Major Exhibition by Georg Baselitz Spans Across the Entire Gallery Space at White Cube
The time passes and the haze covers the eyes. The body transforms itself and the vigor of youth is gone. The transcendental quality of Georg Baselitz new exhibition Wir fahren aus at White Cube Bermondsey exists in the blurred surfaces of the artist’s new paintings. This fog steadily lifts and the viewer is gradually confronted with different figures, making the reception slower, and pushing the painting towards abstraction. Baselitz’s first solo exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey will span the entire gallery space, and will include the large-scale paintings, but also a bronze sculpture and a wide number of works on paper. Putting together the two major elements of the artist’s practice: portraiture and the process of ‘remixing’, the number of images are repeated and reinterpreted over time using different techniques and mediums.
The Self and the Time Passing
The monumental paintings installed across several of the galleries, take the inspiration from Otto Dix’s portrait of his elderly parents. By referencing the famous painting The Artist’s Parents, Baselitz revisits an early double portrait of himself and his wife Elke from 1975. Why return? This coming back to something in the past suggests certain contemplation and exploration of the time passing and the changing physicality of the self. Reinterpreting the Otto Dix image using recent polaroids of himself and Elke nude, sitting in a similar position as Dix’s parents, the artist painted the figures using predominantly black and white palette and addressed the powerful themes of his celebrated ‘Avignon’ canvases exhibited at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Continuing with his practice of the reversed figure, the painterly technique is expended by the adding of an all-over sprayed haze that blurs the compositional quality. With this gesture, the paintings are pushed towards abstraction that culminates in an almost-black monochrome installed at South Gallery II. On the other hand, and following the artist’s sculptural practice, the 9x9x9 gallery is devoted to a new, large-scale bronze sculpture entitled Zero Dom. Cast in bronze with Baselitz’s trademark matt, black patina, the sculpture presents four, comically stretched-out legs with high heels. On the walls of the gallery are the new series of prints that take inspiration from the mysterious self –portrait of the artist Hokusai. At the age of 83, Hokusai presented himself seated and reaching up with his right hand. Baselitz echoes the pose and shares the intensity, depicting himself using a fragmentary line or brush stroke, suggesting frenetic and latent energy.
Georg Baselitz exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey
Offering his public the extension and the reminiscence of the past works, this major exhibition of the German artist Georg Baselitz at White Cube, will last from 27th April till July 3rd, 2016. Exploring the self and the physicality, the majority of the works are in a haze that suggests the time passing and the exploration of the mortality in all of us. This quality and the exploration of the universal theme of aging is echoed in the repetition of different figures in different mediums, suggesting the need for the remembrance.
All images courtesy of White Cube and the artist. Featured image: Georg Baselitz – Oh dear, ma tutto occupato (Ach herrje, ma tutto occupato), 2016, Oil on canvas, 157 1/2 x 236 1/4 in. (400 x 600 cm), © Georg Baselitz. Photo © Jochen Littkemann Courtesy White Cube.