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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Georg Baselitz

b. 1938, Germany

For over 60 years, Georg Baselitz has tested the boundaries of contemporary art and actively shaped a new identity for postwar German painting. Though primarily credited with reviving German Expressionist painting in the 1970s, he also works in print and sculpture. The most iconic of Baselitz's works are his upside-down paintings, which he began in 1969 and continues making to examine historical and personal themes to the present day.

Born in Nazi Germany in 1938 and raised under the Communist regime of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Baselitz's penchant for controversy began early his career. In the 1950s, he was expelled from his East Berlin art school for 'socio-political immaturity'. After relocating to West Berlin to continue his studies, Baselitz once again invited public scandal during his solo exhibition of 1963 in which two of his paintings were seized by public prosecutors on the grounds of obscenity. One of these paintings, Die große Nacht im Eimer or The Big Night Down the Drain (1962–3) depicts a young boy who was not only holding a phallus but also sporting an Adolf Hitler hairdo. Claims of Nazi references returned in 1980, this time in a wooden sculpture Baselitz that was then showing at the Venice Biennale. Aside from political controversies, the artist has also come under fire for his condescending remarks regarding female artists. Baselitz is not an artist wary of controversies, however, commenting in his 2015 interview with Ocula Magazine that 'I'm not to blame for this attitude of the audience, because ultimately my job is very controversial.' For Baselitz, social backlash is a necessary part of an artist's life.

Perhaps it is his nonchalance towards controversy that has enabled him to constantly confront the boundaries of contemporary art. In 1969 Baselitz began creating his iconic 'upside-down' paintings, in which his subjects—figures, landscapes and symbols—are painted upside down. His upturned subjects distort the viewer's expectation of figurative compositions, instead calling for a closer examination of the surface of the paint. Marred by splatters and layers of paint, Baselitz's paintings emit an expressive and intense quality.

Baselitz's works are known to engage in dialogue with art history and amongst themselves. Of the artists who have impacted him, including Otto Dix, Egon Schiele and Frank Auerbach, the Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning's influence reaches as far back as 1958 when Baselitz saw his works as a young student in West Berlin. In the exhibition Farewell Bill at Gagosian London (13 February–29 March 2014), the artist paid homage to de Kooning's gestural figure and explosive colours through his own monumental paintings that explored the fluidity of forms. Similarly, the paintings Baselitz created for Wir fahren aus (We're off)—an exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey, London (27 April–3 July 2016)—derive inspiration from Dix's The Artist's Parents (1924). Baselitz depicts himself and his wife Elke emaciated, nude and seated in similar positions as Dix's aged parents but upside down. The paintings were also a reinterpretation of his own work, Bedroom (1975), another painting that features the artist and his wife. Submerged in a foggy surface spray, the aged bodies of the couple allude to the notions of mortality, physicality and time. These themes are reflected throughout another series of drawings and sculptures also created for the exhibition. This reflection exemplifies Baselitz's 'remixing' process wherein a motif is reinterpreted repeatedly across different media.

An international reputation has not stalled Baselitz's conviction to challenge the mainstream and thus take risks. This ethos is reflected in his latest works; in 2015, Baselitz presented half-painted paintings that depict either the lower or upper half of a body. These paintings in turn recall Auerbach and Schiele's figural paintings. While similar to the artist's earlier paintings of fragmented bodies, the new paintings utilise a brighter colour palette and lighter brushstrokes. Disrupting the viewer's experience of painting in a way reminiscent of his upside-down paintings, this new body of works expresses Baselitz's concerns over the boundaries of composition and gestural figuration. That same year, the artist also shared his attitudes towards painting with Ocula Magazine: 'To fail is still a problem. There is still the feeling of being in infancy. There is little solidity that supports my work, quite the contrary, I feel I am still in a very fragile state.'

Baselitz has exhibited internationally in countries across Europe, the United States, China and South Korea. Major retrospectives of his work include Georg Baselitz: A Retrospective, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007); Baselitz as sculptor, Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011–12); and Georg Baselitz, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995). Baselitz represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1980 and participated in documenta 5 (1972), documenta 6 (1977) and documenta 7 (1982). The artist currently lives and works in Munich, Germany, and Imperia, Italy.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Herr Kraut by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzHerr Kraut, 2018 Oil on canvas
118.12 x 82.75 inches
Gagosian
Wols by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzWols, 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Schoenberg by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzSchoenberg, 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Schmidt-Rottluff by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzSchmidt-Rottluff, 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Rothko II (Red) by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzRothko II (Red), 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Rothko I by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzRothko I, 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Rauschenberg (black) by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzRauschenberg (black), 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery
Otto Dix by Georg Baselitz contemporary artwork
Georg BaselitzOtto Dix, 2018 Etching with sugar lift aquatint on Somerset White Satin 300 gsm paper
85.6 x 65.2 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, An Exhibition For Notre-Dame at Gagosian, Paris
Closed
11 June–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition An Exhibition For Notre-Dame Gagosian, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Georg Baselitz, Devotion at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Closed
16 May–22 June 2019 Georg Baselitz Devotion Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, A line (a)round an idea Selected Works on Paper at Gagosian, Geneva
Closed
2 May–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition A line (a)round an idea Selected Works on Paper Gagosian, Geneva

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Georg Baselitz Ocula Conversation Georg Baselitz Artist, Germany

'I begin with an idea, but as I work the picture takes over. Then there is the struggle between the idea I preconceived ... and the picture that fights for its own life.'—Georg Baselitz.Struggle, along with the human condition and a smattering of controversy: this is what sits at the heart of work by painter, sculptor and printmaker, Georg...

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In Related Press

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‘I am one and the same person’ – Georg Baselitz looks back at a life in art Related Press ‘I am one and the same person’ – Georg Baselitz looks back at a life in art Apollo : 12 June 2019

The exhibition 'Baselitz – Academy' at the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice gathers work that goes right back to the beginning of Georg Baselitz's career, when he was still a student in West Berlin in the years around 1960, but is hardly a retrospective. There are long gaps (barely anything from the '80s or '90s, for example), and the focus is on...

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Preview Art Basel 2019 Related Press Preview Art Basel 2019 ARTnews : 7 June 2019

Art Basel 2019 opens to the public on Thursday, June 13, with two preview days, on June 11 and 12. Some 290 galleries from 34 countries will show work at the Swiss fair, which runs through June 16.

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Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Related Press Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Hyperallergic : 20 October 2018

LONDON—In 1981, the Royal Academy of Arts in London put on an exhibition of 20th century painting that changed the art world. A New Spirit in Painting was 'a manifesto,' the accompanying catalogue said; it showcased a set of contemporary, mostly European painters, whose work possessed qualities—figurative, narrative, emotional,...

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The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Related Press The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Hyperallergic : 12 May 2018

'A faint, beautiful memory' is how curator Norman Rosenthal described A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018, the current show at Almine Rech Gallery on the Upper East Side. What he’s remembering, as spelled out in the exhibition’s title, is the seminal survey, A New Spirit in Painting, which opened, barely, at the Royal Academy of Arts in...

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