White Cube is to present new work by Georg Baselitz at Mason’s Yard. A painter, sculptor, printmaker and draughtsman, Baselitz is one of Germany’s most celebrated living artists, with a distinguished career spanning over sixty years.
Darkness Goldness consists of new paintings featuring mysterious, ghostly hands rendered in gold, along with related drawings and gilded bronze reliefs, the artist’s first sculptural works in almost a decade.
Baselitz began exploring the connotations of hands early in his career when, in 1964-65, he painted Die Hand – Die Hand Gottes and Die Hand – Das brennende Haus. Forming part of the artist’s response to post-war Germany, both images depict an outstretched hand holding a small house, one burning, the other encircled by birds.
In this exhibition, ink-on-paper works trace intricate folds of skin and expressive finger gestures, while works on canvas show relaxed, limp hands in gold set against a dark ground, with the finished effect residing somewhere between abstraction and figuration.
The paintings are made through a monotype printing process in which the artist transfers images from one canvas to another using a push broom, with the application of gold paint evoking a twofold effect: it works against conventional illusionism and imbues the painting with a sense of otherworldliness. ‘I wanted an apparition’, Baselitz has said, ‘something that appears out of the depth’.
Georg Baselitz Darkness Goldness White Cube Mason’s Yard 4th September – 14th November 2020
About the Artist
Born Hans-Georg Kern in 1938, Georg Baselitz grew up in Saxony, an area that later became East Germany. Whilst studying painting at the Academy of Art in East Berlin (1956) he was sent down after one year for ‘political immaturity’. He then applied at the Academy in West Berlin and moved there in 1957, completing his studies in 1962. During this period he adopted the surname Baselitz, reflecting his place of birth Deutschbaselitz. Georg Baselitz lives and works at lake Ammersee, Germany, near Salzburg, Austria, in Basel, Switzerland, and in Imperia, Italy.