George Condo, Religious Paintings - London

12 October - 14 November 2004

Condo’s new series of paintings investigate the collision of public and private values in a world where we have been led astray. Taking as his objects of scrutiny zealous newsmakers (including the clergy and business practitioners), the idea of family and our lost hope (in vegetable form), Condo finds in arranging subjects on canvas a glorification of the human figure despite all by which we are misled.

Condo’s paintings employ what could be termed ‘psychological foreshortening,’ or painting from the inside out, rooted in memory—not only that of the artist, but the character’s own image of himself. Paintings of individuals are complemented by a new exploration into the group portrait, building on 18th century compositional techniques in order to scrutinize today’s dissimulations. Psychological dramas play out in the face of individual characters, in the positions of subjects in space and in the gaze between canvases. The artist’s knowledge of diverse styles and use of metaphoric gestures enables access our newly-formed but deeply haunting collective memories of scandal while furthering the trajectory of the portrait.

Religious scandals are not the subject of these paintings. The priest is expressing his anguish in a world where the values of love have turned to hate in the hands of the corporations and reckless government officials, who patronizes religion and turn it into a political weapon.

The orgies celebrate the liberty to experience (?) and all (/) of human relations without the fear of religious retribution.

The intersections of all religions is sex and with this in mind Condo has de-humanized, through the tragic and comic, common aspects of our fears and desires.

Power has been reduced to a pathetic game of exploitation and a grotesque sociological charade.