Scene4 Magazine — International Magazine of Arts and Media
Scene4 Magazine: Arthur Meiselman
Arthur Meiselman
Owning Picasso

I have a friend who owns a Picasso... and not much else. Which one? Don't ask, don't tell. He acquired this painting via less than legal and righteous means. It involved a married woman, a tawdry brother, a... never mind! He possesses it, it's his, and it's worth a Russian oligarch fortune.

What does it mean to own, to possess a Picasso? Think about it. You have in front of you an image that began in the Spaniard's head, followed the smoke plumes from his ever-present cigarette into his hands, covering his eyes, animating his body, and then brushed on to a canvas in private moments, intimate moments that could never be shared. It is an image that contains the invisible mystery of Picasso's feelings, that contains his breath, his drops of sweat, his skin cells, the lingering resonance of his grunts and moans. It is an image that "is" Picasso.

If you're not a painter, have you wondered what it is like for a painter to see a work he sold hanging on someone's wall or in an exhibition? There... a piece of his memory, a piece of him, an image that expands into the remembrance of the emotions, the events, all of his life during the creation of the work, all of the dimensions of the world he lived in which no aesthetician or critic or scholar could possibly reconstruct and describe. It is not important to know any of this biographical, historical information  to experience a painting, to feel it, to understand it, to love it. All of that biodegradable data is only voyeuristic vichyssoise for viewers who did not create the painting. Except... for the painter, who sees the painting and steps back into it, becoming part of it again. For some, it must be a painful experience.

So what does it mean to own, to possess a Picasso? It means whatever it means to you, even if you know nothing about it other than what you see on the canvas. It also means... you possess a secret, an image of secrets that only Pablo can share.

My friend owns very little.



©2008 Arthur Meiselman
©2008 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer and the editor of Scene4.
He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms

For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives
Read his Blog


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december 2008

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