The Great Gazoo

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, George Condo - Cartoon Abstractions , 31 March - 26 May 2010, pp. 28-29 (illustrated p. 29)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Great Gazoo is a cartoon character in the Flintstones animated series and part of the body of works entitled Cartoon Abstractions, which George Condo began in 2009. Inspired mainly by Tex Avery, Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes characters, in each painting Condo begins by drawing the original outlines of these figures. He then extends these black outlines in order to produce an abstract composition which will cover the remainder of the canvas. Fragmented, subjective depictions of the character drawn from the artist’s imagination blend with the layers of paint, at times appearing clearly or implicitly beneath coloured marks, an improvisation based upon spontaneous use of the paint. Each canvas has its own chromatic palette, drawn directly from the colours associated with the character shown. In the present work, shades of green dominate the composition to match the costume of the little alien. Exhibited as early as in 2010 at the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont in Paris, the Cartoon Abstractions form a singular but very coherent small group of works in the artist’s career. Condo had already embraced the cartoons theme in depicting Superman and Batman in works from 2005. At play in these works was an acerbic comment on the values of the superhero in today’s society, as well as an underlying analysis of the genre of portraiture itself. In the Cartoon Abstractions series, Condo reflects upon his own practice as well as the age d’or of American soft power, where its cultural history conquered and transformed the world in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Condo has always drawn his inspiration from the Masters, whether Pablo Picasso or the Old Masters he copied in the Louvre whilst living in Paris. He did not merely copy their figures and subjects though, showing more interest in their techniques and rules of composition. Looking at the deep influence Abstract Expressionism and especially Willem de Kooning has had on Condo, the same analysis can be drawn. De Kooning’s heritage can be seen in the background of The Great Gazoo, where the canvas forms the stage of an action painting in which corrections, erasures and grand gestures are as important as the subject which occupies the foreground.

    Another major source of inspiration evident in this work is the artist’s tribute to Pop Art, in particular Andy Warhol and Lichtenstein. Condo’s Cartoon Abstractions similarly emphasises the gravity of the pictorial language present in cartoons, representing consumer products as emblems of a mythical American imagery. Moreover, the Cartoon Abstractions series highlights an evolution in the artist’s work, a fascination with and a craving for a chronicle of generic American imagery. By choosing to represent cartoons developed in the 1950s and 1960s, Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’, Condo links his paintings to moments in American history where cultural identity was being reshaped and the influence of mass media in the culture of a nation was only just starting to emerge. In illustrating a realistic portrayal of the artificial, these works question the legitimacy of the subject in art and the stereotypes to which we adhere. Cartoons are a product comprised of part pure imagination and part cultural framework; their realistic aspects too are a function of the perspective in which they are considered.

    When Condo exhibited this work in the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, he discussed with Emmanuelle de Noirmont the influence of Jazz music on his practice, in particular Free Jazz. This form of music emerged in America in the 1950s and 1960s and set the principle that the musician should start with a simple musical motif and improvise on it. The parallel with the Cartoons Abstractions and The Great Gazoo is particularly evident in the artist’s technique, the tremendous freedom in the composition of the canvas and the application of the paint. The lines are sketchy, colors radiate outside their linear bounds and, in certain fields of the canvas, individual details of the characters are duplicated in varying arrangements, contorted or slung over each other. Condo leaves intact the initial black outlines of the figures that not only serve as the formal inception of the central matter but also extend outwards to create an abstract configuration submerging the remainder of the canvas. Disjointed portrayals of the characters reimagined by the artist suggest spontaneity and echo a musical phrase which would be played in a variation of tones.

    Jazz, cartoons, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art - all these sources relate to a specific period in the history of the United States, the 1950s and 1960s, during which all these creative manifestations were shaping a cultural identity which is still alive today. By summoning all of them simultaneously, Condo not only blends them onto the canvas but also invokes and follows their spirit, making him impossible to categorize under any school or movement. Led by a creative force free from any constraint, virtuosic, and enthusiastic in his artistic practice, Condo offers us in The Great Gazoo a valuable insight into his creative process and inspirations.

