Picasso and shattered space – precursor to installation?

Shapes and forms were the building blocks for the cubists’ language in which Pablo Picasso featured predominantly. This language provided a fresh and different vision of how things were in reality, by getting beyond surface appearances and create an experiential art where thought is provoked.

Brutally destroying predefined concepts of beauty and allowing it to be exposed to other cultural interpretations of it.  

In his late years, Picasso believed that art could be the light, which saves people from the growing Nazi regime. Himself shattered by the forthcomings of this newly founded power, Picasso reinterpreted his art to lead the viewer into an emotional mirroring of reality; this being frightening, sexual or deeply shocking.

He reverted to various languages for inspiration. A newfound collection of ancient statues in the South of Spain and later by a set of African masks. These new sources provided him with new tools with which to experiment, irritate and shock – much as the Spanish PICAdero did during bullfights.

Much in line with philosopher Pascal, Picasso’s subjectivism is not rationalistic but existential – placing the awareness of a corrupt existence on the corrupted man. Doing so, the artist provoked his audience to live his art and become an active protagonist in it.

The later development of installation art grabbed the idea of experimentation and took the concept, not just away from a plane but out into a whole space. Elements of free play with objects became common language. This reflected Picasso’s (but also Braque’s) efforts at deconstructing reality into different spaces through their collages and sculptures out of found objects and scraps. Their assemblage techniques are nowadays being reinterpreted though the latest technologies into huge installations.


  1. Modern Masters: Pablo Picasso – Documentary – www.bbc.co.uk/modernmasters
  2. The Aesthetics of Modernism by Joseph Chiari