In 1917 Pablo Ruiz Picasso set up his studio at number 110 Via Margutta in Rome to paint the sets for the ballet Parade. Half a century later Federico Fellini moved into the same house. The coincidence could well be a metaphor for the relationship between artist and filmmaker: they never met but their paths crossed on several occasions, mainly in the dreams of the Italian director. Four times, he said, he dreamed of the Malaga-born artist, an appearance that sparked the latest exhibition at the city's Picasso Museum (MPM): And Fellini Dreamed of Picasso, which opened on Tuesday.
The idea of the pair's paths crossing without them ever actually meeting is continued in the staging of the exhibition where the work of both creators is positioned so they can look, but not touch.
The aim, said the MPM's artistic director José Lebrero, is to create “iconographic juxtaposition between the works of Picasso and the sequences of Fellini”. In other words the visitor is not spoon-fed but left to ponder the common threads that go through both artists' work: the world of the circus, the female form and a passion for classical antiquity.
“Fellini and Picasso are two different characters, but their work can be compared in different ways. [...] This imaginary dialogue that starts in dreams takes shape in the museum. [...] Their works continue the conversation,” said the curator Audrey Norcia of the project inspired by Fellini's experiences described in his own Book of Dreams.
The filmmaker's works in the show include three sketches (he earned a living as a cartoonist before revolutionising the world of film) in which he drew Picasso as he appeared in his dreams. In the section devoted to women the exhibition displays how each artist, in his own way, depicted voluptuous, lascivious and almost grotesque figures and the circus link comes in a series of photographs of the artists in fancy dress, playing instruments or striking comical poses. The exhibition is accompanied by a documentary about the pair by Isaki Lacuesta.