One of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso (1882–1973), left behind an enormous body of work, spanning many distinct phases and styles, such as the Blue Period, the Rose Period, and his most famous contribution to modern art, Cubism.
Professor of Art History at California State University Long Beach, Karen L. Kleinfelder, Ph.D., describes herself this way: “It seems that I have given the best years of my life to a dead artist: Picasso. Graduating from the University of Michigan in 1989, I wrote my Honors undergraduate thesis, masters thesis, and dissertation on various aspects of Picasso’s art. Published writings include The Artist, His Model, Her Image, His Gaze: Picasso’s Pursuit of the Model and Essays in Picasso: Inside the Image and Fingering Ingres.”
Q: Picasso is commonly thought of as the father of Cubism. Throughout his life, he continually invented new styles. In fact, his work was a continuous metamorphosis of styles. Is this the reason he is thought of as the most influential modern artist?
A: Picasso’s name has become synonymous with Modern Art; it is difficult, if not impossible, to think of one without the other. He may have been only 5’4” in height, but his influence towered over most of the other artists considered Modern Masters. Is that because he is the best artist of them all? Not necessarily, and one wants to avoid ranking artists as if it were a competition. The more curious issue is how Picasso became such a cultural institution in his own right. How, for instance, does he get dubbed “the father of Cubism” when the Cubist project was something he undertook in collaboration with Georges Braque? Cubism’s complexity was bigger and more groundbreaking than any one artist’s vision could contain, and I think the much more interesting story is how these two artists gave birth to it together, and how it was then disseminated in many stylistic directions developed by many artists. The tale of how Cubism grew and expanded is perhaps a bigger story than simply one of influence; it is more an example of a complex system that involved many dynamic elements and players, yet Picasso is the one whose name surfaces as the “originator.” Why does this twisted tale ultimately reduce to him? Perhaps it has something to do with the way his body of work adds up to a complex, non-totalizing whole, like a map of the Cubist project itself. For Picasso, style performs like Cubism by branching into many forking paths and acting out the principle of multiple perspectives.
From the Blue Period to the Rose, from Cubism’s embrace of the “primitive” to his Neo-Classical mannerism after Ingres, from hard-edge grid networks to his sensual, biomorphic nudes, from his precocious student work to the wildly exuberant and expressionistic late paintings, Picasso’s many styles certainly have something to offer everyone and constitute a mini-History of Art in microcosm. Taken in their totality, these many styles, along with the many media he tackled, often seem conflicting and at odds with each other, especially when he combines several in a single work or series. However, his “trickster” capacity to play one hand and then the other attests to another impulse, and that is to avoid being boxed in by the question of style itself. He once said:
“Basically I am a painter without style. Style is often something that locks the painter into the same vision, the same technique, the same formula during years and years, sometimes during one’s whole lifetime. One recognizes it immediately, but it’s always the same suit, or the same cut of cloth. There are, nevertheless, great painters with style. I myself thrash around too much, move too much. You see me here and yet I’m already changed. I’m already elsewhere. I’m never fixed and that’s why I have no style.”
Of course, that artful dodging becomes his style. The desire to elude being defined by any stylistic designation makes Picasso more postmodern than might be suspected. What he embraces is closer to the stylistic pluralism that characterizes our own age rather than allegiance to any particular school or avant-garde movement modeled on competing “isms.” So once again this Modern Master manages to be “influential” even to a more contemporary, postmodern scene that eschews signature or period “style” in favor of destabilizing strategies, cultural diversity, and hybridity.
Q: Picasso’s paintings from the early 20th century seem to reflect different moods. For example, his blue period portrayed sad people, whereas his rose period depicted a more optimistic mood. What was, originally, the intended meaning behind Cubism?
