Georg Baselitz, Surdororeal, Oil and gold lacquer on canvas, 304 x 350 cm (119,69 x 137,8 in)
Photo: Jochen Littkemann © Georg Baselitz
Opening: Sunday, 15 September, 12-6pm
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac will open ‘Time’, an exhibition presenting a new series of large-scale paintings by Georg Baselitz in homage to his wife Elke. Spanning over thirty portraits, the seriality of these works evokes a ritualistic element, conveying the idea of a continually renewed declaration of love for his wife of nearly 60 years.
As with the self-portraits from Georg Baselitz's Avignon series, which were shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale and speak to the artist’s interaction with Pablo Picasso’s late oeuvre, as well as his 2017 reiterations of Marcel Duchamp, this new series focusing on Elke once again unites grace with severity. In their combination of the beautiful and the grotesque, the works are reminiscent of those by Otto Dix and Lucas Cranach.
In these paintings, Georg Baselitz has used gold in the act of painting for the first time, rather than as monochromatic background or ornament. The paint, paste-like in consistency, is applied with a spatula and wide brush; sticks resembling reed-pens are used to create a wickerwork of lines by scratching through the layer of oil paint. The use of spray paint in many works allows the depicted figures to seemingly levitate in a landscape of clouds. At times, areas of frottage can be discerned, vaguely reminiscent of Max Ernst. Several of these canvases incorporate novel geometric elements that appear like shadows on the canvas, creating shapes reminiscent of grand pianos.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac's exhibition follows a number of international comprehensive solo-shows held on the occasion of the artist's 80th birthday last year: at the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen near Basel, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar, France. A major solo exhibition at Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, coinciding with this year’s Biennale, focuses on the series Das Negativ (2012) and Fingermalerei (first half of the 1970s) and remains on view until October 2019. This past June, Georg Baselitz gifted six paintings and two sculptures to the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. The works, which were conceived between 2008 and 2017, are displayed in a dedicated room in the museum.
The Centre Pompidou in Paris plans to host the artist's most extensive retrospective to date in 2020.