Georg Baselitz: Farewell Bill

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'Licht wil raum mecht hern' 2013

© Georg Baselitz. Photo Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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© Georg Baselitz. Photo Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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© Georg Baselitz. Photo Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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© Georg Baselitz. Photo Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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© Georg Baselitz. Photo Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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Exhibition view

© Georg Baselitz. Photo Mike Bruce. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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Exhibition view

© Georg Baselitz. Photo Mike Bruce. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Free

Georg Baselitz acts like a pretty nasty guy. He thinks women can’t paint, he once depicted a dwarf with a boner and he likes to piss everyone off by hanging his paintings upside down. His work throughout his long career – he first made headlines with that aroused dwarf in 1962 – has always been marked by outright aggression. And the 12 immense new paintings and 11 smaller works on paper on show here are as harsh and distorted as you’d expect.

Each is based on the same motif: an inverted self-portrait. Baselitz stares back at you from the gallery walls, endlessly reflected and contorted like a hall of mirrors. In rushed, multicoloured swirls of paint, the artist portrays himself with a mixture of feverish intensity and childlike naivety. The paintings are covered in footprints and dirt. Through it all you can make out the word ‘zero’ – from the front of the artist’s baseball cap – scrawled across the bottom of each work.

Now in his seventies, Baselitz is like an angry teenager, rebelling by walking all over his paintings and hanging them the wrong way up. Plus, any child of the ’90s will associate the ‘Zero’ logo with altrock poster-boy Billy Corgan, the ultimate face of emo angst. It’s probably not an intentional reference, but hey, angst is angst.

There’s a lot of repetitive nihilism here, but it’s brilliant. You get the impression that the artist is doing whatever the hell he wants and he really doesn’t care what you think. So yeah, Baselitz acts like a nasty guy, but at least it means something. It’s jeopardous, it’s fun and – most of all – it’s definitely not boring.

Eddy Frankel

Event website: http://www.gagosian.com
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hackneyvi

Georg Baselitz is nasty, he likes to piss upside His immense Baselitz with a mixture of dirt scrawled across the bottom Now an angry teenager, walking the wrong way with poster-boy emo, There’s a here that whatever the what you think. So but at least it means Baselitz. It’s not definitely fun and – most of it’s – all boring. So yeah but hey, yeah but So hey but So hey but So yeah