DOUBLE SHOT: GEORGE CONDO “INK DRAWINGS” AT SKARSTEDT GALLERY & “HEADSPACE” AT SIMON LEE GALLERY IN LONDON
Modernist chameleon George Condo takes vastly different approaches to his two divergent bodies of work on display in London simultaneously at the Simon Lee and Skarstedt galleries, proving definitively that painting an ugly handbag for a Kim Kardashian Christmas present is not always career suicide.
Blurring the line between comedy and tragedy, the grotesque and the beautiful, the critical and the empathetic, Condo has developed a provocative and adventurously imaginative pictorial language, which has helped make him one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. Since first gaining attention in the early 1980s with his ‘fake Old Master’ paintings, Condo’s oeuvre has encompassed an incredible diversity of styles and media. In painting, drawing, sculpture and print, his works have been informed by an art historical trajectory spanning from the Renaissance and the Baroque through to Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Pop. Speaking to the multiplicity of sources from which his work derives, Condo himself has stated, ‘The only way for me to feel the difference between every other artist and me is to use every artist to become me’.
Heavily channeling his inner Picasso for both collections, Condo manifests radiant, abstract beauty in the figurative portraiture of "Headspace" at Simon Lee gallery with a body of work that at first glance looks as though it might comprise a heretofore undiscovered period of the late Spanish artist's career. Vibrating with lush color, the pieces are pure eye candy with none of the challenging imagery of his most well-known work.
With "Ink Drawings" at Skarstedt Gallery, however, the artist loosens up, in large part due to the inherent freedom of the medium, which gave him the freedom to explore more divergent imagery in a darker palette throughout. The results are equally stunning and though they appear to be lost studies for a darker series of Picasso's blue period, prove to be a perfect complement to the blissed-out visuals across town at Simon Lee.
Have a look:
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