George Condo: New Works
20 East 79th Street, New York
April 27 - June 24, 2017
In December 2014 Condo began working on Origin, a small wood sculpture he hand-painted, cut, and glued together. Origin soon became the subject of three larger-scaled variations in bronze. These variations represent a return to methods of sculpting that the artist first took up with his earliest three-dimensional works in the late 1980s—using wood, clay, plaster, paint, fabric, and found objects to create bronze sculptures that incorporate both figurative and abstract elements. Here we see Condo’s concept of the “simulated found object,” which he explored in his earliest exhibited paintings in the 1980s, combined with the use of real found objects from his studio into entirely new figurative forms in bronze. Condo cuts, screws, and hinges together flat surfaces of plywood into angular figurative representations then applies layers of plaster, clay and paint squeezed directly from the tube, “knowing that once cast in bronze all of my markings will remain present and be reinvigorated in the patinated surfaces,” the artist says.
Writing in 2015 on the subject of what he referred to as Condo’s “unedited human disasters,” Simon Baker described his sculptures as having:
“the barest suggestion of anatomical specificity barely distinguishable from the raw materials from which they were produced, but as with Condo’s work in every medium, openly manifesting a dramatic and irrepressible joy in the process of production.” (Simon Baker, Painting Reconfigured, Thames & Hudson 2015, pg. 215).
There will be seven new sculptures presented at Skarstedt: Origin, in painted wood measuring 24 inches high and its three variations in bronze at six feet high; the imposing and deconstructed bronze Constructed Head with Standing Figure measuring 52 x 47 x 30 inches; and two bronze Nudes on Wine Crates. In these last works Condo took two wine crates, broke them up and re-constructed them as pedestals for the nudes to stand atop. Measuring 60 inches tall, their patinas have a painterly quality which relates to his “Action Portraits” that have effectively been transposed into three dimensions.
The sculptures presented in the exhibition New Works are cast in an edition of three, with one artist’s proof.
Condo will also be exhibiting new paintings on canvas that both echo and contrast the three-dimensionality of the sculptural works. Triple Head Composition (2017), a 92 x 276-inch triptych from the series Women and Men incorporates Condo’s well-known figurative style and can be traced both in style and composition to the small wooden sculpture Origin.