Georg Baselitz: Farewell Bill, Gagosian Gallery, review

At the Gagosian Gallery in King’s Cross, one Hans-Georg Bruno Kern, who changed his name to Baselitz after the Saxon village of Deutschbaselitz where he was born in 1938, also presents Farewell Bill, a suite of impressively large and loose self-portraits in honour of the great Abstract Expressionist painter Willem de Kooning.

If Baselitz is known for one thing, it is for his decision in 1969 to flip his paintings upside down, so that his subjects appear inverted. In doing so, he wanted to achieve a tension between naturalism and abstraction. Confronted with one of his paintings of, say, a topsy-turvy face, we tend to see it first as abstract marks, before craning our necks to “resolve” the image as a portrait.


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