Whist not a fan of Georg Baselitz in the past, this huge retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris back in February gave me much more insight into his practice. I’ve now been converted to admirer.
Being able to see his creative journey, not only in time but also in different media really helped put the work into context.
The self portraits as Oberon, king of the elves (above and below) form an element of his world of Pandaemonium. As the artist himself explained, “I was born into a destroyed order, a destroyed landscape, a destroyed people, a destroyed society. And I didn’t want to re-establish an order: I’d seen enough of so-called order.”
This experience of growing up in the aftermath of the 2nd World War including the partition of his home was the driving force of his art.
I hadn’t realised that the transition to painting inverted figures was gradual, with the separation of representation from content taking place over a period of time.
Most of the work on show was huge, becoming overwhelming at times. The energy coming off them though was very tangible.
I have included these last paintings, some of his most recent, as they have an elegiac quality, a sense of fragility. The artist’s reflection on impending mortality is quite moving.