UCCA Beijing

“Adventures with Picasso” Series Session 3


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.






Throughout his artistic career, Picasso experimented with diverse forms of expression. As a young artist, he discovered the world of the performing arts, and was particularly fascinated by circus and dance. He began collaborating with Serge Diaghilev in the 1910s, and designed the sets and costumes for several productions by the Ballets Russes, including Le Tricorne (1919), which is richly documented in the exhibition. The dynamics of movement are featured in much of Picasso’s work as a painter, draftsman, and engraver, ranging from acrobats and the figure of Harlequin to cabaret dancers, and from bacchanal scenes to traditional Spanish dance.


The performance PEPI  has been created exclusively for the exhibition “Picasso – Birth of A Genius,” running at UCCA from June 15 to September 1, 2019. Artistic duo I Could Never Be A Dancer pays tribute to Picasso’s Mediterranean roots and the choreographic forms that inspired the artist. As they come into contact with different styles of performance (circus, urban dance, flamenco), audience members will have the opportunity to experience a Cubist deformation of bodily perception. This performance is a Doors initiative.


José Manuel Álvarez (Flamenco Dancer) and Lucas Balbo (Percussionist) 

José Manuel Álvarez is a flamenco dancer born in Sevilla in 1985. He has worked with directors such as Rafael Estévez, Rubén Olmo, Marco Flores, Juan Carlos Lérida, Emilio Fernández, Javier Latorre and Pepa Gamboa and with artists such as Antonio Canales, Las Migas, tap dancer Roxane Butterfly, the company Increpación Danza and the master of tar Hamid Khabbazi. At an international level, José Manuel has worked with Craig Rivel, with whom he joined forces in the musical “Flamen’ka Nueva” in Paris and London. José Manuel Álvarez has been part of the Marco Flores’ company in the productions “Laberíntica” (2014) and “Enter the Game” (2016).


Born in Buenos Aires in 1988, Lucas Balbo was trained in flamenco and Afro-Latin percussion with cajón flamenco masters like Isreal Suarez (Piraña), Lucky Lozada, and leading figures such as Huber Reyes (Peru), Julio Morales (Argentina) and Cheik Gueye (Guinea). He already had the honor of working with leading flamenco figures such as La Farruca, Eva Yerbabuena, Marco Flores, Karime Amaya, among others. He has collaborated with Jose Manuel Álvarez in “Bailes Colaterales,” “Hostal Pascual” and in the choreographic piece “D-Structures” presented in Théatre de la Ville (Paris), Ciutat Flamenco 2017, and Circuito Bucles 2018.


Mamadou Bathily and Taylor Chateau (Bonebreakers)

Mamadou Bathily (Bats) and Taylor Chateau (Taylor) are choreographers, dancers, models, and actors. They are part of the dance group Electro Street. They have collaborated with Blanca Li and appeared in commercials for Diesel, Replay, Louboutin, Longchamp, Givenchy, Zegna and Balmain. They both started dancing in 2007, and developed their art while winning titles and awards in international competitions. They form an original duet with their own distinctive style, a mix of urban dance and contortionism.


Shi Meiyu and Shi Meiru (Acrobats)

Shi Meiyu and Shi Meiru are twin sisters and acrobats. They are part of the China National Acrobatic Troupe, and have performed in their productions internationally, in countries including Russia, USA, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Cambodia.



Founded in 2017 by Bérénice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan, Doors is a Franco-Chinese agency specialized in the production and promotion of art and culture. Through creative projects and innovative events, their goal is to open doors and facilitate cultural exchange between China and Europe. Recent projects include the Jimei x Arles photo festival in Xiamen and the exhibition “Picasso – Birth of A Genius,” while Doors is collaborating with cultural institutions such as Centre Pompidou, Philharmonie de Paris, Jeu de Paume, Lille World Design Capital, and Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson on new China projects.



Simon Porte Jacquemus was born in 1990 in Salon-de-Provence. In 2009, aged 19, he launched the brand JACQUEMUS as a tribute to his mother, who had passed away the year before. In 2015, he won the LVMH Special Prize. In May 2017, he showed his collection “Les Santons de Provence” for the second time as part of the event “Marseille, je t’aime” and three other exhibitions in Marseille. The same year, he also celebrated the launch of his book, made in collaboration with thirteen artists, paying tribute to Marseille and the south of France. Simon draws his inspiration from his native province and the Mediterranean region. JACQUEMUS women’s clothing is inspired by the women in his life, with each collection telling a story and referencing his memories.



Le Mystère 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.


Picasso, the Making of an Icon

Year: 2015

Director: Hopi Lebel

Screenplay: Stéphane Guégan

Genre: Documentary

Country: France

Language: English

Runtime: 52 min

Precocious genius, visionary and committed artist, the inventor of modern art, seducer, and patriarch: the image of Pablo Picasso has been in constant evolution since he started out at the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre. Focusing on Picasso’s public persona, this documentary traces this exceptionally talented artist’s mastery of mass media, and his role writing his own legend, to the point of subsuming his private life, so that the man and the artist became one. By exploring rare archival material, including family documents, and with analysis provided by art historians and artist Jeff Koons, a new light is shone upon the world’s most famous painter. Special thanks to Olivier Widmaier Picasso, INA, Seventh Art Productions, and Sinapses Conseils.


Picasso: A Spanish Artist Who Writes Poetry


Exhibition on Screen: Young Picasso

Year: 2019

Director: Phil Grabsky
Genre: Documentary
Country: UK
Language: English
Runtime: 91 min

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest artists of all time—and right up until his death in 1973, he was the most prolific of artists. Many films have dealt with these later years—the art, the affairs and the wide circle of friends. But where did this all begin? What made Picasso in the first place? Too long ignored, it is time to look at the early years of Picasso; the upbringing and the learning that led to his extraordinary achievements. Three cities play a key role: Malaga, Barcelona, and Paris. Young Picasso visits each of them, and explores their influence on Picasso, focusing on specific artworks from these early years. The film thus explains how this young artist acquired his craft. Looking carefully at two key early periods – the so-called Blue Period and Rose Period—the film takes us all the way to 1907 and the creation of a critical painting in the history of art—Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It was a painting that shocked the art world but changed it irrevocably. Picasso was only 25 years old. Working closely with all three Picasso Museums in Malaga, Barcelona, and Paris, this film explains how he rose to great heights. Special thanks to Olivier Widmaier Picasso, INA, Seventh Art Productions, and Sinapses Conseils .


French Embassy
Swiss Embassy
Institut Français de Pékin
Exhibition On Screen
INA France
Olivier Picasso
Sinapses Asia


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