From May 12, 2018 to September 16, 2018

Face To Face: From Yesterday to Today, Non-Western Art and Picasso presents a comparison of Pablo Picasso’s works with those of non-Western artists, based on an anthropology of art. This juxtaposition raises questions on both sides (nudity, sexuality, impulses and loss) via plastic parallel solutions (disfiguring or deconstructing the body, for instance). It also explores traditions, tasks and major works of art defined as “tribal.”

In Montreal, it is an opportunity for the MMFA to put into question a history of aesthetic appropriations and re-appropriations between a master of modernity (Picasso), ancient non-western arts and contemporary art. How does an ethnological artifact become an aesthetic object? How has so-called primitive art gradually taken a place in our aesthetic pantheon? How do we view yesterday’s objects today? How did Picasso view them and how do contemporary artists view them?

In its quest for an intercultural approach, the MMFA enhances the journey by including and acquiring contemporary works, in particular African art, and by confronting this post-colonialist heritage, including photographs by Edson ChagasOmar Victor Diop, Samuel Fosso, and video artists Theo Eshetu, Mohau Modikaseng, and also visual artists Romuald Hazoumè and Masimba Hwati. Women or feminist artists like Zanele Muholi and Zina Saro-Wiwa, also bring into question stereotypes contained in primitivist imagery of black women.

An exhibition produced by the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in partnership with the Musée national Picasso, Paris. Adaptation by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

On tour: Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas (October 20, 2017 – April 8, 2018).


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Mother and Child, Paris, summer 1907. Musée national Picasso-Paris, Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979.
© Succession Picasso / SODRAC (2018) / © Estate of Picasso / SODRAC (2018). Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY