UCCA Beijing

“Adventures with Picasso” Series
Session 2


In conjunction with the exhibition “Picasso – Birth of a Genius,” UCCA presents four weekends of exhibition-related public programs includingpanel discussions, the performing arts, and cinema. The series, titled “Adventures with Picasso,” seeks to introduce audiences to the life and work of the great artist in a variety of different formats. Scholars will discuss the relationship between Picasso and China in a symposium on June 15. The director of Museo Picasso Málaga, poet Xi Chuan, and other experts will discuss Picasso’s Spanish identity, along with his poetry. Two French creative directors under the moniker “I Could Never Be a Dancer,” pianist Gao Ping, percussionist Liu Gang, and the Beijing-based Creative Composers Collective (3C), will create original work inspired by the connection between Picasso’s paintings and his theater collaborations. After learning about the many aspects of Picasso’s artistic practice from experts in the field, audience members will also have anopportunity to catch a glimpse of the artist’s personal history in a set of recordings and documentaries, some of which are being screened for the first time in China.



“Picasso’s South” Roundtable Discussion

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Málaga, a port city in Southern Spain, in 1881. In his early years he received formal artistic training in Barcelona, and later entered the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. His time spent in Spain greatly influenced his work. On June 29, UCCA invites José Lebrero Stals, Artistic Director of the Picasso Museum in Malaga, Professor of art history Eugenio Carmona, and poet Xi Chuan to discuss Picasso’s Mediterranean character, Spanish cultural identity, and poetry. Martin López-Vega, director of the Culture Department at the Cervantes Institute in Madrid, will moderate this conversation.

During this roundtable, the four speakers will focus on the exhibition Picasso’s South. Andalusian References (Picasso Museum Málaga, 2018), using the works in the exhibition to compare local and popular culture, as well as illustration, in Malaga, Coruna, Barcelona, and Paris. The speakers will also examine Picasso’s poetry, which defies typical literary categories and definitions.


José Lebrero Stal (Artistic Director of Museo Picasso Málaga)

José Lebrero Stals (Barcelona, 1954), has a bachelor’s degree in information science from the Autonomous University of Bellaterra, and a master’s degree in digital multimedia Design and Production from La Salle-Ramón Llull University(Barcelona). He also studied art history and politics at the University of Cologne in Germany. He was an advisory member of the Acquisitions Technical Committee of the Frac Rhône-Alpes Institute of Contemporary Art in Lyon (1998-2005), and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Museo Picasso Málaga (2004-2006). In addition, he has been a regular contributor to national and international newspapers and publications specializing in contemporary art. Between 1996 and 2002, he was chief curator for the exhibition department at Barcelona’s Museu d’Art Contemporani. He has worked with institutions like the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, Fundación Miró in Barcelona, Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf, and Folkwang Museum in Essen. Between 2003 and 2009, he was the director of the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville. Since October 2009, he has held the post of artistic director at the Museo Picasso Málaga, where he has curated several exhibitions, including The Factor, Movements and Sequences: Collection, Picasso: German Records, Retrospective Warhol, Mechanical Art (CaixaForum Barcelona, CaixaForum Madrid and Museo Picasso Málaga), and Picasso’s South. Andalusian References.

Eugenio Carmona (Professor of Art History)

Eugenio Carmona is a professor of art history at the University of Málaga, chairman of the Málaga Picasso Foundation, and a researcher at the European Science Foundation dedicated to Cubism. He is an advisor of the Art Collection Contemporary atthe Patio Herreriano Museum of Valladolid, Tenerife Space of the Arts (TEA), Óscar Domínguez Institute, and Casa Natal Museum of Picasso in Málaga. In recent years, he has been a board member and executive committee member at the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum, art advisor of the Telefónica Foundation, and counselor at the Institute of Culture of the MAPFRE Foundation. Currently, Carmona is focusing his research on Spanish modern and contemporary art, especially work by Picasso, Gris, Miró, and Dalí, and is a specialist on the New Art movement (1906-1956). His research also taps into Cubism.

