Guernica, Updated


guernicaron-english-guernica-05ron-english-guernica-06ron-english-guernica-04 ron-english-guernica-03 ron-english-guernica-07ron-english-guernica-02ron-english-guernica-08ron-english-guernica-01A series of paintings by street artist Ron English, putting various pop cultural spins on Picasso’s 1937 anti-war masterpiece (top). Sez he:

I approach the Guernica template cognizant and reverent of its meaning and cultural significance. It is a visual shorthand for the overwhelming and gratuitous horror of modern war. But I argue that the cultural takeaway of Guernica is actually the opposite. It transforms incomprehensible tragedy into a cartoon narrative, something we can more easily absorb. This is part of the human process, to distance ourselves from the immediacy of undiluted, overwhelming emotions by overlaying a narrative that simplifies, and in effect, takes us down from three to two dimensions. And this is the underlying concept that I grapple with in all my many versions of Guernica.


12 thoughts on “Guernica, Updated

  1. Cot

    Guernica isn’t anti-war. It’s anti-Fascism. Picasso fully supported the use of arms against Franco’s forces and Franco’s allies (Hitler and Mussolini).

  2. rory

    ‘In 2004 Harry and I were commissioned to film a conference by a family friend. It was the usual standard project, nothing new. What we didn’t expect, and were lucky enough to capture on film, was a man standing on his own eating nibbles and savoury snacks in a desperate attempt to look involved.
    Here is a rare snapshot of the unending isolation of Humanity, slowed down and set to some really sad music.’

  3. frank

    An insult to the one thousand, six hundred and fifty killed by the bombing of the Nazi Condor squadron specifically on they knew would be the town’s well attended market on that market day.
    An insult.

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