When you first see an upside-down figure made by German artist Georg Baselitz, you might be caught by surprise. Dig a little deeper into his subjects and you’ll find they span decades of his successful career as a painter, printmaker and sculptor. He paints exactly as you see it – upside down. He doesn’t paint them right side up and then turn them upside down. Why?
It’s clear to see that Baselitz is heavily influenced by Willem de Kooning’s expressionism. His mix of abstraction with the figure comes from an interesting idea – by viewing the subject in a non-traditional way (i.e. upside down), the viewer slows down his comprehension of the subject. It is neither abstract nor figurative – and yet it is both. He is able to emphasize colors and form instead of subject interpretation. Baselitz’s creative solution was this – “Turning the motif upside down gave me the freedom to tackle the problems of paintings.”
As designers and artists, we often have to take a non-traditional approach in order to create meaningful projects for clients. It’s artists like this who remind us to always think outside of the box.
Baselitz is considered one of the world’s most significant contemporary artists. A major retrospective of his works will be the first exhibition by a living artist at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, opening May 8, 2019. It will span the periods in the artist’s extraordinary 60-year career with even a few rarely seen works.