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

The Hamptonites

Details
GEORGE CONDO (USA, B. 1957)
The Hamptonites
signed and dated 'Condo 04' (upper left)
oil on canvas
101.3 x 73.4 cm. (39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2004
Provenance
Skarstedt Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005.

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Kimmy Lau
Kimmy Lau

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Lot Essay

‘ In the minor of ideal reality, every side is equally off-balance. People try to rationalize the centre.’
–George Condo

George Condo’s The Hamptonites, 2004, is a mischievous conflation of European art history and comedic transgression. Condo has posed his two vacationers against a sky worthy of Constable. Contorted into toothy grins and bulging eyes, their faces sit atop elongated necks. These startling, chimerical forms are a signature example of the artists unique perspective on portraiture, an approach which is informed by a complex dialogue with art history. Clashing disparate references from art history, American pop culture and the visual idiom of cartoons, Condo works to dismantle the fantasies and artifices inherent in figuration. More than pastiche, The Hamptonites fuses the sartorial gestures of Van Dyck and Rubens with Vigee Le Brun’s aesthetics and a Venetian gondolier to form a fanciful amalgam of bright animated colour. ‘The point,’ he explains, ‘is not to see how well somebody paints a figure, but something beyond that. A way of saying that the figure itself becomes a map of a number of intellectual processes involved in the idea of making an art work. The figure is somehow the content and the non-content, the absolute collision of styles and the interruption of one direction by another, almost like channels being changed on the television set before you ever see what is on. All this adds up to one image, and most of the time, that image is a woman. In one way or another’ (G. Condo, quoted in T. Kellein, ‘Interview with George Condo, New York, 15 April 2004’ in George Condo: One Hundred Women, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 2005, pp. 32-33). Indeed, Condo’s portraits may appear outlandish, but by making selfhood, with all its variabilities, their thematic, these paintings contain multitudes; his mutations exist within the the land of plurality where portraiture does not need to be representational, where the soul, however weird and wild, can shine through.

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