As part of the Classique ! group show - From July 16th to September 17th, 2022 - we are glad to introduce La vie de Pablo by Daniel Pengrapher. 

La vie, Pablo PicassoLEFT. PABLO PICASSO, LA VIE, 1903. Oil on canvas. 193x130 cm. Collection of Cleveland Museum of Art
RIGHT. DANIEL PENGRAPHER, LA VIE DE PABLO, 2022. Acrylic on canvas. 150x100 cm


La vie de Pablo by Daniel Pengrapher draws inspiration from two artworks that marked the career of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. While the Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is easily recognisable in La Vie (2022), at the centre of the painting, shown on canvas on the floor, the pictorial composition of the work is similar to the one of La Vie (1903) - which is considered the pinnacle of Picasso’s blue period. Daniel Pengrapher transforms the original title to link it directly to its creator. He shows how Picasso's life played a role in the construction of his artistic vision and the birth of strictly different styles. 

The blue period represents the sadness and distress of Pablo Picasso in the midst of mourning. In La Vie, Picasso references his deceased friend, Carlos Casagemas who is the focal point for this piece and whose unsatisfied love led him to his end. La Vie illustrates the cycle of life, and the canvas that is placed on the floor within the painting announces the final act. Daniel Pengrapher replaces this representation of death with the masterpiece at the origin of the cubism movement: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. This work, which reflects the fear of the artist regarding death and diseases, marks his artistic rebirth and the beginning of his international recognition. 

Les demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso
ABOVE. PABLO PICASSO, LES DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON, 1907. Oil on canvas. 204x234 cm. Collection: MoMA, New York.

La vie de Pablo embodies the appropriation of Pablo Picasso’s art by Daniel Pengrapher. It bears witness to the way young generations feed their art with past influences to write the present, in the same way that the silhouettes displayed in La Vie were freely coming from Noli me tangere (1522-1523) by Correggio. Echoing the neutral facial expressions of Picasso’s characters, the faces Pengrapher paints disappear or are adorned with an expressionless mask. The artist details: “The face you see is adorned with some make-up. So, by wearing it, the characters stay present in every situation disguised as a façade observer.”

With La vie de Pablo, Daniel Pengrapher adresses Picasso’s art richness and diversity by including two of Picasso's iconic periods that built his fame: the blue period and cubism. The young Nigerian painter rebuilds the tormented spirit of Picasso through the events that shaped his life while also disseminating some contemporary elements to create a bridge between the past and present. Thus, La vie de Pablo materialises a creative cycle: from death shaking the artist’s landmarks, marking and transforming its art; until his rebirth. 


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