The Emilio and Annabianca Vedova Foundation presents ‘Vedova accendi la luce’, an exhibition of new works by Georg Baselitz conceived over the year 2020.
The exhibition will present a series of paintings divided into two series, dedicated to his wife Elke Baselitz and to his late friend Emilio Vedova.
Each series is recognisable for their stylistic coherence while also distinguishable through the witty wordplays, Witz, the artist has deployed in their titles.
The large canvases – all 3 metres high and 2.12 wide – will be arranged along specially constructed white walls within the Magazzino de Sale, in a rigorously cadenced configuration.
The seven canvases dedicated to Vedova are selection of black and white paintings which tend towards abstraction and relate closely to the work of the Venetian artist, while their titles afford the public a glimpse into the relationship between the artist and his longstanding friend.
On the subject of this friendship, Fabrizio Gazzarri, director of the Vedova Foundation and archive, remembers exactly when Vedova introduced him to Baselitz:
Emilio was happily leafing through the catalogue of the German gallery he worked with, the same one as his dear friend Georg Baselitz, whom he had met during his stay in Berlin around 1963. His perusal paused at an image of an upside-down eagle, painted with aggressive thick brushstrokes, which captured all the power and mystique of that legendary skyborne predator, keenly vigilant over everything below. Emilio told me with some pride that the author of the painting was a friend of his, and a great artist.
There are ten canvases dedicated to Baselitz's wife and to Speiseeis (Ice cream). As Philip Rylands observes:
The dense magma of pigment, of matière, typical of Baselitz’s more expressionistic works, is diluted here ... These are lively and poetic creations.
The ice cream paintings, with their range of different flavours, feature large-scale brightly-coloured portraits of Elke Baselitz in the act of eating an ice-cream, a gesture which is reminiscent of the artist's celebrated series of the "Orange Eaters" from the 1980's. They have been married for more than sixty years and his first portrait of her dates back to 1969. On the subject of his muse, Baselitz has himself written:
I don’t depict Elke: If anything I try to exclude her, but usually I don’t manage to. She gets into the process, whether I like it or not, she resurfaces from some hidden part of my mind. Neutrality is a myth: you can’t abdicate from the struggle. To create something new you have to battle with the conventions of the medium and with the subject itself. The aim of the portraitist must be to leave the portrait behind him if he is to make progress.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual publication in English and Italian with a contribution by Phillip Rylands, Director Emeritus of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Foundation, who recently joined the Vedova Foundation Board of Directors to replace the late Germano Celant.