Friday, 10 September 2010

The Dave Knockles Lectures, 1: The Art of Pablo Picasso

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this, the first in a series of lectures I will be giving on subjects outside my field of expertise.

Today, I will be discussing The Art of Pablo Picasso.


Picasso, perhaps more than any other artist of any period, demands our attention. A celebrity in his own lifetime and creator of some of the most distinctive art in human history, he was a man who constantly reinvented himself and his art. He is regarded as perhaps the greatest and most talented artist that has ever lived, and is conferred the kind of adulation normally reserved for deities, rock stars and movie icons. Part truth, part myth, part legend, his is a reputation that towers higher and higher with each passing year, casting an immovable shadow over the world of art and, it could be argued, over the entire human race's collective unconscious.

He is the artist I am most fiercely passionate about.


Because I think he's a pile of absolute cunting shitcakes.

As I say, I'm fiercely passionate about him. And I will use this platform to expand on my theory that Picasso was, and is, a total pile of fucking nonsense who couldn't even draw a frigging face without royally fucking it up for Christ's sake.

Take a look at the image above, titled 'The Weeping Woman', painted in 1937. Well, the title is handy, because I can make out a woman, and couple of tears too, but - seriously - this looks very little like a weeping woman. If you came across a weeping woman who actually looked like this, you'd assume she'd been brutally gang-raped by a Pantone chart, a creature from the 12th dimension, a rolling pin and a pack of fucking toddlers.

Take a look at this bag of spanners too.

This absolute fucking eyesore is called Woman In An Armchair, and was crapped into existence in 1913. Woman in an armchair? Are you fucking sure, Pablo? Can you see a woman in an armchair? You can? Then I think you need to get to fucking Specsavers, sharpish, mate - BECAUSE THERE IS NO WOMAN, AND NO FUCKING ARMCHAIR. There may be some bristolas in the middle there, but not fucking nice ones.

That's nothing, though, compared to this crime against reason.

This, apparently, is Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 'painted' in 1907.

Now, one might assert that this work, unlike those above, actually fucking looks like something. And I would agree with that point. But surely the most disappointing - even insulting - transgression here is the fact that he had FIVE naked women in front of him and he made them look like THAT.


And I'm assuming they were lookers because they were models. (I've never seen a bad-looking model, apart from when we did a pan-European campaign out of Romania a while back. Jesus. Harrowing, that was. They all looked so fucking sad. I kept saying, 'Cheer up, for fuck's sake! What do you have to be miserable about? You're models!' I didn't know they'd all been press-ganged into a sex squad to service Ceaucescu's generals. But even so - it's still regular work! Did they see my point? Did they shitballs. Pure ego, some people.)

Where was I? I can't remember. Let's move on to what is considered one of Picasso's finest works: Guernica.

Inspired by the German bombing of the Basque town, Guernica, the painting is a stark depiction of the horror of the Spanish Civil War - and of man's capacity to inflict suffering upon his fellow man.

My take on it? Meh. Bit fucking drab, innit? And, YET AGAIN, nothing looks like anything. But I'm getting used to that now.

The true tragedy of Picasso's life, of course, was that the cunt could actually draw!

Look at this self-portrait from 1901.

See? He can do it! I mean, it's a bit rough and that, but it's a proper painting. But even when he's not really fucking about, he can't resist being a prize shithound. Look at 'L'arlequin assis' from 1923.

Everything's there: it looks like something, it's got colours in it, it looks like he can actually draw and...screech!...slam the brakes on, Pablo! It looks like you're getting dangerously close to something good! Better fuck it up, eh?

What a proper, proper cuntshank.

Now some say that Picasso, in the face of the rise of photography, shunned the need for realism in painting and began to dissassemble his subject in order to find new ways of expressing something fundamentally I wonder if I remembered to Sky Plus X Factor over the weekend because I'm bound to be out and I really don't want to miss it, not now it's getting really interesting and Cheryl's got AIDS or whatever it is.

Where was I? I can't remember again. Fuck it, that's enough, innit?

In summary, then, one can view Picasso in a number of ways. As a talentless chancer. As a pointless piss artist. As a certified fucking screwball.

But I prefer to see him as a tortured genius.

Only without the genius.

That concludes the first Dave Knockles lecture. I hope you found it of use. If you'd like to ask any questions about the points I've made, feel free to use the comment facility supplied herewith.

Good day, and thank you for listening.


  1. Dave, as ever, we learn much from your wisdom. From this post in particular I have learned that a young Pablo Picasso looked much like hip super-producer Danger Mouse. I was not aware of this before today, so thankyou.

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  3. Dave, I read your incisive comments on the weeping woman, and it made me realise that this is a study of how much pain can be communicated by a human face. It has the features of a specific person, Dora Maar, whom Picasso described as "always weeping". She was in fact his close collaborator in the time of his life when he was most involved with politics.

    As I let my eyes wander over the sharp surface and am led by the jagged black lines to the picture's centre, her mouth and chin, where the flesh seems to have been peeled away by corrosive tears to reveal hard white bone. The handkerchief she stuffs in her mouth is like a shard of glass. Her eyes are black apertures. When I am inside this picture I am inside pain; it hits me like a punch in the stomach.

    Picasso's insistence that we imagine ourselves into the excoriated face of this woman, into her dark eyes, was part of his response to seeing newspaper photographs of the Luftwaffe's bombing of Guernica on behalf of Franco in the Spanish civil war on April 26, 1937. This painting came at the end of the series of paintings, prints and drawings that Picasso made in protest. It has very personal, Spanish sources. In May 1937 Picasso's mother wrote to him from Barcelona that smoke from the burning city during the fighting made her eyes water. The Mater Dolorosa, the weeping Virgin, is a traditional image in Spanish art, often represented in lurid baroque sculptures with glass tears, like the very solid one that flows towards this woman's right ear. Picasso's father, an artist, made one for the family home.

    As I have seen that in different versions the Weeping Woman's face is crushed to an abject lump, twisted out of recognition, I ask myself if Picasso was merely truly tortured, as you say, or fucking blind as well?

  4. Dave,

    Fantastic article and very amusing.

    It amused me as I recall wandering around the Tate Modern with a friend for no other reason other than to kill time before going to the pub. The reason I mention it is that as we walked round the gallery taking the piss out of all the crap that people consider to be art my friend pipes up and says "What a load of shite, looks like it's been painted by a three year old". Seems that Pablo Picaso has been passing off kids crappy finger painting off as his own work.

    If you are ever in London and would like a good laugh, I suggest a trip to the Tate Modern, it was definitely one of the funniest free afternoons I have close attention to what appears to be damage caused by an earthquake but on closer inspection turns out to be a man made fracture in the floor.......christ knows why but apparently it's all art......load of bollocks if you ask me ;-)

  5. I bet Picasso was the sort of kid, who if was at my school we'd all bully because he smelt of piss and his parents dressed him funny, bet ya anything you like.