matter, and sharp contrast commands attention visually, while also boldly bringing a voice to Spain’s violent past. I am very drawn to the power Picasso possessed as an artist to bring worldwide attention to the bombing of Guernica through his art. It is inspiring to witness the authority of art and how it influences the world around me.

While composing this photo series, I kept basic concepts of Picasso’s original piece in mind. I wanted to accentuate the chaotic, claustrophobic, and emotional elements of his work in my appropriation of Guernica. For this reason, I chose to shoot in my cluttered, dark basement workshop.  I constructed the installation in a theatrical way, mimicking Picasso’s single dramatic spotlight in the middle. I felt this was the most important object to include because the harsh lighting creates both the mood and crucial compositional elements in the piece.

Each shot focuses on one subject, except for the middle photo, which captures the entire installation. In this way, the series is to be viewed left to right, to match the position of the subject matter in Picasso’s work. The characters I chose to include have their horrified facial expressions boldly painted on their stark-white faces. For this, I used black paint and charcoal on scraps of sheetrock. I then decided to digitally chop and layer objects together to capture Picasso’s distinct cubist style. Picasso was known for creating images that contained perspectives on every angle of a subject, all at once. He throws the subject in your face, adding to the dramatic quality of his art.

I wanted to recreate Picasso’s Guernica in a modern way by combining various media, digital photography, painting, and computer technology to bring forth the idea that today’s society still relates to the violence of the past. Sadly, one of the aspects of Picasso’s painting that stands the test of time, next to his artistic ability, is the fact that society can still relate to the appropriation of the devastations of war.

Seeing Picasso’s figures in distress is not a feeling that has been forgotten. It is being recreated all over the world today. There is still war, people are still bombing, and innocent lives are still lost. We are still living Guernica.

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