Picasso's Guernica (in Basque Gernika) depicts the massacre of Basque civilians by the Spanish military in the early twentieth century, and is considered one of the most powerfully political art works of that century. This project developed by artist Lee Mingwei uses Guernica as a point of departure. The artist and a group of assistants re-create Picasso's famous work in sand over a ten-day period. Midway through its display, the artist returns to alter the work, destroying it over a period of a day by sweeping the sand using a bamboo broom to create a new work characterised by sweeping abstract and gestural forms.
Rather than focusing on the cruelty of the massacre Guernica depicts, Lee Mingwei points to impermanence as characteristic of existence and larger cycles of destruction and creation.
This project is supported by the Australian Centre of Asia Pacific Art (ACAPA), the research arm of the Queensland Art Gallery's Asian & Pacific activities.
Gernika in sand project realized at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art with support from Lin Ming-nang, Lin Chung-hsiang and Yang Hon-pon