A: One of the key shakeups of Cubism is how it literally “broke the mood.” As Georges Braque so perceptively put it, “In Cubism, the subject is not the object.” Subject matter no longer matters; it is not subject matter that makes or breaks a cubist painting. It is more a question of form. In Cubism, the ways in which painting speaks through its own formal language of line, shape, space, plane, and color starts to eclipse the subject, or rather, starts to become the subject. A cubist painting of a woman, even when Picasso used a model, is less a portrait of a particular woman than a portrait of painting itself. The psychological mood of the sitter or the subject is not the objective. The mood, thus, shifts from emotional expression to one of rigorous analysis. Cubism is born out of a radical rethinking of the medium itself and a critique of the Eurocentric systems of representation based on mimesis, the accurate representation of outward appearances. Is painting to be conceived of as a window extension of our own space? How can we keep clinging to one-point perspective after Cézanne’s shifting perspective, which begins to add a temporal dimension to space? How do we go on mimetically portraying a face once we encounter African masks that diagram rather than mirror the subject? Cubism begins with a set of questions more than any firm, fixed position, and that is the way it should be since Cubism develops into a new way of thinking categorically opposed to the privileging of any single, fixed position. Picasso famously said, “ In the old days, pictures went forward toward completion by stages. Every day brought something new. A picture used to be a sum of additions. In my case, a picture is a sum of destructions. I do a picture, then I destroy it.” Cubism advanced as a sum of destructions: a shattering of one-point perspective, a rupture of the unities of space and time, a breakup of the body into bits and pieces, and a disallowing of the separation of figure and ground. Gone is the pathos of the Blue Period that followed his young friend’s suicide; gone is the more romantic, yet still lingering elegiac tone of the Rose Period. Cubism breaks the mood like it breaks everything else. Picasso and Braque could not have known where all Cubism would lead in the beginning stages of its development, but they did know they were on to something big. They jokingly called each other Orville and Wilbur after the Wright Brothers because they sensed they were taking painting to new heights.
Q: Is it true that the 18th/19th-century Spanish painter Francisco Goya, was Picasso’s idol? If so, what inspiration did Goya’s works provide for Picasso? Also, who were some of his other idols, and did they inspire any of Picasso’s styles?
A: Picasso used to claim he had no compunctions about stealing ideas from other artists’ work, but that he had a horror of copying himself. Late in life, he would do variations on several Old Masters, such as Velázquez, Manet, Poussin, and Cranach. Rembrandt and Van Gogh, two Dutch artists who could not be more different, are both credited with inspiring varying aspects of Picasso’s late style. There would always be a special place for Spanish artists, however, in Picasso’s pantheon. When still a young student, Picasso was inspired by the brooding, dark realism of Ribera. While eagerly looking forward to his first visit to the great Prado Museum of Art in Madrid, Picasso was instructed by his father to study the work of Velázquez from Spain’s Golden Age. He added a warning to his young, impressionable son: stay away from El Greco! Naturally, Picasso made a beeline for El Greco, and the elongated Blue Period figures owe something to that forbidden encounter. It would take another fifty years before Picasso followed his father’s advice and took on Velázquez’s masterpiece, Las Meninas, creating an extensive series of variations in 1957.It might seem strange, thus, that there is no series of variations on Goya’s art in Picasso’s oeuvre, but that does not mean that the older artist did not leave his mark on the younger. Goya’s Caprichos, an astute study of courtly life and the tragicomic caprices that make up human nature, find their parallel in Picasso’s later drawings known as the “Human Comedy.” The horrors of war, something Goya depicted firsthand from living through Napoleon’s brutal invasion of his country in the name of “Enlightenment,” also find a fitting echo in Picasso’s impassioned protest against war, Guernica, painted when Franco joined forces with Hitler to test out the 20th century war machine in a cold, heartless “rehearsal” for world war during the Spanish civil war. Throughout Picasso’s long career, he would return again and again to the theme of the bullfight. In fact, the very first painting we know of by Picasso when he was still a boy is a bullfight, and Goya’s many renditions on this most Spanish of themes are never far from Picasso’s own profound feelings about the ritualistic nature of the running of the bulls. In many ways, Goya’s art lives on through Picasso’s wit and broad, ironic vision that stems from their shared Spanish lineage.
Q: In 1907, Picasso and George Braque pioneered Cubism. How did the art world of that era react to this style?
A: 1907 is the year of the groundbreaking painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, so shocking that Picasso did not even attempt to exhibit it publicly for many years. The avant-garde saw it, nonetheless, in Picasso’s studio, and it managed to shock even these cutting-edge artists. Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein’s partner, said the painting frightened her. Braque exclaimed that it looked like the artist wanted us to eat rope and drink gasoline. Whether the Demoiselles is the first Cubist painting or not is highly debated, but it is clear that it was the birth of something radically new and confrontational. These five women—prostitutes from the red light district of Barcelona — have been described as five of the least seductive nudes in the history of art. They have been called a species of bitch goddess, and when they fix their fierce gazes outward, they assault the viewer and turn us into their “johns.” This is not a painting that stays tucked neatly and securely within its frame. Picasso breaks the frame here, literally as well as figuratively, since he wanted the painting to show just the way it looked in the studio, without a frame and threateningly in your face. He has been accused here of committing pictorial rape on tradition, the nude, and one-point perspective. These women are naked, sexual, and fragmented like the spatial field itself. As the poet Yeats would say in another context, “The center no longer holds; mere chaos is loosed upon the world.” Most disturbing of all is the squatting figure looking at you head-on and rear-on simultaneously. Picasso is mooning the Academy here, and he tops it off with that face! Her lopsided eyes stare out from a mask that shows how boldly Picasso was making use of his new encounter with African art at the Trocadero Museum. What attracted him to the so-called “primitive” arts of Africa was their “sophistication” of form. Eurocentric art would never be the same again. No wonder Alice B. Toklas was frightened.
If the public was not ready for what would follow in the wake of the Demoiselles, the avant-garde was. Georges Braque, still in shock from his encounter with the canvas, went home and painted his version, called the Large Nude. Others started to follow in the years leading up to the First World War, and it would not be long before Cubism was the hip new style. Much imitated and with talk of the fourth dimension filling the cafes, Cubism was nevertheless not well understood. Many of these imitators were still thinking in conventional terms and just adding a cubist gloss like a veneer to the surface to make the paintings look more modern.
Picasso and Braque kept working in tandem, often not able to tell their own works apart, pushing Cubism through its analytical stage to a point of hermeneutics so cryptic that to most the subject was virtually unreadable, only to bring the subject back with a vengeance through collage and the synthetic Cubism that followed. Cubism was truly a revolutionary turning point, changing the way space was rendered on a flat canvas plane in a radical way beyond anything else that had been seen since the Italian Renaissance first invented one-point perspective hundreds of years earlier. Though there is no direct influence, the fact that Einstein published his theory of relativity two years before Picasso painted the Demoiselles seems no coincidence. Space and time had fragmented, with faith in an absolute, fixed Truth giving way to multiple perspectives and shifting frames of reference. Gertrude Stein once said that artists do not live ahead of their time; they just see the composition of the age, while the rest of us still live in the past, trapped by outmoded frames of thinking based on the composition of a previous age rather than the continuous, changing present. Cubism was the composition of the age, for better or worse.
Q: What is the difference between analytical and synthetic Cubism?
A: Analytic Cubism comes before Synthetic. You can think of one as a deconstructive turn, which dismantles the conventional codes of representation and shatters the unities of space and time, while the other is a reconstructive move that picks up the fragmented elements and pieces them back together according to the logic of multiple perspectives and hybrid, often conflicting realities. In the earlier analytical stage, color drops out so Picasso and Braque can concentrate on rethinking how space can be mapped on a flat surface by fragmenting one-point perspective into multiple perspectives. What began as a form of “volumetric flatness” around 1908-09 progressively evolves (or devolves) into a complex grid network by 1911 where the illusion of mass is increasingly flattened and fragmented, suggesting what Einstein had already discovered: that you cannot think space without thinking time, and you cannot think time without thinking space. When the paintings of 1911 became almost impossible to decipher (remember, Braque said that “in Cubism, the subject is not the object”), Picasso reached the point of no return. What he does next is critical. If he goes any further in terms of analysis and abstraction, there will be no subject left. There will only be lines, shapes, and faceted planes on a flattened spatial plane. Does he take that step into complete abstraction? He never does. Instead, when the paintings are no longer readable, he adds words, or rather, word fragments, and starts bringing back symbols and other cues to keep the image hovering between representation and abstraction rather than resolving the conflict one way or the other.
