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Guest curator explores the lingering impact of Picasso’s Guernica in new Remai Modern exhibition

For immediate release — October 5, 2021 

SASKATOON, CANADA — Pablo Picasso’s iconic anti-war painting Guernica is the inspiration for a new exhibition in Remai Modern’s Picasso Gallery. Featuring contemporary artists including Art & Language, Adad Hannah and Goshka Macuga, among others, this exhibition provides a powerful example of Picasso’s lingering impact on contemporary art, and the 1937 work’s continued influence on activist, political art. 

The artists in Guernica Remastered produce works that emulate Picasso’s composition while speaking to present-day concerns. The show is guest curated by Dr. Alma Mikulinsky, an art historian and Picasso expert based in Toronto.

Guernica has exceeded its status as a work of art. It is an icon and cultural emblem that has reached an almost mythical status and remains an enduring symbol of anti-war sentiment and political action,” said Mikulinsky. “The work is an inspiration for contemporary artists, much like the way Picasso himself looked to previous generations.”

Though the original painting remains in Spain, the contemporary artists featured at Remai Modern take Guernica’s familiar images and themes into the present day. Through video, sculpture, painting and more, the artists showcase Guernica not as a singular masterpiece but as an evolving, oft reproduced, and powerful political symbol. These newer works are shown alongside several works from Remai Modern’s Picasso linocut collection.

Guernica Remastered runs from October 9 to February 27 in the Picasso Gallery on Level 3. On October 16 at 2 PM, artist Adad Hannah will take part in an online talk through Zoom. Visit remaimodern.org to register. For this exhibition, Hannah is creating a nearly life-sized recreation of the work in the gallery space. In addition to providing an introduction to his practice, Hannah will describe how (and why) he worked with a small group of art students from the University of Saskatchewan to build a large, three-dimensional interpretation of Guernica from everyday objects. 

Artists featured in Guernica Remastered:

·       Art & Language

·       Rudulf Baranik

·       Sorel Etrog

·       Adad Hannah

·       Robert Longo

·       Dora Maar

·       Goshka Macuga

·       Ad Reinhart

·       Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens 

·       Jan Van Ray

About Guernica

Picasso painted Guernica over 80 years ago as a reaction to the ongoing civil war in Spain, his home country. He was horrified by the destruction of the Basque city of Gernika by German and Italian armies. He channelled this emotion into a large mural that was the central piece at the Spanish Pavilion during the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris.

The painting Guernica went on to travel across Europe and the United States, with the intention of raising funds to support the left-wing republicans fighting in the Spanish Civil War. When the fascists won in 1939, Picasso declared that Guernica would not return to Spain as long as General Franco was in power and until democracy was restored. 

As a pro-democracy symbol during a period of numerous major international conflicts, its global reputation grew. Guernica was on extended loan to the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1940 until 1981. It then was finally returned to Spain where it is displayed at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. The painting was also reproduced extensively, transforming it into an icon, an image of protest and resistance to fascism. Since then, it has come to symbolize anti-war sentiments, reaching beyond its historical context.

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon. The museum is committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era.

Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints.

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund, SaskArts and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager