Departing from the aesthetic confines of figuration, Condo explores the myriad of portrayals that enunciate the inner psyche, seeking to depict a psychological state of mind. The artist comments, “I describe what I do as psychological cubism. Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one moment. I do the same with psychological states. Four of them can occur simultaneously. Like glimpsing a bus with one passenger howling over a joke they're hearing down the phone, someone else asleep, someone else crying – I'll put them all in one face" (George Condo cited in: Stuart Jeffries, ‘George Condo: “I was delirious. Nearly Died”’, The Guardian, 10 February 2014, online). Articulating the dichotomy of abstraction and figuration, the topography of The Prisoner becomes a colourful pictorial landscape that leaves behind physical appearance in favour of revealing a profound insight into the subject’s consciousness.
Impaled by three rods, two vertical and one horizontal, The Prisoner is held, perforated on an axis in perfect equilibrium. As the black bars bisect the sitter’s skull, the very same cords seemingly lower an alcoholic beverage and cigarette into the frame, akin to a puppeteer. Rather than further incarcerating the inmate, the spikes read as preliminary grid lines that allude to the process of production. Moreover the landscape in which The Prisoner resides, vibrantly luscious with rolling hills and corn fields, is reminiscent of titans of 19th Century art history such as van Gogh and Monet.
There is a long lineage of art historical predecessors that made the present work possible, for example, Picabia caricaturing the history of painting, Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe and de Chirico pastiching chromolithography in his late works. The openness of influence attests to the fact that Condo’s oeuvre has and continues to be wholly unique and ultimately unclassifiable, in which his art re-appropriates the potential contained in the works of the past.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale