signed, titled and dated 95 on the reverse
Karsten Schubert Gallery, London
Saatchi Collection, London
Sale: Christie's, London, Contemporary Art, 8 December 1998, lot 128
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
London, Karsten Schubert Gallery, Glenn Brown, 1995
London, Saatchi Gallery, Young British Artists V, 1995
Hexham, Queens Hall Arts Centre, Glenn Brown, 1996, no. 14, illustrated in colour
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Artium, Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo; Granada, Centro Jose Guerrero; Vigo, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Vigo, Melodrama, 2002, pp. 68-69, illustrated in colour
Young British Art: The Saatchi Decade, London 1999, p. 25, illustrated in colour, pp. 244-5, illustrated in colour over 2 pages
Exhibition Catalogue, Serpentine Gallery, London, Glenn Brown, 2004, p. 101, illustrated in colour (installation shot of the Young British Artists V show at the Saatchi Gallery, London in 1995)
“I want them [the Science Fiction paintings] to be a regeneration of that opium drenched, fantastic and overly romantic world of Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Henry Fuseli. Many of the Orientalist painters didn’t visit the Orient. The world they painted was always an exoticized other world. That’s what my paintings are about. They describe an impoverishment of stimuli or rather second hand information.” Glenn Brown in 2000.
Glenn Brown’s outstanding mid career retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery last September provided the first real glimpse of the full extent of his complex working ideas which have been developed over the last fifteen years. Following in the footsteps of the founders of Appropriation Art, Brown has brought a new intellectual brevity and technical mastery to the movement. Borrowing images from high art masters such as Watteau, Rembrandt, Dali, De Kooning and Auerbach as well as images that were previously considered low art, such as illustrations from Science Fiction books, Brown re-paints or sculpts the images to breathe new life into them.
What makes the paintings so engrossing is the fact that each image is treated in a distinct manner. Where he might flatten an Auerbach or De Kooning to empty it of the impassioned expression which created the initial painting, in the Science Fiction paintings, such as the present work, he blows the original book illustration up on a massive scale to turn these small images of kitsch fantasy into grand history paintings. Obsessive in their detail and heightened in colour, Brown has created brave new worlds which we can believe in. He wants the scale to be almost human, so we feel that we can step into the picture.
It is this process of glamorization that interests Brown. Removed from the realm of harsh reality into the exotic terrain of the imagination, a work such as The Pornography of Death (Painting for Ian Curtis) After Chris Foss appears almost hallucinatory, effortless; as though it has made itself.
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