Georg Baselitz - Der Jäger (Remix)
Der Jäger (Remix)
Oil on canvas. 300 x 250 cm. Framed. Signed, dated and titled 'Remix 'der Jäger' 26.VI.07 G Baselitz' verso on canvas. - Traces of studio.
In 1965/66, Georg Baselitz spent a few months as a scholarship holder at the Villa Romana, a period in which he not only encountered the paintings of the Mannerists, but also discovered copperplate engravings by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli at flea markets. Mitelli, an artist of the late 17th century, recorded the professions of his time in small-format prints. Possibly following in his footsteps, Baselitz created large-format paintings in the mid-1960s showing central figures against different backgrounds and with varying accessories. Standing firmly with both feet on the ground, with their postures turned forward and in bucolic settings, these protagonists were mostly of tall and powerful stature. At second glance, a closer look at these 'heroic images' revealed an inherent fragility. These 'heroes' were injured, their strong bodies sometimes depicted with a head that was far too small. They look tired. Whilst Andy Warhol makes the Elvis figure the motif of a silkscreen series in the USA, with a highly stylised hairstyle, depicted against a cool, silver background, Baselitz paints his male figures with dishevelled hair, the pictorial language reminiscent of the Romantics of the 19th century. And while Andy Warhol repeats his motifs in series, Georg Baselitz does not return to his earlier motifs until decades later.
The painting offered here is from 2007, 40 years after the hero paintings, and is characterised by a distinctly fractured composition, a quadripartite picture surface. While bucolic elements are absent from the reinterpretation, the recycling, or reversal, of the heroic theme is evident. Baselitz, who always challenges his viewers' visual habits anew, uses visual caesurae within the horizontal surface organisation in this composition. On the one hand, the four picture planes are set off from each other in a painterly way, on the other hand, fiery brushwork and pasty colour alternate with surfaces left blank and hints of spray technique. Also striking: from top to bottom the colour palette is markedly reduced, or bled out. The figure of the dog has become an isolated, monochrome pictorial metaphor. The Hitler figure depicted is destroyed, and the bleeding of the colourfulness proves to be a metaphor for the scorched earth and the destruction that has taken place.
"Georg Baselitz's aesthetic has rightly been called an 'aesthetic of ruptures' (Theo Kneubühler, in: Documenta 6, vol. 1, Kassel 1977, p.54). It is his intention to be revolutionary, but without questioning the image and sculpture themselves. In 'destroying' he is a European artist. He does exactly what he recognises as a characteristic of the development of European art. - The currently valid canon is negated. By setting the new, the present becomes the past and history, and the new takes its place and will, must, suffer the same fate. In this view, tradition does not appear as a seamless, additive continuum, but much more unstable, confused and conflictual. The sons are more likely to destroy what the fathers created than to continue it. They are interested in the grandfathers." (Ulrich Weisner, in: exhibition catalogue Georg Baselitz, Vier Wände, Ausst. Cat. Kunsthalle Bielefeld 1985, p.20)
Repetition has always bored Baselitz, but the Remix paintings are reduction, and at the same time go strikingly beyond the mere re-interpretation of earlier works.
Gagosian Gallery, New York (label verso); Collection Yageo Foundation, Taiwan; private collection,Asia
Dresden 2008/2009 (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen), Madonna meets Mao, Ausgewählte Werke aus der Sammlung der Yageo Foundation, Taiwan, exhib.cat., p.33 with col. illus.
New York 2007 (Gagosian Gallery), Georg Baselitz, Remix Paintings, exhib.cat., p.65 with col. illus.