I am sickened [it read] by the spectacle of your obstinately closed door. It indicates that a new aristocracy has been created, transcending classes—one that finds ordinary people not worthy of notice. What do you care that I am starving as a poet? But you are wrong, because no matter how great a creative genius you may be, you cannot prevent posterity from classifying you as the symbol of an age in which man has revealed himself incapable of making judgments on a moral basis. (A generation has the artists it deserves.) Ours is the age of the hyena and the jackal…. Monsieur Picasso, you are walled off within your citadel…. Outside is the street and the street is tomorrow…. I find you enormously gifted, but what a mess you leave for those who follow!
The Atlantic Magazine: Picasso Speaking: Carlton Lake, Paris critic for The Christian Science Monitor recounts a visit with Pablo Picasso at his home.
The it in the above, is the content of a poster. Several copies had been stuck to the railings of Picasso’s residence (situated on a slope rising from Cannes) and almost torn off, rendering them unintelligible. This one, unmutilated, had been stuck to a neighbour’s fence.
Picasso achieved immense fame in his lifetime. His artistic innovations still cast their shadows over the art world. Art would not be what it is today without the Picasso inheritance. When I did my fine art degree in the 1980s, I chose to write my dissertation on Picasso’s pivotal 1907-08 work: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, so that I could lay his ghost. I was actually trying to find out where my work stood historically in relation to his, though sadly, I didn’t know this at the time.
In order to do his work, Picasso created his own solitude which nobody suspects. I don’t think this references a place in space and time. His residences and studios besieged by starving poets and others wanting to touch his cloak, I think he found places from which to create that were not plotted on any map. I think these were his thin places.
I’ve just recently written about thin places. Having just recently come across the expression, in the form of the Irish Gaelic: Caol ait or Ait Caol, I realised that these are the places I go for solitude, so that I can do my work and that these are places that can only be mapped poetically. That is, they are not in the concrete world. I think they can be accessed via certain known physical places – google thin places to find these – but also via places particular to each individual.