A New Yorker in his soul, George Condo became friendly with Warhol, Schnabel, Basquiat and Haring in the 1980’s and worked with the artists of the Beat Generation. And yet, all the paintings, sculptures and drawings by this admirer of Picasso and Velázquez are deeply imprinted with European culture, part of an attempt to reinterpret the work of his illustrious predecessors, as if he was turning old stories into new legends … At a time when the primacy of novelty is demanded at all cost, Condo believes that looking towards the past means creating a family tree of predecessors on which to construct a unique, highly personal body of work.
In deciphering the composition methods inspired by the great masters, such as Picasso’s cubist fragmentation, Condo gives his work depth and perspective but also makes his figures distinctive by taking away their structure. Condo thus produces some surprising and “cartoon-like” portraits on the boundary between beauty and the grotesque, figuration and abstraction, reality and fiction… The “figure” is a way of describing an image that is already abstract: by breaking it up, the artist reveals the subject. George Condo’s fanciful mind calls on the viewer’s imaginative power to explore the new reality created by the artist, a mirror held up to the absurdity of what is, in the end, an artificial world.