Georg Baselitz — Le côté sombre
Le côté sombre
Past: September 8 → October 31, 2013
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents, in the Paris Pantin exhibition space inaugurated in October 2012, a comprehensive exhibition with new monumental sculptures and paintings by the German artist Georg Baselitz.
“What is Germany, really, in regard to traditional sculpture?”
In a recent interview, Baselitz looked back to questions he asked himself in the 1970s:
“The last thing I could think of in the way of pleasing or characteristic German sculpture after the Gothic period was the group Die Brücke, including Schmidt-Rottluff, Kirchner and Lehmbruck. When I finally arrived at this idea, I took a piece of wood and started work."
Georg Baselitz, 2011.
Baselitz works exclusively with wood, negating both the idea of doing justice to the material and that of the stuffy, conservative reputation of wood sculpture. “Any appealing form (…) any arty-crafty elegance or deliberate construction is taboo” (Georg Baselitz, 1987). With great physical effort, he hacks, stabs and saws the block of wood, taking no account of the grain.
“For a sculpture to take shape, the wood has to be forcibly opened.”
Uwe Schneede, 1993.
For the past ten years, Baselitz has cast limited editions of his wood sculptures in bronze at the long-established Hermann Noack fine art foundry in Berlin. Here the finest details of the sculpted wood are reproduced and burnished in black by the artist. On Baselitz’s black, unreflective surfaces, John-Paul Stonard remarks in his exhibition catalogue essay:
“They betray the light absorbing wood from which they were originally carved; memory falls into them, rather than drama out of them.”
Georg Baselitz’s new bronzes include Sing Sang Zero, a standing couple with arms interlinked, and three fetishistic sculptures — Marokkaner, Yellow Song, Louise Fuller — showing a humanoid figure enclosed in rings. Louise Fuller is a gentle parody of the American dancer famous for her act with veils.
The monumental BDM Gruppe revives his childhood memories of three parading girls in his native town of Deutschbaselitz. John-Paul Stonard writes:
“These village beauties (…) could not be further from the Three Graces of antiquity, shown most famously in smooth white marble by Canova, or with classical restraint by Raphael. So much has been lost or transfigured. What has survived, from a memory that must have been filtered a thousand times, is the motif of the linked arms. Not hands held, but arms linked; a rare motif in the history of art.”