EventsSeen Beyond

Stalin by Picasso

With very simple means, mainly through collages and voice-over, this video tells the story of a more or less forgotten Picasso-drawing and its consequences. In March 1953, Pablo Picasso drew a portrait of Joseph Stalin on the request of his friend Louis Aragon. The drawing was published in the French communist weekly Les Lettres Françaises together with various texts praising the newly deceased Soviet leader.

On one level, it is a story that evolves around two seemingly opposite icons from the 20th century, Picasso and Stalin, and what they had, or didn’t have, in common. On a different level, it is a story about art and artistic freedom, or un-freedom, and of ways of reading and using images, particularly images of so-called great men. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this anecdote from the beginning of the cold war is how a simple charcoal drawing can stir such strong feelings, discussions and intrigue as this one did.

The screening is a parellel event of the İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanabbe: Modern Times exhibition that starts from the early 20th century and ends with the epistemic shifts of the 1960s. The exhibition, curated by Zeynep Yasa Yaman will be on view through December 30 at SALT Galata, incorporates stories of Western and “other” modernities.

SALT Beyoğlu, Walk-in Cinema
October-December 2012

Stalin by Picasso or Portrait of Woman with Moustache
Lene Berg
2008, 31’
English with Turkish subtitles

more at SALT

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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