Picasso – Birth of a Genius: largest exhibition of works ever held in China

MODERN MASTER Picasso will have his works exhibited in Beijing at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. The “Picasso – Birth of a Genius,” exhibition is the most significant display of Picasso’s work ever held in China, and encompasses 103 works drawn entirely from the collection of the Musée national Picasso-Paris, tracing Picasso’s development from childhood to middle age.


Self-portrait, Paris, end of 1901, Oil on canvas, 81 x 60cm, Musée national Picasso-Paris ©Succession Picasso 2019


The works focus on the period 1893 and 1921 and include 34 paintings, 14 sculptures, and 55 works on paper. Divided into six chapter of Picasso’s life, the exhibition escorts the audience on a journey through the artist’s creative evolution and provokes conversation.

This all unfolds throughout UCCA’s 1800-square-meter Great Hall, the space carefully designed by Studio Adrien Gardère (SAG) with monumental bevelled boxes differentiating the diverse themes united by the show and contributing to the unspoken dialogue between artist and spectator.


The Kiss, Mougins, October 26, 1969, Oil on canvas, 97 x 130cm, Musée national Picasso-Paris ©Succession Picasso 2019

The exhibition seeks to establish a cultural and artistic exchange between France and China, which both countries have expressed the need for. On March 25, 2019, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping met with President of France, Emmanuel Macron, at the Élysée, to discuss the need for increasing cooperation between the citizens and governments of France and China in the field of art and culture. Xi stressed the need to promote extensive bilateral exchange in the humanities, reaching out to younger audiences in particular – 2021 has been designated as the year of Sino-French cultural tourism.


Head of Woman, Cannes, 1957, Painted and cut wood, 78.5 x 34 x 36cm, Musée national Picasso-Paris ©Succession Picasso 2019

UCCA Director and CEO Philip Tinari has said, “We believe that the story of Picasso is relevant to our audience in China, as individuals here continue to answer the challenges of creativity, originality, and innovation.”

The exhibit is set to be a success and acts as a reminder of the importance of cross-cultural conversation.

by Alicia Pountney

Picasso – Birth of a Genius” is on display from June 15 to September 1, 2019. Exhibition opening hours are Monday to Thursday, 10:00 – 19:00 and Friday to Sunday, 10:00 – 21:00. On June 15, 16, and 29, July 19 and 20, and August 24, opening hours will be 10:00 – 19:00.

Tickets are available at UCCA’s front desk and official WeChat account. Adult tickets valid for one-time admission Monday to Sunday, including holidays, are available for RMB 188; adult tickets for one-time admission Monday to Friday, not including holidays, are available for RMB 158. UCCA Members are eligible for free admission.

Featured image is Reading, Pablo Picasso, Boisgeloup, January 2, 1932, Oil on canvas, 130 x 97.5cm Musée national Picasso-Paris ©SuccessionPicasso2019

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