If you’re remixing popular music you change the rhythm or the sound. . . . What I do is something entirely different. I have thought for a long time about what to call what I do.
I liked the word ‘remix’ because it comes from youth culture.
What I could never escape was Germany, and being German.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Georg Baselitz.
Baselitz’s long and challenging career is marked by intense periods of activity, usually culminating in a heroic masterpiece or group of masterworks, followed by startling renewal and rethinking of his subject. A traditional artisan, he works in equally traditional media—painting, drawing, printmaking, and wood sculpture—often on a monumental scale.
From the outset, Baselitz confronted the visceral realities of history and the human and cultural tragedies of a world in turmoil with a cast of tragic antiheroes, from the grotesque masturbating boy of Die große Nacht im Eimer (The Big Night Down the Drain) (1962–63) to the broken soldiers of the Fracture paintings and the inverted figures of the disturbing “upside-down paintings.” In 1980, at the German pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, he caused a stir with a monumental carved wooden figure that appeared to making a Hitlerian salute. Evidently, what it is to be German and a German artist has been very much on Baselitz’s mind throughout his career—paintings abound with child Hitlers and dismembered woodcutters—although his oeuvre owes as much to a broader range of influences, including art brut, the drawings and writings of Antonin Artaud, sixteenth-century German woodcuts, and African sculptures. With the reunification of Germany in 1990, however, the angst seemingly ebbed from his vision and he produced a series of paintings that he refers to as “sentimental pictures” about his childhood, home, and family in the former East German province of Saxony.
In the recent Remix Paintings, Baselitz has revisited the most provocative aspects of his own history, such as Die grosse Nacht im Einer and Die grossen Freunde, and made new versions or interpretations of them with the experience of hindsight. Enlarged and rapidly painted with swathes of bright, transparent hue across white canvas and explosive, meandering lines, the Remix paintings are radical transubstantiations—part caricature, part ghost—of their muted, more ponderous predecessors. The spontaneity with which they are executed gives rise to mnemonic flashes of things in the past, present, and future. The references to Hitler, once ambiguous, are now clearly articulated. The impulse to improve, clarify, and update is clearly evident, but the haunting, fleeting quality of the Remix work has also to do with a mature artist’s meditations on time, presence, failure, and possibility.
A fully illustrated catalogue, with an essay by Jill Lloyd, associate scholar at the Courtauld Institute of Art and a specialist in twentieth-century Austrian and German art, will be available.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2020
The Summer 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Joan Jonas’s Mirror Piece 1 (1969) on its cover.
Georg Baselitz: What if...
Richard Calvocoressi narrates a tour of an exhibition of new paintings by Georg Baselitz in San Francisco, describing the visual effect of these luminous compositions and explaining their relationship to earlier works by the artist.
Artist to Artist: Georg Baselitz and Zeng Fanzhi
On the occasion of Georg Baselitz: Years later at Gagosian, Hong Kong, Zeng Fanzhi composed a written foreword for the exhibition’s catalogue and a video message to the German painter. Baselitz wrote a letter of thanks to the Chinese artist for his insightful thoughts.
Georg Baselitz: Life, Love, Death
Richard Calvocoressi writes on the painter’s latest bodies of work, detailing the techniques employed and their historical precedents.
On the occasion of a career-spanning exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Richard Calvocoressi tracks the evolution of Georg Baselitz’s development from his early education in East Germany to his revelatory trip to Florence, in 1965, and beyond.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
May 21–July 18, 2020
March 12–May 2, 2020
Extended through March 23, 2019
January 24–March 23, 2019
555 West 24th Street, New York
Recent Works on Paper
February 8–March 24, 2017
Merlin Street, Athens