Exhibition of drawings by George Condo spanning four decades opens at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

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Exhibition of drawings by George Condo spanning four decades opens at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
George Condo, Ballet Study 1, 1998. Watercolour on paper, 22,9 × 31,1 cm. Private Collection, New York © George Condo. Photo: George Condo Studio.

HUMLEBAEK.- The American artist George Condo (b. 1957) has not been shown in Scandinavia, so his drawings from four decades present a unique opportunity to get to previously know this original artist. The artist is a classic in his own country and has recently had major museum exhibitions in London, Rotterdam, Paris and most recently in Berlin.

Throughout the years Condo has challenged the idea that the drawing is secondary to the painting. While it would be wrong to say that Condo is not also a painter, his works on paper form such a high-profile part of his production that this, Louisiana’s introduction to his art from 1974 until the present day, involves a good 130 works and 223 sketchbooks – on paper.

In all his artistic life Condo has had an active relationship with historical formats and individual figures from the history of art: Picasso more than anyone else, but also Bacon, Giacometti, Guston, Pollock, Manet, and Velázquez. The most important thing in this respect is to understand that he is not presenting us with a historical quiz or game, or simulating a link with the past that is not about the here and now. Condo was close to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat on the New York scene of the 1980s and he has continually tested the modernisms and avant-gardes of the European tradition with a starting point in his own American reality.

The Way I Think suggests that with the exhibition the artist is arguing broadly for his own view of art, and this look over his shoulder, with works from more than three decades, offers unusually rich insights into his art. But the title is also specifically a description of what in the artist’s view is actually happening and is experienced in the individual works as motif, as thought and as action.

In a wealth of moods and states, Condo makes us aware how composite, intense and unmanageable manifestations of the world are. In other words we do not find him expressing any idea of an unswerving unity: unreality, madness, humour and paranoia prevail in the oeuvre and offer an unusual look at something as up-to-date as discussions of fact and fake. His is a world where no emotion is too great or too small to constitute a motif; and one where typologies, old masters, bankers, dustmen, comic-strip heroes and champagne girls appear accompanied by fragmented lines from Cubism and drips from the heyday of American Expressionism. Time, or rather the times, are felt to collapse as a coherent narrative in abrupt transitions.

The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and George Condo.

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