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GEORGE CONDO (USA, B. 1957)
GEORGE CONDO (USA, B. 1957)

Blue Portrait Composition

Details
GEORGE CONDO (USA, B. 1957)
Blue Portrait Composition
ink, acrylic and gesso on paper
153 x 105.4 cm. (60 ¼ x 41 ½ in.)
Painted in 2013
Provenance
Skarstedt Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013.

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Kimmy Lau
Kimmy Lau

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Lot Essay

Executed in 2013, George Condo’s Blue Portrait Composition is an explosion of abstracted figuration, a dynamic form in rich, vivid blue. Outlined almost entirely in black, Condo’s portrait is a bulging contortion of swollen forms, protuberant teeth, and a smirking mouth that opens into an abyss. Inky brushwork makes for expressive almost electrified hair, while bands of olive add contour and shadow to an otherwise unmodeled body. Semi-opaque periwinkle and navy fill the background jostling with the swaths of steel blue that partially obscure the figure’s face. Characteristic of much of the artist’s practice, the fragmented visage in Blue Portrait Composition echoes Picasso’s cubist works, and Condo has described his practice as ‘psychological cubism’, explaining that ‘Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one moment. I do the same with psychological states. Four of them can occur simultaneously. Like glimpsing a bus with one passenger howling over a joke they’re hearing down the phone, someone else asleep, someone else crying – I’ll put them all in one face’ (G. Condo quoted in S. Jeffries, ‘George Condo: ‘I was delirious. Nearly died’, The Guardian, February 10, 2014).

For Condo’s thrilling fragmentation of historical modes of painting extends beyond Picasso’s Modernist vision to include Frans Hals’ exuberant and often humorous animations, evident in the present work’s jocular and exaggerated forms. Blue Portrait Composition is a rollicking portrait. Central to Condo’s practice is a belief in a continuum of images, a spectrum which includes artists as well: ‘The only way for me to feel the difference between every other artist and me is to use every artist to become me’ (G. Condo, quoted in S. Jeffries, ‘George Condo: ‘I was delirious. Nearly died’’, The Guardian, 10 February 2014). In comingling perspectives and temporalities, Condo forges a new visual language, and Blue Portrait Composition presents a world of flux and potency.

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