Georg Baselitz
Germany, 1938
Hans-George Kern was born in Saxony a few years before the zone became part of East Germany. In 1956 he adopted the pseudonym George Baselitz, just when he moved to West Berlin, as it was then, after being expelled from the Academy of Fine Arts in East Berlin for "sociopolitical immaturity." Between 1957 and 1962 he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in West Berlin. In 1963 he held his first individual exhibition at the Werner & Katz Gallery in Berlin, creating a huge public scandal. Two of his works were confiscated as obscene. From 1965 he began to develop an unmistakable pictorial strategy, a figuration with a powerful visual impact, as we can see from his pictures of fallen heroes. But it was in 1969 when he began to use the pictorial method for which he is best known: turning the image upside down, a definitely provocative composition style that infringed the conventional principles of the structure of the picture, but freed it from the conditions of representation. His themes, mainly portraits, nudes, landscapes and still lifes came from the study upside down, a simple turn with which he could deny any narrative implications without the need to eliminate the figuration. For Baselitz, it was a way of reaching pure painting without having to practise pure abstraction. From 1979 he began to model sculptures: figures and heads crudely carved in wood and partly painted which, together with his graphic work, have had considerable repercussions on his own painting. International recognition came in 1980, when he was selected to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. That was a time when painting was surging forward in a renaissance that lasted practically the whole decade. Baselitz' work has been sought after for many exhibitions, and among his admirers are some younger painters who, in the eighties, chose the so-called "neo-Expressionist" style. In 1977 Baselitz moved to a castle in Derneburg in Upper Saxony and since 1987 he has alternated between that residence and the one he has in Imperia in Italy.
Nimfa Bisbe