Georg Baselitz (*1938)
A Modern Painter (Remix), 2007
At the beginning of the sixties, the artistic climate in Berlin was shaped by young painters and their protest against the excessive influence of tachism. They sought to counteract abstraction with a new form of figuration. In their two Pandemonic Manifestos of 1961 and 1962, Georg Baselitz and Eugen Schönebeck expressed dissent in face of both art and life. The self-determination and rebellion of this new art was revealed not only in its style but also in picture titles such as “Heroes” or “A Modern Painter”, the work from the Berlinische Galerie’s collection to which this remix-painting from 2007 refers. The paint-flecked painter, legs wide apart, sits on the dark earth of a destroyed landscape, carrying the burden of German history on his back. Wide, expressive sweeps of the brush create a painting with almost baroque exuberance.
After fifty years of intense creativity, Georg Baselitz takes a retrospective look at his earlier, pioneering works in the recently produced remix paintings. But although the motif of both paintings – the monumentalised figure of the painter exemplifying the active, suffering human-being – may be identical, both its form and content are formulated in a completely different way: while the paint in the earlier picture was applied in a thick, pastose fashion, in the later work the white background shimmers through paint applied more like a glaze, reminiscent of watercolours. And while the painter appeared in 1966 as a wanderer with a rucksack looking for peace and a home, with his fingers painfully fixed by clamps, in the later image this captivity has turned into tentative searching in the dark earth for – his own (?) – roots. It is well suited to the fine, relaxed humour of the painting that the root system here can be read as a tree turned upside down. In this way, the painting exemplifies Baselitz’ decision, made in 1969, to paint his paintings the wrong way up from then on, so separating the representational motif from the painting process as such.
A Modern Painter (Remix)
Oil on canvas
303 x 250 cm
Acquired with federal funding, sponsorship from Deutsche Bahn AG, funds from the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States, and budgetary funds of the Berlinische Galerie 2009
© Georg Baselitz
© Reproduction: Kai-Annett Becker