5 October 2023 – 7 January 2024
Serpentine South and The Royal Parks
Serpentine was honored to present its first solo exhibition of Georg Baselitz (born 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony) from 5 October 2023 to 7 January 2024. This momentous event will showcase a series of sculptures and drawings that offer an intimate glimpse into the artist’s studio practice. However, the pièce de résistance is the monumental nine-meter-tall sculpture “Zero Dom (Zero Dome)” within the Royal Parks, presented for the first time in the UK.
A Journey into the Artist’s Soul:
Baselitz, with a career spanning over six decades, is hailed as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation. Emerging in post-war Germany, he has continuously pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. Since 1969, his distinctive technique involves the inversion of the human figure and motifs in his expressive paintings, deliberately disconnecting his works from traditional content and narrative. Instead, he delves into form, color, and texture, reinvigorating the tradition of figurative painting.
Sculptures and Drawings:
“Georg Baselitz: Sculptures 2011-2015” is a revelation. The exhibition will feature 10 wooden sculptures, previously unseen by the public. These exceptional pieces will be displayed alongside 68 related drawings executed in pencil, pen, and ink.
The audience will gain unprecedented insights into Baselitz’s sculptural process, witnessing the evolution of the artist’s practice during this pivotal period. Baselitz’s foray into sculpture in the 1980s is particularly noteworthy. He continued to explore the tension between the figurative and the abstract through his rustic approximations of figures and body parts carved from wood. These wooden sculptures, initially created as maquettes for bronze works, each emerge from a single tree trunk. The reduction process involves the use of power saws, axes, and chisels. This approach gives birth to solid, impactful figures while preserving the timber’s materiality, distinguished by distinctive incisions and notches on its surface.
The accompanying drawings, though not intended as preparatory sketches for the maquettes, were created during the sculpting phase. Together, these drawings and maquettes shed light on the synthesis of Baselitz’s two- and three-dimensional artistic processes. They explore the possibilities and impossibilities of translating between painting and sculpture, and from sculpture to drawings.
The Serpentine exhibition continues a rich tradition of presenting sculpture both inside its galleries and in the park, following major exhibitions of artists such as Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, and more. Baselitz’s raw and compelling works promise to leave a lasting impression, further cementing his status as a trailblazer in the art world.
“Georg Baselitz: Sculptures 2011-2015” is a testament to the enduring creativity of an artist who has consistently pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. This exhibition invites visitors to immerse themselves in the raw essence of form, body, and material, providing a rare opportunity to witness Baselitz’s profound exploration of sculptural and two-dimensional mediums. It promises to be a journey into the soul of an artist who continues to challenge and inspire.
Georg Baselitz said: “Sculpture is a thing like a miracle. It is built up, decked out, made arbitrary not as the sign of thoughts but as a thing within the limits of the shape. Even if a sculpture is hung from the ceiling, it remains a thing.”
“My carvings are best described by Immanuel Kant: ‘Out of the crooked wood of humanity, nothing entirely straight can be built. It is only the approximation of this idea that nature imposes upon us.”