Xi Chuan (Poet)

Xi Chuan is a poet, translator, and essayist. Born in 1963, he graduated from the English Department of Peking University in 1985, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Iowa in 2002. He previously taught at the School of Humanities at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he also served as deputy dean and librarian. He is currently a professor at Beijing Normal University. Since the 1980s, he has devoted himself to the national youth poetry movement. His creative and poetic ideas have had a wide influence on contemporary Chinese poetry. He has published more than 20 poems, essays, reviews, translations, and works. His awards include National Lu Xun Prize for Literature (2001), and Cultural China: Person of the Decade (2001-2011) by Shanghai Oriental Morning Post. He was also one of the top ten winners of the 1999 Weimar International Essay Prize Contest in Germany.

Martín López-Vega (Director of the Culture Department at the Cervantes Institute)

Martín López was born in 1975 in Asturias, and has a PhD in Spanish Cultural Studies. He is now director of the Culture department at the Cervantes Institute in Madrid. Prior to that he, was an editor for the Culture section for El Mundo, deputy director for La Central Callao, director of publishing and distribution for Vaso Roto, and assistant lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese at University of Iowa. He also writes prose, novels, and poetry. His writings critiquing literature, art, and film can be seen in a number of mainstream Spanish newspapers and publications.


Institute Cervantes Pekin

Institute Cervantes Pekin is a non-profit organization founded by the Spanish government to promote Spanish language, and Spanish and Hispanic cultures. Founded in 2006, Institute Cervantes Pekin is under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Embassy.


The Adventure of Modern Art: Picasso and his gang (1906-1916)

Year: 2015

Directors: Amélie Harrault, Pauline Gaillard, Valérie Loiseeux
Genre: Documentary
Country: France
Language: French
Runtime: 52 min

© 2015 Silex Films – Arte France – F.Pinault

The documentary series is made up of six episodes, explaining the historical background, features, and techniques of modern art, from Post-Impressionism to Cubism, and Dada to Surrealism. The show features a number of famous artworks, and useseasy-to-understand language in order to provide audiences the opportunity to expand their understanding of modern art. The episode screening at UCCA will focus on Picasso.


Jia Peng: “Understanding” Picasso

As early as the 1920s, Pablo Picasso became famous for his work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which propelled the development of Cubism, and extended its influence to theater, literature, and music. His genius inspired awe in the people around him, but his fame was not without controversy. UCCA invites Jia Peng, an expert on restoring oil paintings, to provide audiences a glimpse into his interdisciplinary approach, utilizing not only research from fields in the humanities, but also scientific tools like X-ray, infrared, and Raman spectrum, and the study of pigments, in order to decode Picasso’s work.


Jia Peng (Senior Oil Painting Expert Restorer)

Jia Peng holds a BFA in oil painting from the Central Academy of Fine Art, and an MA in Conservation and Restoration of Oil Paintings from the Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Avignon in France, where he is a certified conservator and restorer of paintings. He is currently the director of the sixth studio (oil painting protection, restoration, and material research) at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, head of the Today Art Conservation-Restoration Research Center at Today Art Museum, a resident expert at the China Certification & Inspection (Group) Co., Ltd. (CCIC), and a distinguished guest researcher at the China Institute of Arts Science & Technology, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He is a member of Maison des Artistes, Fédération Française des Professionnels de la Conservation-Restauration, and the International Council of Museums. He completed the restoration of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ oil painting Vow of Louis XIII for the National Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, as well as those for works at the Musée Calvet in France, and participated in the conservation of Frank Gehry and Gerhard Richter’s work with the Louis Vuitton Foundation. He also provides conservation, restoration, assessment, and identification expertise for the Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC), Union Bank of Switzerland, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Yuz Museum, domestic and international auction companies, galleries, domestic customs, and public security organs, in addition to a number of other intuitions.