The turning point between analytic and synthetic Cubism is the invention of collage, which happened in a little painting by Picasso as 1911 slipped into 1912. Still Life with Chair Caning brings several disparate elements together: a cubist-fragmented glass seen from shifting perspectives along with the letters—JOU—that form only a word fragment, coupled with a piece of contact paper depicting a commercially printed trompe-l’oeil illusion of chair caning, all topped off by a mock frame formed by a piece of hemp rope surrounding the canvas’ circumference. The representational and the abstract collide here along with the real and the fake, the truth and the fictional. The little canvas is both an analysis and a new synthesis of different, even contradictory modes of representation that show how no single style has more “truth” value than any other.
Cubism, thus, is not simply the breakthrough of abstraction or the privileging of abstraction over realism. It is at once more complex and subversive than that. Cubism points to the fact that all styles— whether realistic or abstract — are just different modes of representing and therefore equally valid. The cubist project does not culminate in the climax or apotheosis of abstraction as some have argued, claiming Picasso was too scared to go “all the way” into complete abstraction. On the contrary, Cubism leads to a conclusion more in keeping with Einstein’s theory of relativity and postmodern’s embrace of diversity and pluralism. Abstraction and realism exist along more of a continuum than in a hierarchical relationship where one trumps the other. Cubism’s multiple perspectives speak of multiple truths rather than any fixed, absolute axiom.
Q: It is said that there is scarcely a 20th-century art movement that Picasso didn’t inspire or contribute to. What are some of those movements, besides Cubism?
A: Much of the first half of the 20th-century art is an unfolding of the cube. The German Expressionists add an emotional edge due to their anxiety-filled experience of fragmented space and time during the years building up to WWI, while Mondrian in Holland pushes Cubism all the way to the non-objective grid. Marcel Duchamp’s ingenious take on the appropriation of the real object—the readymade—was initiated by cubist collage, which opened the way for mixed media through its inclusiveness of materials. A penniless Russian artist, Vladimir Tatlin, crashed in Picasso’s studio for a month while visiting Paris during the time Picasso was busily at work on collage and cubist sculptures. He returned to Russia and after the Communist Revolution developed Russian Constructivism, whose motto, inspired by collage, was “real materials in real space.” The idea was to apply the lessons of Cubism to real-world design by making a functional art that utilized the abstract principles of Cubism’s multiple perspectives and flattened planes in space. Constructivist sculpture stopped being conceived simply in terms of shape and mass. By following the example of Cubism’s dematerialization of matter, the Constructivists turned sculpture from solid mass into a construction of space. Germany Bauhaus picked up on the same principle of applied Cubism to solve the social needs of a machine age through design and architecture modeled on the dematerialization of mass into lines and planes in space. Even Surrealism’s biomorphic dreamscapes and psychic automatist drawings — so different from Cubism’s hard-edge geometric abstraction — still owe a debt precisely because the Surrealists were reacting, in part, against the rational logic of Cubism. Virtually every avant-garde style developed in the first half of the 20th century in one form or another developed from or reacted against Cubism in some way. Even Jackson Pollock’s webs at mid-century can be looked at in terms of pushing past cubist gridlock by finding a way to make a painting hold itself together as tightly as a grid, but without resorting to hard-edge geometry. Both Picasso’s Cubism and Pollock’s webs are examples of structured chaos. Clearly, Cubism was not an easy act to follow. No wonder Pollock reportedly muttered of Picasso, “God damn it, that guy missed nothing!”
In addition to Cubism’s expansive sphere of influence, Picasso led what some saw as a more conservative return to Neo-Classicism during and after WWI, but its gigantic figures proved subversive in their own right. In 1932, under the influence of a new muse—his much younger girlfriend, Marie-Thérèse Walter—biomorphic curves began to supplant the straight edges of his Cubism, and Picasso made art “sexy” again (at least, that is what the later American painter, Frank Stella, claims in his book, Working Space). Picasso was also invited by the Surrealists to design the first cover of their serial publication, titled Minotaure. He made revolutionary advancements both in sculpture and printmaking as well as painting, and the innovative ceramic work he did is finally being given the serious attention it deserves. One of the most prolific artists who ever lived, Picasso’s restlessness meant there were few media and styles left unmarked by him.
Q: Though art appreciation is a very subjective matter, generally speaking, which of Picasso’s works are considered the greatest and/or most popular?
