Francis Picabia

Paroxysm of Pain

1915
Anarchistic, subversive and a great individualist, Picabia was one of the most active and original members of the Dada movement. In 1912 Picabia met Marcel Duchamp, who influenced his thinking and prompted him to use mechanical objects as ciphers for human emotions and sexual relations. Picabia developed an anthropomorphic reading of machines that are disguised in a quasi-abstract image. The apparatus in this work was most likely copied from a popular science book. Paroxysm of Pain refers to a sudden, overwhelming violent emotion; we can imagine the handle being rotated in a slow, grinding motion causing intense pain.
Title
Paroxysm of Pain
Date
1915
Medium
Painting
Materials
ink and metallic paint on cardboard
Dimensions
80 x 80 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 1982
Accession number
28111