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Glenn Brown

October 15–November 27, 2009
Britannia Street, London

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view Artwork © Glenn Brown

Installation view

Artwork © Glenn Brown

Works Exhibited

Glenn Brown, Christina of Denmark, 2008 Oil on panel, 65 × 47 inches (165 × 119 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Christina of Denmark, 2008

Oil on panel, 65 × 47 inches (165 × 119 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Debaser, 2009 Oil on panel, 39 ½ × 29 ½ inches (100 × 75 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Debaser, 2009

Oil on panel, 39 ½ × 29 ½ inches (100 × 75 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, War in Peace, 2009 Oil on panel, 45 ⅝ × 34 ¼ inches (116 × 87 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, War in Peace, 2009

Oil on panel, 45 ⅝ × 34 ¼ inches (116 × 87 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Come All Ye Rolling Minstrels, 2009 Oil on panel, 55 × 43 inches (140 × 109 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Come All Ye Rolling Minstrels, 2009

Oil on panel, 55 × 43 inches (140 × 109 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Star Dust, 2009 Oil on panel, 60 ¾ × 48 inches (154 × 122 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Star Dust, 2009

Oil on panel, 60 ¾ × 48 inches (154 × 122 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Song to the Siren, 2009 Oil on panel, 98 ½ × 58 ¼ × 7 inches (250 × 148 × 17.5 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Song to the Siren, 2009

Oil on panel, 98 ½ × 58 ¼ × 7 inches (250 × 148 × 17.5 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Soul Disco Ambient Funk, 2009 Oil on panel, 38 ½ × 28 inches (98 × 71.5 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, Soul Disco Ambient Funk, 2009

Oil on panel, 38 ½ × 28 inches (98 × 71.5 cm)
© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, If you know how to get here, please come, 2009 Oil paint on acrylic over plaster and metal armature, 58 × 19 ¾ × 16 ¼ inches (147 × 50 × 41 cm)© Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown, If you know how to get here, please come, 2009

Oil paint on acrylic over plaster and metal armature, 58 × 19 ¾ × 16 ¼ inches (147 × 50 × 41 cm)
© Glenn Brown

About

Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Glenn Brown.

In Brown’s work images come and go without ever becoming completely fixed. Borrowing images is but the first step. These borrowings are then subjected to a slow and intuitive process over many months, through which the subject and medium of each painting slowly morph and accumulate into “replicant” versions of their former selves. Interestingly, Brown describes the end of this process as “ceasing” rather than “finishing,” as if to suggest that the image, like life, might remain in perpetual flux. His deft scrambling and conflating of subject and genre combined with the obsessive bravura of his brushwork continue to provide challenging comment on the condition and reach of painting at a time when human experience has become largely vicarious.

Brown’s mannerist inventiveness derives from a desire to examine and pervert the existing thicknesses of history, to recollect an open-ended mesh of references to painting and cultural history, past and present. In doing so, Brown creates a carnivalesque world where the rational and the irrational, the abstract and the visceral, the beautiful and the grotesque, are brought together in a vigorous state of play. His evocation of images—Rococo, Mannerist, Expressionist, or Surrealist—disturbs because these sophisticated distortions prevent the original sources from ever being truly fixed and identified. The heterogeneous titles—Come All Ye Rolling Minstrels, Debaser, Youth, Beautiful Youth, and so on—echo pop culture past and present, adding an element of free association to his perverse and slippery formula.

Beneath the sheer, flat surfaces of Brown’s paintings lurk roiling depths and textures, intricately described yet deprived of mass. In his lurid subjects, history swirls against vapors or in the silent vacuum of another world. His unreal figures float and melt in the passage of efflorescent growth or decay as morbid reflections on the grand visions and gestures of image making; the tenuous structures of life, death, myth, and cliché; and the textures of the physical world that support them. In War in Peace, Brown returns to motif of the human foot, altering colors, forms, and details to transform the terms of his original inquiry while recalling paintings by Courbet and Baselitz. The liquefied torso of Christina of Denmark similarly transforms the body into a swirling mass of carefully applied brushstrokes that dematerialize the figure. In Nausea, Brown invokes Velázquez’s Portrait of Innocent X (c. 1650) as well as Bacon’s later version; however, by inverting the body and removing the screaming head that makes Bacon’s version so disturbing, Brown has created a third, equally striking version. In sculptures such as Wooden Heart (2008), a “portrait” that is built entirely of thick strokes of paint, his fascination with the physical properties of his chosen medium is given ultimate expression as both the subject and object of the work.

This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated monograph copublished by Rizzoli. A compilation of Glenn Brown’s past exhibitions with the gallery, the book will include a new essay by Rochelle Steiner as well as earlier essays by Michael Bracewell and David Freedberg.