not adverse to a little exaggeration


‘Why should I play the Roman fool, and die On mine own sword?’ Macbeth, Act V, Scene viii

George Condo’s paintings describe a ribald world of crazed, comic engagement, theatrical illogic and a furious indifference to conventional niceties. Lush, delicate swaths of paint delineate bodies penetrated by other bodies, pierced by objects ranging from harpoons and daggers to carrots, or plagued by mental disquiet; insanity is the order of the day, served with a side helping of sly cruelty. Mouths (of which there are often more than one to be found in a single head) gnash tombstone teeth while jaws drop like broken elevators; cheeks wobble and bloat like testicles, and plump limbs thrust forward with vampirish delight. Coat-hanger shoulders, broken necks and wrenched muscles rise up at ghastly angles that, weirdly, only reiterate how at home these creatures are with dislocation and deformation. Look at a lot of Condo’s paintings in a short space of time and it’s hard to know which scenario is preferable – lonely lunacy, crazed copulation or group insanity.

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