The sculptures of George Baselitz now occupy an entire wing of the the Museum of Modern Art, a fitting space for these monumental works which are hulking and austere and eventually appreciated. Throughout eleven interconnected minimalist yet large rooms the development of Baselitz’s sculpture over the past thirty years unfolds.
Oversized heads and torsos, chiseled out of and chopped from gigantic trees, gaze at and seduce the viewer. Upright figures and body fragments with a splash of primary color tease questions about the origin of form and the boundaries of human nature and challenge our assumptions about what is “human” and “natural. “
The series of yellow, mutilated and multi-faceted heads, The Women of Dresden, deserve their own isolated platform and based on the arresting shock they elicited, I now understand why the artist’s newest work, pointillist explorations of human consciousness through black paint on large white canvases, might follow them.
Thanks to two wall length photographic reproductions of his studio space and two documentary films running continuously outside the exhibition space, I came to respect this artist’s process. As evidenced by his most recent “self-portraits” – gigantic, pensive yet playful men in blue, posed beside an enormous window overlooking the Avenue President Wilson – he is still searching.
“They are very far from natural form. They are inventions.” — George Baselitz, 1983.
The Musée d’Art Moderne is located at 11 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris. For additional information, call 01.53.67.4000 or visit Musée d’Art Moderne.
Susan Lyons is a Paris contributor to The Seen.