The greatest works are not always the most popular. Certainly, the 1907 Demoiselles d’Avignon, where we see the first signs of the Cubism to come, is arguably the most radical, groundbreaking work of the century. Thirty years later, he paints Guernica, which taps all his various styles: from Cubist fragmentation to simulate the structured chaos of war to a surreal biomorphism in the elastic body language of his Greek chorus of women, along with an expressionistic angst painfully acted out by the weeping women. The saturation bombing of a small Basque town on market day, which meant children and women were even more exposed and vulnerable than usual, would have been just one among countless forgotten atrocities of modern warfare were it not for this painting. Guernica makes a powerful statement about the horrors of war that transcends the specificity of its own context. It is a sad commentary on our times that the painting has remained all-too-relevant all-too-often in the years that have followed.
Q: Picasso and Paul Cezanne were friends. Who were his other friends in the art world? By the same token, did he have any harsh critics?
A: Cézanne died in 1906 when Picasso was still new on the scene in Paris and a virtual unknown. Cézanne’s influence was not through an actual friendship so much as through his art, which Picasso saw in a retrospective exhibition at the Salon d’Automne of 1907. What so amazed Picasso and his friends was the way Cézanne’s paintings were so tightly knit together structurally rather than simply unified or focused on their subject. The key strategy that Picasso and Braque picked up from Cézanne was the use of passage: the way Cézanne faceted together planes in space, linking figure and ground in the process. The lesson of Cézanne’s passage, coupled with the counter-cultural alternative to mimesis represented by African masks, gave Picasso and Braque all they needed to launch Cubism.
Picasso had many other friends in the art world, from other painters to writers and photographers and, late in life, movie stars of the French cinema. Matisse was both a respected rival and friend throughout his life. Gertrude Stein, the avant-garde writer and art collector who was his first important patron, introduced Picasso to Matisse at one of her salons, where he met many other leading cultural figures of the day. The gifted poet Apollinaire, who invented the word “surreal,” was a symbolic father figure to the young Picasso in the early days, but Apollinaire tragically died of head wounds inflicted in the war and never lived past the armistice of 1918. Picasso was on familiar terms with many of the surrealists, and one of his mistresses during WWII, Dora Maar, was a surrealist photographer in her own right. Brassaï, another photographer, wrote a book about his friendship with Picasso and the social circles in which they traveled. The versatile writer, artist, and filmmaker, Jean Cocteau, was an admirer and close friend for many years. At the end of his life, Picasso was surrounded by friends and hangers-on, making it hard sometimes to tell them apart. Curators, dealers, and publishers all wanted something from him and continually tried to win his audience, as if he were the Pope or a king who had to be sought at court. By contrast, he must have missed the early years when he was young, penniless and unknown, but supported by a loyal band of bohemian artists.
As for critics, there were always those who decried the work, but after WWII, Picasso had achieved heroic status, in part because he stayed in Nazi-occupied Paris when many other artists fled. His critics were outnumbered by those who wanted a piece of his celebrity. The aged Picasso would point out a life lesson learned the hard way: when one is young, unknown, and penniless, there are few people who understand what you are trying to do, but when you are old, rich and famous, there are still only a few people who truly understand what you are trying to do. For a long time, a major art journal used to take a poll of leading figures in the art world, asking them who they considered to be the top 10 most underrated and overrated artists. Picasso is the one whose name made both lists most often.
Q: It is said that Picasso had contempt for women artists. Is it true, and if so, why?
A: Picasso once quipped: “For me, there are only two kinds of women—goddesses and doormats.” Fortunately, his body of work unfolds a more complex tale. Take, for instance, his portrait of Gertrude Stein, painted in 1906. A Jewish lesbian from California and a brilliant writer and astute art collector, Stein was neither goddess nor doormat, and it is in the course of trying to paint her image that Picasso was forced to rethink the idea of a portrait likeness and what constitutes a true resemblance. After she had posed for him more than 80 times, he still found that he could not get the face right, so he left town and returned to Spain for the summer. Only then was he able to come to terms with his first encounter with “primitive” art: the ancient Iberian sculpture of Spain. When he returned to Paris and began work on her portrait again, he painted in her face without even seeing her; in other words, he did away with the model. This was a first and very important step in breaking from mimesis. The result was a face that more readily resembles an abstracted mask than a conventional portrait likeness. His next step: the Demoiselles of 1907. Gertrude Stein implied that it was in the process of painting her portrait that Picasso became a man. There is no doubt that Picasso, who had come of age in Spain at the end of the 19th century (he was already 19-years-old when the 20th century began) had never met a woman like Gertrude Stein before, but it is also clear that he respected her. After all, he invented a new style just to be able to do right by her in her portrait. She responded later by writing her “portraits” of him: two poems about the artist and a short book simply titled, Picasso.
Picasso’s love life is the stuff of tabloid journalism and bad movies. Sensationalized accounts talk in highly aroused terms about his ability to destroy women. One wonders if they might be confusing the deformations of his various artistic styles and what he does in his art with what he did in his life. It is true, though, that his love affairs did not end happily as a rule: one mistress and his last wife committed suicide; another mistress had a nervous breakdown, and his first wife resorted to sadistic acts against his new mistress after he left her for a much younger woman, actually for a succession of three younger women. As I said, his art unfolds a more richly complex collection of female figures much harder to pigeonhole or categorize than the rigid, impoverished terms of a binary fixed along the schism of goddess or whore would ever suggest.
Q: A lot of people who are used to representational art say they can’t understand Picasso. How can they develop an appreciation for his art?
A: Many people might be surprised to find out that Picasso rejected complete abstraction himself; he pointed out that you always have to start with something. His own body of work is varied and sufficiently diverse in stylistic range for there to be something for everyone to appreciate if they get enough exposure to the many works he did. To be fair, one could argue that there is enough there for everyone to find something they dislike, as well. While Cubism at its most analytical does not provide enough color or emotional content to seduce the uninitiated eye or even prove accessible by most standards, there is another way to approach Picasso’s output and that is as a body of work formed by continual metamorphosis and creative experiment. The question then becomes not so much whether one “likes” a particular style or not, but more a case of plugging into the protean creativity that continually weaves in and out of so many styles. There is a sequence in the French film called Le Mystère Picasso in which we watch Picasso begin a drawing of some flowers, only then to implant them within the surrounding contour of a fish, with the flowers transforming into fish scales in the process. Next, Picasso boldly embeds the fish within the larger, encompassing contour of a bird, as if each successive version of this drawing was being swallowed by the next. Picasso finishes off the image with a flourish at the last minute by transforming the profiled bird into the giant-sized head of a whimsical, horned creature — a satyr or faun, who lightheartedly looks directly out at us. It is he, and Picasso by extension, who gets the last laugh. My contention is that if you look more at how Picasso transforms his style than at any one image or singular period you will tap into his logic, which is all about maintaining a continuous creativity rather than a fixed, masterpiece aesthetic. Hopefully, his own words will ring true with the viewer who gives his work a chance:
“A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life as a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man [or woman] who is looking at it.”
Q: Are any new art movements emerging in the 21st century? If so, are any of them inspired by Picasso?
A: Our own present moment is difficult to categorize or fix in its own right since it is all too much like Picasso, exhibiting an eclectic diversity of approaches and strategies more than any school or signature style. This discursive unfolding of art resists classification and “ism” labeling, seeing such stylistic designations and periodicity as part of Modernism’s old avant-garde—the composition of a previous age. Discussion today focuses more on concepts and one’s positioning on various issues than on a breakdown of style. Identity politics, including constructions (and deconstructions) of gender, race, ethnicity, and simulated avatars make the Picasso “brand” seem all-too-stuck in its own monolithic institutional success. Picasso starts to retreat more and more into a Mt. Olympus kind of status as one of the gods, one of the Immortals, and thus no longer seems so pressing, so urgent. Andy Warhol and his proclamation that everyone shall have their 15 minutes of fame speak more to a YouTube generation raised on heavy doses of commodity and screen culture, instant celebrity and reality TV. Yet, as Picasso the man and myth seem more and more relegated to a Modern age now long past, his art ironically may have new relevance for a postmodern age that is more discursive than focused, more polyvalent than fixed and performs more like a complex, nonlinear, dynamic system than a unified whole. Perhaps it is finally time for the art to tower over the man whose fame and “genius”—not to mention his love life—have too often eclipsed the work itself. Picasso made his own hopes for his legacy known: “All I have ever made was made for the present and with the hope that it will always remain in the present.”