Gagosian is excited to introduce “The Painter in His Bed,” a bold exhibition featuring the latest paintings and works on paper by the renowned artist Georg Baselitz at Gagosian gallery in New York. Known for his visceral approach to Neo-Expressionism and his innovative inverted art style, Baselitz once again confronts traditional art paradigms with a fresh series that is both a continuation and a profound evolution of his artistic journey.
Baselitz’s Legacy: Inversion and Emotional Charge
For more than sixty years, Georg Baselitz has been synonymous with an art style that is raw, provocative, and deeply tied to art history. His journey, which took a defining turn in 1969 with his commitment to painting his subjects upside down, was a revolutionary step. This technique, designed to disrupt the viewer’s automatic understanding and perception, emphasizes the artistry and the process over the subject itself.
Motifs and Symbolism: Beds and Stage
In “The Painter in His Bed,” Baselitz zeroes in on two primary motifs: figures in beds and the iconic image of the stag. These elements are not merely subjects but are imbued with rich symbolism and emotional weight. Baselitz approaches these motifs with his characteristic raw expressiveness, engaging viewers in a visceral, almost tangible experience. The application of unconventional materials such as nylon stockings and gauze stretches across his canvases, introducing a textural dimension that both obscures and reveals.
Dadaist Influence and Monochromatic Mastery
Baselitz’s new works echo the spirit of his 2021 exhibition, “Springtime,” drawing inspiration from Dadaists like Hannah Höch and Kurt Schwitters. However, there is a noticeable shift in the color palette. Where “Springtime” was a celebration of color, “The Painter in His Bed” delves into the stark, elemental contrast of black and white, suggesting a deeper exploration into primal themes and existential contemplation.
Channeling Historical and Artistic Narratives
The exhibition is not just a display of Baselitz’s contemporary work; it is a conversation with history. The stag imagery brings to mind the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux and the traditional Saxon reverse-glass paintings, drawing a line through history that acknowledges the past while distorting and challenging it. The recurrent motif of the bed serves as a multifaceted symbol, alluding to rest, eroticism, and ultimately, mortality. These themes resonate with Philip Guston’s existential explorations, offering viewers a layered narrative experience.
Featured Works: A Tribute and a Challenge
One of the exhibition’s centerpieces, Hirschrobert (2022), pays homage to Robert Rauschenberg’s iconic “Bed” (1954) through its intense texture and graphic inversion. The exhibition also challenges conventional art forms with works like “Rechts oben ein Kilo zuviel” and “Miss Francis cha, cha, cha” (2022), where the playful treatment of the human form and the provocative titles reflect Baselitz’s engagement with both historical and contemporary art discourses.
Exhibition Insights and Accompanying Catalogue
The exhibition is complemented by an illustrated catalogue featuring essays by notable art scholars and critics Brooks Adams, Catherine Lampert, and Andreas Zimmermann. These essays delve into Baselitz’s artistic journey, examining his influences, style evolution, and the thematic undercurrents permeating his work.
Continued Celebrations of Baselitz’s Artistr
While “The Painter in His Bed” is set to be a significant event on New York’s artistic calendar, art enthusiasts worldwide have several opportunities to engage with Baselitz’s work. His sculptures from 2011–2015 are on display at the Serpentine Galleries in London, continuing the global celebration of his contributions to contemporary art.
An Invitation to Engage
“The Painter in His Bed” promises to be an unmissable exhibition, offering profound insights into Georg Baselitz’s world – one where traditional boundaries are both respected and irreverently pushed. Visitors are invited to the opening reception on Thursday, November 9, from 6 to 8 pm, at Gagosian’s 555 West 24th Street location in New York. The exhibition, running through December 22, 2023, is not just a showcase of Baselitz’s latest works but an invitation to engage with the relentless questioning and exploration that define his legacy.