"This is a painting. It’s not a fake painting, it’s a painting from an imaginary character’s reality. That’s why I work with a cast of characters, all created carefully. As each of them becomes real, so do their environments, their place of being. Sometimes, I think they even come from some imaginary character’s mind.” George Condo.
With the anthropocentric nature of ancient Cycladic society as a starting point, the MCA’s contemporary art program focuses on exhibitions that explore the human figure. The timelessness of the human figure and its numerous artistic manifestations—ancient, modern, and contemporary—form the basis for the dialogue that the MCA aims to establish between its permanent collection and contemporary art exhibitions.
The figure has been at the center of artistic exploration and practice since prehistory. Looking at artifacts of the Cycladic culture (c. 3200 – c. 2000 BC) from the permanent collection of the MCA it becomes apparent that Cycladic society was primarily anthropocentric. As Cycladic culture flourished in the Early Bronze Age, images of everyday life were captured in figurines such as the cupbearer, the harp player, and dancers, now in the MCA’s collection. Today, Cycladic culture is etched in the minds of people across the world in the unique, iconic form of the Cycladic figurine.
Condo’s practice is rooted in the representation of the self or, as he puts it, one’s “many selves”, referencing the art, philosophy, and literature of the past. Playing with both time and iconography, Condo has looked to Greek Classical art, seventeenth-century Dutch old master painters, as well as Francisco Goya, Diego Velasquez, and Pablo Picasso among others.
Condo documents the absurdities of contemporary daily life: the banker, the priest, our own twentieth and twenty-first-century middle class and clergy. In his very personal and singular iconic manner Condo ignites in our mind entire stories about each of his protagonists. The very physiognomy of his subjects is studied and exploited materializing into a new form of portraiture, which evidently combines elements of Cubism, Surrealism, notions of high and low art, abstraction versus figuration, and often the grotesque side of life; for the ultimate goal to portray the complexity of the human mental state of our times.
Within his works, characters assemble from all walks of life, in all sorts of mental states, giving us a peek into Condo’s mind—an immense bank of references, ideas and mastered skills, collected over time.
Dates: 08/06/2018 - 14/10/2018
Reduced admission: €5
MCA Friends: Admission Free
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00-17:00, Thursday: 10:00-20:00, Sunday: 11:00-17:00, Tuesday: Closed
Guided tours: every Wednesday at 11.00 (in English) and every Thursday at 19.00 ( in Greek)
Museum of Cycladic Art: Vas. Sofias ave. & 1, Irodotou str.