By WM November 7, 2023
From the press release:
Serpentine is honoured to present its first solo exhibition of Georg Baselitz (born 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony) from 5 October 2023 to 7 January 2024. It will include a series of sculptures and drawings as well as a monumental nine-metre-tall sculpture Zero Dom (Zero Dome) within the Royal Parks, presented for the first time in the UK.
These pieces offer an intimate glimpse into the artist’s studio practice and explore the frailty of the body in relation to the highly physical and raw processes he employs to make the works.
The exhibition follows a long history of presenting sculpture inside its galleries and in the park including major shows of Henry Moore (1978), Anthony Caro (1984), Louise Bourgeois (1985, her first in a UK institution), Alberto Giacometti and more recently Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow.
With a career spanning over six decades, Georg Baselitz emerged in post-war Germany as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation. Since 1969, he has inverted the human figure and other motifs in his expressive paintings to sever his works from content and narrative. Instead, Baselitz focuses on form, colour and texture, bringing new perspectives to the tradition of figurative painting.
Georg Baselitz: Sculptures 2011-2015 will feature 10 wooden sculptures which have never been exhibited before. These works will be presented alongside 68 related drawings rendered in pencil, pen and ink.
The exhibition will offer a unique opportunity to gain insights into Baselitz’s sculptural process, highlighting the latest developments of the artist’s practice during this period.
Baselitz turned to sculpture in the 1980s, continuing to explore the tensions between the figurative and the abstract through his crude approximations of figures and body parts carved from wood. These wooden sculptures were not originally intended for public exhibition, as they were made as maquettes for bronze works.
Each one is carved from a single tree trunk, reduced by using power saws, axes and chisels. This method gives form to solid, impactful figures while maintaining the materiality of timber with distinctive incisions and notches on its surface. The accompanying drawings were made not as preparatory sketches for the maquettes, but during the sculpting phase.
Together, the drawings and maquettes highlight the synthesis of Baselitz’s two- and three-dimensional ways of making and explore the possibilities and impossibilities of translating from painting to sculpture, and from sculpture to drawings. WM