Shadow of a Daydream

Adrian Ghenie – Charles Darwin at the age of 75, 2014

Adrian Ghenie weaves together personal and collective memories and fears to address the traumas of 20th-century European history. Recalling the textural richness of Northern European Renaissance painting, Ghenie depicts figurative imagery in contrasting states of clarity, fluidity, and decay, dripping and pouring paint, scraping surfaces, and deploying strong chiaroscuro. Ghenie is interested in those associated with genocide and mass suffering or revolutionary discoveries, but the main criteria would be, to put it simply, people who were both very influential but at the same time famous for their troubled minds.

“Every painting is abstract, I don’t believe in figurative. As soon as it starts to imitate, to depict something, then a painting is dead. This is the moment when you kill painting.”
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“But when you try to paint a tree, you realize, ‘I cannot paint all the leaves, I cannot paint all the textures.’ So you have to invent a movement of the brush that would suggest, in your mind, a tree. That is, essentially, abstract.”
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“I want a deconstruction of the portrait. In the 20th century, the people who did it really radically were Picasso and Bacon. They took elements of the face and rearranged it. There is no nose, there is no mouth, there is no eye—no sense of anatomy.”

“The portrait,” he continued, “was a landscape, basically.”

Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy. It is an effective artistic means to convey grief and pain to the audience, and for this has been labeled by Thomas Mann as the “genuine antibourgeois style”. The grotesque has staying power because our life as beings of flesh and blood has not changed, and so long as we have bodies, we can experience body horror. an ugly malformed part of the imagination. The grotesque in modern art was heightened by the real-life horrors of the first world war. It is at the heart of dada and surrealism. 

+ i think Ghenie’s alienated painterly expression is arbitrary, studies of his influences of artists and historical context, reinterpreting the wide amplitude of various states of mind, through the progress of working from a visceral sense, we can immerse in ways that he immerses himself of creating a pure art for art sake in form of the visual journey.

https://www.pacegallery.com/exhibitions/adrian-ghenie

https://www.artnews.com/art-news/artists/every-painting-is-abstract-adrian-ghenie-on-his-recent-work-and-evolving-sense-of-self-7792/

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/how-ghenie-conquered-the-art-market

https://www.widewalls.ch/artists/adrian-ghenie

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/nov/17/shock-horror-grotesque-art-jonathan-payne

Daniel Richter

Daniel Richter, ‘Tarifa’, 2001
Tarifa, 2001
Oil on canvas, 137 4/5 × 110 1/5 in, 350 × 280 cm
Daniel Richter, ‘Süden’, 2002
Süden, 2002
Oil on canvas
289.4 × 299.6 cm
Daniel Richter - Grimm Gallery
Gundula, 2001
Oil on canvas
230 x 150 cm
Daniel Richter, Flash (small version), 2009
Flash (small version), 2009
Oil on canvas
270 x 220 cm

Daniel Richter, ohne Titel (untitled), 2009
ohne Titel (untitled), 2009
Oil on canvas, 298 x 598 cm | 117 3/8 x 235 3/8 in

Daniel Richter (b. 1962) is a German painter whose strongly coloured, often slightly surreal paintings convey current events and art historical issues with an irreverent and energetic approach.

A way of working through the insecurity, fear and paranoia of being in the world. The key, he says, is to avoid distance and to make painting human: “The moment you take something that has a human effect on you, something you can’t describe, the whole thing transforms from a topic to something that is about yourself.”

“I wanted to bring as much information into a painting as possible, which was, on a very simple level, a way of coping with reality,”

in the painting Tarifa, that moves me so much, not only the vivid colour almost-fluorescent colors and variegated brushstrokes. This reminds me of heat detection of living beings… these figures are crammed and flowing in a small representation of a dark sea… cold and desperate… the strong distortion of the facial expression… these are indexes for danger, for fear and death, for a clue in topic of refugee, or a situations of rebellion.

i think the fluorescent colour and psychedelic scene is a very contemporary approach, as the paint is only relatively new, here i dig into some research on paint that has fluorescent pigment / or even glow in the dark.

The brothers Robert C. Switzer (1914 – 1997) and Joe Switzer where the inventors of the first fluorescent pigments which they called Day-Glo. Felix De Boeck (°1898 – + 1995) is one of those first artists to experiment with fluorescent colors. The Boeck only made eighteen fluorescent paintings. “ He used earlier grafisms – mostly self-portraits, portraits of Vincent Van Gogh and a few abstract works”. He soon realized that fluorescent paints have a limited lifespan. In conclusion: Fluorescent painting only last a short time. Even if the works are conserved optimally, the first signs of intensity loss will be visible after five years.

https://grimmgallery.com/artists/46-daniel-richter

https://journals.openedition.org/ceroart/1659

Georg Baselitz

Georg Baselitz Arrivare con cenere, 2019 Oil on canvas 304 x 350 cm (119,69 x 137,8 in)
[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P77947
[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P77945

Georg Baselitz counts Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston among his key influences, and is known for his uncompromising approach and critical stance. In 1969, he began to compose his images upside down to slow the processes of making, looking, and comprehending. This inversion would become a distinctive characteristic of his painting and artistic identity.

Baselitz explained this intriguing gesture as a way of testing the limits between figuration and abstraction. He found it very important not to create anecdotal or descriptive paintings, as some figurative paintings can be. On the other hand, he disliked the subjectivism of abstract art. The inversion of his paintings seemed to him to be the perfect compromise.

“Women don’t paint very well”. And according to him, there is a simple explanation: to be a painter of quality requires a certain amount of brutality, a quality specific to the male gender.

“I was born into a destroyed order, a destroyed landscape, a destroyed people, a destroyed society. And I didn’t want to reestablish an order: I had seen enough of so-called order. I was forced to question everything, to be ‘naive’, to start again.” 

—— Georg Baselitz

reflection

+ i love the idea of his process of working upside-down, a disorientated way to paint disorientated subjects, yet we see degeneration, sadness, illness and death, and discovering love, tenderness, admiration and beauty…

+ i would like to experiment with painting upside-down / function with my unusual hand / eyes closed / even holding my breath? to feel the strong sense of “existence” and presence…

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/georg-baselitz-699

https://gagosian.com/artists/georg-baselitz/