14
14
George Condo
THE PILOT
VAI AL LOTTO
14
George Condo
THE PILOT
VAI AL LOTTO

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
Londra

George Condo
B. 1957
THE PILOT
signed and dated 2012 
acrylic, charcoal and pastel on linen
177.8 by 165.1 cm. 70 by 65 in.
Leggi la scheda di conservazione Leggi la scheda di conservazione

Provenienza(e)

Skarstedt Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013

Nota a catalogo

A dizzying conflation of myriad shapes, colours and lines, The Pilot is a remarkable example of George Condo’s celebrated Drawing Paintings, a series that he has fastidiously worked on since 2009. Titled Drawing Paintings because the works represent a marked shift away from the traditional medium of oil paint to the more ‘sketchy’ materials of acrylic, charcoal, and pastel, these works are, according to Condo, “about freedom of line and colour [that] blur the distinction between drawing and painting. They are about beauty and horror walking hand in hand. They are about improvisation on the human figure and its consciousness” (George Condo cited in: Press Release, New York, Skarstedt Gallery, George Condo: Drawing Paintings, November 2011, online). These intriguing works continue to draw on techniques and styles of his Modernist predecessors while exploring what he has called 'abstract figuration'. When he began the series of Drawing Paintings, Condo was looking to move away from “all those pods and peripheral beings I’ve been working on over the last decade” and “to bring back more naturalistic faces and bodies” (George Condo cited in: Calvin Tomkins, 'Portraits of Imaginary People: How George Condo Reclaimed Old Master Painting', The New Yorker, 17 January 2011, p. 65). Indeed, whilst the face of The Pilot slowly melds, morphs and dissolves into a geometric being, the figure’s pose is utterly naturalistic, coyly titling its head in the manner of a seductive Old Master portrait.

Since the early 1980s, Condo has pioneered a hybrid-topography of the human figure, inventing a fictional schema as a means to explore the tenets of subjectivity. Born of an intense dialogue between art history and popular culture, Condo’s paintings conjure stylistic traits that are absorbed from a multitude of canonical influences. The artist’s first mature painting, The Madonna, 1982, an Old Master–style portrait, launched Condo on a career-long exploration of hybridised historical styles and genres. Spanning from Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Ingres, Manet, Goya, Velázquez, Géricault, to caricature, comics and the Looney Tunes, Condo draws from an enormous repository of pictorial signifiers, corporeally melding their protean features into a unique brand of psychologically charged portraiture. Yet, instead of merely copying these styles, Condo appropriates and internalises a multiplicity of pictorial languages to construct a new, contemporary vision of painting: “I love the idea of two incompatible worlds brought together – opposing forces harmonically melded” (George Condo cited in: Diane Solway, ‘Musings On A Muse’, W Magazine, January 2013, online). The resulting dichotomy of traditional artistic practice and eccentric subject matter has resulted in a dynamic collection of portraits in all shapes, forms, and colours.

The Pilot is strongly reminiscent of Cubism, the Twentieth Century artistic movement pioneered by great masters such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Characterised by a geometric distortion of the figure’s head, Condo rejects the inherent concept of purely-figurative portraiture and instead emphasises the two-dimensionality of the canvas' surface. The Pilot is composed of an eccentric amalgamation of shapes in various bright colours, creating a dynamic and visually alluring pattern. The two ovals for eyes and the small light-coloured squares for teeth are the sole indicators of this human face. The size of the figure’s mouse-like ears are emphasised through a repetition of larger circles, which are placed in stark contrast to the primarily straight-edged geometric forms which form the figure’s head. As the improvisation of drafting and the control of painting align, the abstract and the figurative join forces in a singular, exuberant blend of the artist’s signature motifs.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
Londra