Recreating the Guernica

The same day we had a lecture given to us about the painting created by Picasso, we had been asked to choose an issue in the world and to create a manifesto.

We were put into groups of five or six. Using three A2 pieces of cartridge paper, we taped them together to replicate the three panels that were used as a compositional theme in the Guernica. Based on the issues we had chosen to explore, we analysed Picasso’s images in the painting and looked at the fragmentation and distortion of images. From looking at these images we sketched out what drawings and images would symbolise the issues that formed the manifesto, sketching them in the style of Picasso.

The issue my group had decided to explore was the issue of Equality for Genders. There were many genders we decided to explore. Of all the 58 genders we could explore we chose to stick to the predominant types: male, female, trans-gender and non-binary. Images we had sketched out included a tortured man being abused by a human-animal hybrid of a woman with the horns of a bull, insinuating an aggressive woman. Going across the painting to the right we drew a ribcage breaking apart symbolising the issues of women binding their chests to make them look masculine. A problem arising with binding is that if a chest is not bound correctly it can result in the breakage of ribs. We also drew in several large doors with signs on to represent different genders. The eye at the top of the piece represents how society in general looks down on the fight for gender equality and difference. The baby in the blanket with toy cars symbolises the traditionalist views on gender and separation, for example colours and styles with objects and clothing. The wolves to the right of the baby which are combined with dark pleading figures represent wolf whistling and the many people that are judged for the way they look or act to express the body they are in. With the wolves looking up to the nude female/horse hybrid, the image is almost sacrificial and omnipotent to symbolise how the female body is objectified in images in society, such as magazines, the internet, videos and other media. A blanketed baby is seen again further to the right along with two other doors with signs on, and various genitals and body parts representative of indifference.

After we sketched out the composition and the images that we wanted to be featured in the piece, we started painting. There were various images that we couldn’t include, simply because they were not legible, or because they were so detailed they could not be seen from far away. In the context the painting would be seen, this would be in a large gallery. With the original painting by Picasso, the scale of images in the piece were large and distinctive from the other elements of the piece making things recognisable from at least 15ft away from the painting.

After completing the paintings, we presented each of them as groups to the class. I was very impressed with the work the other groups did. What I think our group could have improved on with our painting was the composition and use of shades of grey, black and white in the painting which could be made to be more distinct from each other as it had been within Picasso’s painting. The painting of the woman/bull hybrid to the left of the painting was very distracting from the centre of the painting which we felt was of significant importance. Because the hybrid was painted black and was looking out of the painting, it guided the viewer’s eyes into a different direction.


Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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