How does the exhibition make me feel? Quite miserable. It felt as though the message was one of bleakness in old age, of isolation. I also struggled with the repetitive nature of the exhibition.
Do I like the work? No. I liked some of the techniques used but not the content of the images or the exhibition. It’s the first exhibition I’ve struggled with in a long time.
The technique I liked was using a thin black background – then applying thicker white paint, some with texture, some thinner in areas for the body – then scraping away to produce the linear element of the figure because the black background could then show through.
What does it remind me of? Doodles. It felt as though there was something careless or absent about the work – obviously that’s not true but it’s how I felt as the viewer.
What about the composition? One or two characters repetitively drawn, taking up the main focus for the pieces – either lying down or sitting.
What style is the work in? linear figures, partially abstract
What colour palette has the artist used? Dark background, white paint for the large characters and a top sprayed layer ‘haze’
What is the subject matter? The artist and his wife, comment on ageing – connection with the painting by Otto Dix “The Artist’s Parents, 1924. In the information leaflet from the exhibition it is described “In these works, Baselitz revisits an early double-portrait of himself and his wife Elke, from 1975 entitled Bedroom, reinterpreting the image using recent polaroids of himself and Elke nude, sitting in a similar position as Dix’s parents.”
What’s the significance of the title? “We’re Off” – contemplation of the ending of life, of death
What medium has the artist used? Oil on canvas for large scale paintings, watercolour & ink for drawings.
What’s the date? 2014-2016
What about the support? Canvas for the paintings, paper for the drawings. The canvases are all upside down. I actually found this incredibly infuriating. It interfered with my connection to the pieces – it didn’t transform the experience in any way for me.
Overall thoughts – what worked for me? the scale, the scraping through the paint to create lines using the background colour. What didn’t work – the repetitive element, there was something banal and depressing about it. The whole exhibition steamed of the loneliness and futility of life and the bleakness and insular nature of old age.