Two fantastically amazing exhibitions on in the Hayward Gallery- George Condo and Pipilotti Rist. I’m a longtime fan of Condo, but I guess now that I have certain questions concerning parts of my painting practice some thoughts came to me about Condo’s technique. Condo’s use of paint is as peculiar as the content; some paintings have in parts a heavy use of medium, maybe liquin. This leaves patches of gloss beside (rather than on top of) matt areas of oil paint. The unregulated wet and dry look to the paintings can be distracting due to the reflection of the lights, but when compared to the content it exaggerates the mania within the composition.
In the large room, one wall is devoted to portraits. The Salon-style hanging adds to the Renaissance appropriation of painting styles used by Condo. I feel privileged, though slightly disturbed, by the glimpse inside his head; meeting the absurd characters that knock-about within. I particularly like ‘The Psychoanalytic Puppeteer Losing his Mind’ 1994, ‘Three Armed Man’ 2002, and ‘Escaping Figures’ 1998.
Across from this wall are the three crucifix; Christ with the two thieves. My initial perception was of how brilliantly he depicted their torment and mania while hanging on the cross; bursts of colour exploding out of Christ with his bulging eyes, the other two thieves, equally distorted as the realisation of their slow death. However I was disappointed when I read that the burst out of Christ was confetti- I’m sure the poor fella didn’t feel much like celebrating… so I’ll stick with my first idea that it’s some kind of painful mania bursting out of his body…
In Room 2, the walls are painted a burnt umber and fall back completely, which let the characters pop out. Condo captures the inner crazy in all of these characters. The accompanying text says we all know somebody like them, but I think it’s more- we all have one of them lurking beneath. I want him to paint me.