In Linear Expression George Condo’s imaginary portraits invoke the kaleidoscopic range of human emotion by using quick, calculated gestures, which are then overlaid with rich tonalities and brushwork.

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

 

In particular, these new works display his virtuosic and varied use of line to delineate the mysterious, symbolic figures that have populated his works for more than four decades. Abstracted characters hold space together but rarely connect through eye contact or touch—a reflection, perhaps, of the past year of uncertainty and distance. Condo links them, instead, through his complex matrix of lines and gestures.

 

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021
Oil on linen
172.7 × 157.5 cm (framed)
68 × 62 inches (framed)

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In the painting Anticipation (2021), a palette of creams and pinks—starkly demarcated with black outlines—evokes the human body, as do two pairs of wide-open eyes and a suited torso; while brisk strokes of red, white and blue, as well as deliberate drips and spatters, generate the frenetic, expressionistic energy reflected in the work's title.

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021
Oil on linen
172.7 × 157.5 cm (framed)
68 × 62 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Anticipation, 2021 (installation view)

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In the painting Anticipation (2021), a palette of creams and pinks—starkly demarcated with black outlines—evokes the human body, as do two pairs of wide-open eyes and a suited torso; while brisk strokes of red, white and blue, as well as deliberate drips and spatters, generate the frenetic, expressionistic energy reflected in the work's title.

Linear Portrait Composition (2021), introduces the characters for which Condo is so well known: the serene girl, seen in profile and reminiscent of Picasso’s classical period nudes; the cartoonish, dog-like figure, whose bulbous black nose and rounded cheeks introduce an element of absurdity to the scene; and the mad, toothy male visage, who here seems to have a cell for a brain, or even a virus.

Held together via intersecting geometric planes, they each represent different states of being often trapped within one psyche.

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021
Oil on linen
172.7 × 157.5 cm (framed)
68 × 62 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021
Oil on linen
172.7 × 157.5 cm (framed)
68 × 62 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Linear Portrait Composition, 2021 (installation view)

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Linear Portrait Composition (2021), introduces the characters for which Condo is so well known: the serene girl, seen in profile and reminiscent of Picasso’s classical period nudes; the cartoonish, dog-like figure, whose bulbous black nose and rounded cheeks introduce an element of absurdity to the scene; and the mad, toothy male visage, who here seems to have a cell for a brain, or even a virus.

Held together via intersecting geometric planes, they each represent different states of being often trapped within one psyche.

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

 

Linear Expression also includes a number of drawings—a medium that has always been crucial to the artist’s way of working, and whose intimacy allows the flair and diversity of Condo's draftsmanship to come to the fore. On the one hand are works with open, airy networks of wax crayon lines in cool hues, as in The Unexpected Guest (2020) and Seated Drinkers (2020), which coalesce in groups of figures who gaze across the page or directly toward the viewer. On the other hand, the buildup of inked strokes, colorful facets, and differing methods of mark-making in Scrambled Heads (2021) exudes a layered, cacophonous intensity.

 

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020
Wax crayon on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020
Wax crayon on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (detail)

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (detail)

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (scale image)

George Condo
Seated Drinkers, 2020 (scale image)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021
Aquarelle crayon and ink on paper
66.7 × 101.9 cm (framed)
26 1/4 × 40 1/8 inches (framed)

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Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021
Aquarelle crayon and ink on paper
66.7 × 101.9 cm (framed)
26 1/4 × 40 1/8 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Horizontal Heads, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Horizontal Heads, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Scrambled Heads, 2021 (installation view)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021
Aquarelle crayon on paper
66.7 × 101.9 cm (framed)
26 1/4 × 40 1/8 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021
Aquarelle crayon on paper
66.7 × 101.9 cm (framed)
26 1/4 × 40 1/8 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
The Unexpected Guest, 2021 (installation view)

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“Linear expression is how I see the world . . . but in a nonlinear way outside of painting and drawing. It’s not a linear world . . . it’s a mixed up chronology of things that either will happen in the future, are happening in the present and perhaps have happened in the past. The exhibition focuses on making no real distinction between lines on paper or those on canvas. Just like there is no real distinction between the past, present and future. The reason I used the word expression is because art is how I express my feelings about humanity in our time. I cannot predict what will happen in the past nor can I predict the future. I can only reflect upon the moment the expression of lines are going down on either paper or canvas.” –George Condo

 

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

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Other drawings combine Condo's stylistic poles within one composition. In Modern Romance (2021), one of his full-cheeked figures with striking green eyes looms over the portrait of a woman who looks intently to the left. Her precise linear rendering and fanciful collar, as well as the work's sepia tones, recall the eighteenth-century old master drawing traditions that have long influenced Condo.

Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Modern Romance, 2021 (installation view)

Details
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Other drawings combine Condo's stylistic poles within one composition. In Modern Romance (2021), one of his full-cheeked figures with striking green eyes looms over the portrait of a woman who looks intently to the left. Her precise linear rendering and fanciful collar, as well as the work's sepia tones, recall the eighteenth-century old master drawing traditions that have long influenced Condo.

Abstract Figure Composition (2021) positions a highly worked surface with tortured facial features on the left opposite an ethereal, Botticelli-like form on the right, heightening the juxtaposition of the abject and the beautiful that is the cornerstone of the artist's practice. At times tender, at times violent, Condo's new works illustrate his longstanding pursuit to capture the complex and often contradictory nature of human life.

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Abstract Figure Composition, 2021 (installation view)

Details
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Abstract Figure Composition (2021) positions a highly worked surface with tortured facial features on the left opposite an ethereal, Botticelli-like form on the right, heightening the juxtaposition of the abject and the beautiful that is the cornerstone of the artist's practice. At times tender, at times violent, Condo's new works illustrate his longstanding pursuit to capture the complex and often contradictory nature of human life.

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Double Portrait Composition, 2021 (installation view)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021
Wax crayon and ink on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (installation view)

George Condo
Wild Beast, 2021 (installation view)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020
Wax crayon and graphite on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020
Wax crayon and graphite on paper
66 × 101.6 cm (framed)
26 × 40 inches (framed)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (detail)

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (detail)

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (detail)

George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin
George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (installation view)

George Condo
Female Portrait Compositions, 2020 (installation view)

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George Condo – Linear Expression – Berlin

All installation views by Ingo Kniest