  • Catalogue Essay

    《偉大的加佐》是《摩登原始人》動畫系列中的一個卡通人物,並且是喬治·康多於2009年開始創作的名為《卡通抽象》系列作品的一部分。主要受到泰克斯·艾弗瑞、漢納・巴伯拉和樂尼・突尼斯所出品的角色之啟發,康多在每一幅畫中都是先從繪製這些人物的原始輪廓開始。然後,他將這些黑色輪廓進行擴展,發展成覆蓋畫布其他部分的抽象構圖。從藝術家的想像中提取出來的;碎片化的主觀之描繪與層層顏料融合在一起,有時清晰地或隱約地出現在彩色標記之下,一種基於對顏料自發使用的即興創作。每張畫布都有自己的色彩組合,直接來自與所展示的角色之相關顏色。在本作品中,綠色陰影構成了與小外星人的服裝匹配的構圖。最早於2010年在巴黎的杰羅姆·德·諾瓦蒙畫廊展出,《卡通抽像》系列作品在藝術家的職業生涯中,形成了一組獨特但非常具有一致性的作品。康多在2005年開始,通過在作品中描繪超人和蝙蝠俠的形象,去擁抱卡通這一主題。這些作品中即出現了對當今社會的,超級英雄價值觀之尖刻評論,以及就此引發的,對肖像畫本身這一題材之分析。在《卡通抽象》系列中,康多對自己的創作,以及美國軟實力的黃金時代進行反思,後者的文化歷史在1950和1960年代征服和改變了全世界。

    康多一直從大師的作品中汲取靈感,無論是畢卡索,還是他在巴黎居住期間於盧浮宮複製的古典大師。他不僅只是複製他們的人物和主題,而且對其技巧和構圖規則表現出了更大的興趣。細觀抽象表現主義,尤其是威廉·德·庫寧對康多的深刻影響,可以得出相同的分析。 德·庫寧的精華可以在《偉大的加佐》背景中看到,畫布構成了行動繪畫的舞台,其中修改、擦除和宏偉動勢都有著與占據前景的主題同樣之重要性。

    這件作品中另一個重要的靈感來源,顯然是藝術家對波普藝術的致敬,特別是對安迪·沃荷和李奇登斯坦。康多的《卡通抽象》同樣強調了卡通中圖示語言的莊重性,代表著消費品作為美國神話圖像的象徵。此外,《卡通抽象》系列強調了藝術家作品演變過程,一種對紀錄美國通用圖像的迷戀和渴望。通過選擇對發展於1950和1960年代好萊塢的「黃金時代」之卡通漫畫進行表現,康多將他的繪畫與美國歷史上那些文化身份被重新塑造,大眾媒體對一個民族文化的影響,其方興未艾的時刻進行連結。通過對人造的現實性寫照,這些作品對該主題在藝術中的權威性以及我們所墨守的成規提出質疑。卡通產品是由純粹的想像力和文化框架共同組成的產品;它們的現實方面也取決於看待它們的角度。

    當康多在杰羅姆·德·諾瓦蒙畫廊展出這件作品時,他與Emmanuelle de Noirmont討論了爵士樂對他的創作的影響,尤其是自由爵士樂。這種音樂形式出現在1950和1960年代的美國,並確立了樂手應該以簡單的音樂主題開始,並在此基礎上即興創作為原則。這與《卡通抽象》和《偉大的加佐》有其相似之處,在藝術家的技巧上尤為明顯,在畫面構圖上的巨大自由度和在顏料的運用方面。線條是粗略的,顏色在其線性邊界越出,在畫面的某些區域中,人物的各個細節以不同的排列方式重複出現、扭曲或相互倚靠。康多完整保留了人物最初的黑色輪廓,中心主題不僅從這些輪廓中開始,而且還向外延伸,創建出淹沒餘下畫面的抽象結構。由藝術家重新構想出不連貫的人物描繪,顯示了其自發性,並且呼應了可以用不同音調演奏的曲調。

    爵士樂、卡通、抽象表現主義、波普藝術——所有這些來源都與美國歷史的特定時期相關,1950和1960年代,在這些時期,所有這些創造性的表現形式都在塑造著一種至今都仍活躍著的文化身份。通過同時召喚所有元素,康多不僅將它們融合在畫布上,而且還喚起並追隨它們的精神,使他無法被歸類到任一學派或藝術運動中。不受任何限制,在創作中以其精湛技巧、滿腔熱忱,康多在《偉大的加佐》中讓我們有幸得以一窺其創作過程與靈感。

  • Artist Bio

    George Condo

    American • 1957

    Picasso once said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." Indeed, American artist George Condo frequently cites Picasso as an explicit source in his contemporary cubist compositions and joyous use of paint. Condo is known for neo-Modernist compositions staked in wit and the grotesque, which draw the eye into a highly imaginary world. 

    Condo came up in the New York art world at a time when art favored brazen innuendo and shock. Student to Warhol, best friend to Basquiat and collaborator with William S. Burroughs, Condo tracked a different path. He was drawn to the endless inquiries posed by the aesthetics and formal considerations of Caravaggio, Rembrandt and the Old Masters.

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24

Property of a Distinguished Asian Collector

The Great Gazoo

2010
signed and dated 'Condo 2010' on the reverse
acrylic and charcoal on linen
165.2 x 165.8 cm. (65 x 65 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2010.

Estimate
HK$4,500,000 - 6,500,000 
€523,000-755,000
$577,000-833,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019