Gagosian Is Reopening Its Hong Kong Gallery With a Show on Georg Baselitz’s ‘Remarkable Late Phase’

The 82-year-old artist's show, "Years Later," was conceived specifically for the gallery's Hong Kong venue.

Georg Baselitz's studio, Ammersee, Germany, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Ealan Wingate
Georg Baselitz's studio, Ammersee, Germany, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Ealan Wingate.

This idea of ‘looking toward the future’ is nonsense,” the artist Georg Baselitz once remarked. “I realized that simply going backward is better. You stand in the rear of the train—looking at the tracks flying back below—or you stand at the stern of a boat and look back—looking back at what’s gone.” 

True to his words, the 82-year-old German artist is currently diving back into questions of the human figure that have dominated his decades-long career. But he does have some new tricks up his sleeve—specifically, a recently conceived contact-printing technique. 

Georg Baselitz, Madame Demoiselle a long way from the coast (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Jochen Littkeman

Georg Baselitz, Madame Demoiselle a Long Way From the Coast (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Jochen Littkeman.

The technique involves transferring an image from an original unstretched and freshly painted canvas onto a second canvas, which the artist has laid over it. When the canvases are peeled apart, the resulting image that’s left on the second canvas is considered the final work. The first canvas is usually discarded, though occasionally, Baselitz will revisit and rework it.

The works are a continuation of many of the central concerns in the artist’s career, which has often referred back to and reinterpreted ideas from previous moments in his practice. Though Baselitz has often adjusted his visual language, employing a range of formal and historical allusions, the human figure has remained his central motif. 

Georg Baselitz, Black with Oil Stain (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Jochen Littkeman.

Georg Baselitz, Black with Oil Stain (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Jochen Littkeman.

“In his over 60-year career, Baselitz has aimed to achieve an impersonal, styleless style and in these new paintings he has come nearer to it than ever before. His hand has not modeled them; there is no suggestion of volume, depth, or perspective,” said Nick Simunovic, director of Gagosian Hong Kong“These paintings provide further proof that Baselitz, like Titian, Rembrandt, and Picasso before him, is enjoying a remarkable late phase.” 

The exhibition also marks the reopening of Gagosian’s Hong Kong space. Following social distancing measures, only a limited number of visitors are permitted into the gallery at a time—and Gagosian is encouraging, but not requiring, advance appointments. Still, the reception has been exceedingly warm. 

Attendance at the opening and in the days following has been robust, which makes clear that while collectors are comfortable with online viewing rooms, there is no substitute for engaging with works of art in person,” said Simunovic 

Georg Baselitz: Years Later” is on view through August 8, 2020, at Gagosian Hong Kong. 


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