The Mystery of Picasso

Year: 1956

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Screenplay: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Pablo Picasso

Cast: Pablo Picasso
Genre: Documentary
Country: France
Language: French
Runtime: 78 min

Awards: Cannes Special Jury Prize

In the summer of 1956, the famous French director Henri-Georges Clouzot received the consent of Picasso to film the documentary The Secret of Picasso. The film faithfully recorded the artist’s creation of more than 20 paintings. Picasso once said: “As far as I am concerned, a painting is the result of destruction.” After the filming of this documentary was completed, Picasso destroyed all of the paintings painted during the filming process, making the film an even more important piece of documentation.


The Reverberations of Picasso’s Canvases

Visitors to “Picasso – Birth of a Genius” at UCCA will find evidence of Picasso’s theatrical collaborations with musicians, choreographers, and theater directors. In addition to his sketches of harlequins (a common figure in commedia dell’arte) and ephemera from the concerts and cafes in which he frequently interacted with musicians, viewers can also see his set and costume design for the ballet Le Tricorne, one of several theatrical productions he collaborated on with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. While designing the sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes, Picasso worked with and befriended composers like Stravinsky, Satie, DeFalla, and Milhaud.

UCCA invites renowned composer and pianist Gao Ping and percussionist Liu Gang to create a musical response to theexhibition, incorporating music from the ballets Picasso worked on, as well as motifs from well-known pieces by Picasso’s musical collaborators. Listeners may catch a snippet of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring or Erik Satie’s Parade. Gao Ping seeks to give audiences a glimpse into the musical and theatrical environment Picasso was immersed in, surrounded by those who—similar to Picasso—were determined to break conventions in the arts.


Still Life I (improvisation)

Acrobates (from Parade) by Eric Satie

Still Life II (improvisation)

La Soirée dans Granade by Debussy

Still Life III      

Prestidigitateur Chinois  (from Parade)  by Eric Satie                                         

Danse de la Meuniere (from Le Tricorne) by Manuel de Falla

Still Life IV


Gao Ping (Composer, Pianist)

Born in Chengdu, Gao Ping is a composer and pianist. He obtained a Master’s degree in piano and doctorate in composition in the US during the 90s. Ever since, Gao has been commissioned by numerous international musicians and groups. His works have been performed in international music festivals in Aspen, Dresden, and Wellington, as well as in concert halls includingCairns, Lincoln Center, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Gao Ping’s album Portrait of a Storyteller and a Composer and Piano Quintet – Plum, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum were released by Naxos worldwide to much acclaim. Italy’s Percorsi Musicali praised Gao Ping’s work as ”being filled with wonderful detailsworth discovering…The powerful ability to create an image of January based on words or simple emotions has made Gao Ping one of the most important composers in China this year.” In 2017, China Record Corporation and People’s Music Publishing House released Outside the Window — Selected Piano Works by Gao Ping and Light Breeze — Gao Ping’s Ethnic Chamber Music respectively. In the beginning of 2016, Gao Ping started to organize and compose artist Mu Xin’s musical manuscriptsat the request of Mu Xin Art Museum director and artist Chen Danqing. At the end of 2016, Gao Ping organized “Mu Xin Concert Premiere” at the Wuzhen Theater. Gao Ping is now a professor of composition, and director of the composition department at Capital Normal University. Prior to that, he taught at University of Canterbury School of Music in New Zealand for many years. Gao Ping was invited to be the resident composer for New Zealand’s Wellington Orchestra in 2018.


Liu Gang (Percussionist)

Liu Gang is an associate professor at the Central Conservatory for Music, director of the percussion section of the Orchestra Department, first timpanist for the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ Orchestra, and first percussion for the China National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing and teaching, he is also committed to educating the public aboutpercussion. Published by Shanghai Music Publishing House, Professor Gang’s Percussion Manual is the first handbook for translating the names of Western percussion instruments into Chinese. His compositions, including The Sun Shines on Tashkurgan, When I Fall in Love, and Breaking Walnuts, have been widely performed in China’s domestic percussion scene. He released the DVD album Marimba Conjecture in 2017, and published Central Conservatory Music Test Materials for Drums in 2018.