Natural Histories at Gagosian Athens

Last Thursday, the opening of  Natural Histories took place at Gagosian Athens, an inspirational exhibition of two painted bronze sculptures by Georg Baselitz and Mark Grotjahn.

Although, the artists belong to different decades, Baselitz, born 1938 in Saxony, and Grotjahn, 1968, California, having a different background, their approaches are linked in their engagement initially with figurative precedents to evolve their works to abstract expressionism as well as in the bold metamorphoses of their wood and cardboard artworks into bronze.

d                                               Römischer Gruß (Roman-Salute), 2004 by Georg-Baselitz

Considering the self an expressive vehicle, Baselitz worked intensely on oil paintings to create roughly hewn and boldly painted wooden figures utilizing traditional woodcarving techniques. Unavoidably, he also resorted to large-scale bronze-casting, one of his works the Roman Salute (2004) a patinated bronze leg derived from a carved wooden form, wisps of red-yellow flame rise from a loosely contoured, irregularly painted black boot is one of this exhibition’s masterpieces.

g                                       Untitled (Scraped and Left Orange Cannon, Mask 25.E), 2013, by Mark Grotjahn

Starting his career with coloured pencil drawings, Grotjahn also experimented with simple cardboard-box constructions by empty supply boxes or beer cartons focusing on a single abstract motif the creation of masks which are painted with his fingers and resemble to grade-school art project. His artwork “the Mask” in bronze, which stands proudly like a gestural canvas in Gagosian’s room, with holes for eyes and a long tube for nose transformed into a sculpture of painted bright orange and yellow with spatters of turquoise and white.

h                                                   Römischer Gruß-(Roman-Salute), 2004 by Georg-Baselitz

Both artists have exhibited widely at multiple venues including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Albertina, Vienna; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Guggenheim Museum, New York.

a                                         Untitled (Scraped and Left Orange Cannon, Mask 25.E), 2013, by Mark Grotjahn

by Xenia Founta

The show runs until March, 21, 2015 at the Gagosian Gallery

3 Merlin street, Athens, 10671

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