What’s the Point of consistency in art?
Every time I put a brushstroke down on a canvas I ask myself, “What’s the Point?”
What’s the Point of each and every mark going onto the painting? It is important for an artist to ask themselves that question. I am intentional with every move I make as a painter. Even if it appears to be random or an accident, or just a part of a painting that seems less important than another, it is not and cannot ever be. The choice of color has a point. It may be to balance an area of a painting in coordination with another part or to equalize the fine line between perception and reality within the abstract perception of a formal set of guidelines (that never apply to anything other than the singular experience invested in each artwork). There is no guideline to the unknown. It is a path cut out in the wild with a machete looking for a clearing and hoping to arrive at a destination. That, I believe, is the point, in fact: to arrive at your destination. It may be on the other end of an illogical equation which finally makes sense only some number of years later, or finally does not make sense in the end but remains the ultimate ending: the finished painting.
One can see the entire world through this lens, to ask What’s the Point of meaningless intangibles and vacant thoughts, blank space or overpopulated ruminations. The degree to which the mind can play games with itself or the degree to which it can be misled with false, if not real, information. Real information can in fact be false today. We are living in a time when what is presented to us in the news cycle is real—there is no doubt that it is in fact what is being presented. However, What’s the Point in believing in the material content when it could be a truth constructed to make you believe something for the purpose of political manipulation?
What’s the Point of being consistent? In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” —George Condo
Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to present What's the Point?, an exhibition of new paintings by George Condo at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles. One of the most significant artists of the last several decades, Condo creates works that dramatically bridge an array of painterly approaches, moods, and influences from diverse fields such as art history, music, philosophy, and popular culture. The artist’s compositions often begin with the human figure, rendered variously in fluid networks of black lines and interlacing planes of bold color that move seamlessly between controlled precision and unabashed exuberance. His canvases tap into the extremes of human emotion and, at a moment of crisis in American and global politics, a sense of mania and disorder that nonetheless holds out hope for progress and resolution. The paintings in What’s the Point? demonstrate the breadth of Condo’s artistic references, for example, from seventeenth-century portraiture of beggars and thieves found in the work of Dutch and Italian masters, to his own compendium of painterly gestures, which together form a trenchant picture of contemporary human consciousness.
George Condo (*1957, Concord, Massachusetts, USA) lives and works in New York. This spring, his work will be featured in the 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, and Maritime Museum, Hong Kong (both 2018), Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (both 2017), and Museum Berggruen, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (2016). His major retrospective, Mental States, was jointly organized by the New Museum, New York, and the Hayward Gallery, London, and after opening at the New Museum, traveled to Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Hayward Gallery, and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2010-2012). Condo’s work has also been the subject of exhibitions at Musée Maillol, Paris (2009); Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2005); Bergen Art Museum, Bergen (2002), Palais des Congrès, Paris (1995), and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1994-1995). The artist has been included in group exhibitions worldwide, including the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), 13e Biennale de Lyon (2015), Whitney Biennial (1987, 2010), and others at Grand Palais, Paris (2015), Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2015); Kunsthalle Zurich (2012); Kunstmuseum Luzern (2008); Kunstmuseum Bern (2006-2007); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994, 1992); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (1994); Musée du Luxembourg, Paris (1990).