Internal Riot: George Condo Captures a Transcendental Moment
Is there one of us who has not recently experienced a pervasive Internal Riot? Leave it to the master, George Condo, himself rooted in the Old Masters, but so absolutely current, to convey our state in play. The Fall show season continues with some heavyweight presentations as Hauser & Wirth introduce Internal Riot, a series of new paintings and works on paper by George Condo, showing through January 23, 2021. Debuting with the gallery in this major presentation, this personal favorite also had the honor of inaugurating their new Chelsea space.
Following Drawings for Distanced Figures, presented online earlier this spring, the work in this show was entirely made during the quarantine period, "reflecting the unsettling experience of physical distance and the absence of human contact during this prolonged time of social isolation." Bringing back his most iconic figures, the presentation is divided between large works on canvas and works on paper. Noteworthy is that Condo's figures are now almost exclusively solitary, disconnected from each other, while tangled up in an abstracted mass of expressive gestures and forms, all driven by the very intimate experience to which the artist alluded in a statement about the show: “‘These paintings and drawings explore my experience in isolation and reflect the inner isolation we have all experienced throughout our lives. Internal dialogues while in transit or asleep or in the form of dreams … The virus turned deadly, and its attack amplified the flaws in humanity, the ruthless denigration of people simply for what they look like and where they came from. The protests were justified. I protested with my paintings”
The works on paper seem to serve as spontaneous internal rumblings that spring into the larger, elaborate paintings, reflecting work Condo made daily, even as he conveys a new world that operates without the familiar concept of time, without the comfort of that constraint. As we search for a blueprint, there is guidance in art, provided by Condo, who perceives his purpose, “As an artist, I know I can right wings in my paintings … I unite every form and coor and harmonize it to the point where it sings like a choir. I’d love to see the world do that.” — Sasha Bogojev
The exhibition that runs through January 23, 2021 will be the main subject of a conversation between artist George Condo and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director of the New Museum, which will be broadcasted on Mon 9th Nov 2020 at 1 pm via Zoom.
Photo © George Condo / Photography by Thomas Barratt / Genevieve Hanson