The New Museum for George Condo: Mental State

From the field trip to the New Museum for George Condo: Mental States

In The Logic of Sensation Deleuze asks the question: “why does Bacon think of the scream as one of the highest objectives of painting? When Bacon attempts to paint the scream he is concerned with establishing the relationship between the sound of a scream and the forces that sustain that same scream(The Logic of Sensation p51). After having developed the theory of percepts and affects, Deleuze and Bacon try to get to the source of the sensation. They separate the forces that produce the scream from the spectacle of the scream itself; that which is made and the forces which make it!

The George Condo exhibit carried some similarities with the types of ideas behind Bacon’s art. Mainly in letting go of a figuration of sensation and trying to paint the sensation itself. The art works of Condo at the New Museum seemed very eerie, strange, some are horrifying, and most are absurd. All of them embodied their sensation. He did not reduce his paintings to figurative drawings but captured in them the sense of absurdity, fear or irony through satire as well as through a dark sense of humor. The Condo paintings, much like Deleuze’s description of Bacon’s work, tried to capture not simply the spectacle, but its relationship to the forces that produce it. The painting of the Queen of England not only captures the royalty as absurd figurehead, but also depicts the sense of disorientation and stupidity in her expression. He did not use abstract references to insinuate the absurdity of royalty, but captured in her portrait the forces behind the title and tradition of queen. Neither did he figuratively try to make commentary on the issue. He simply drew what he wanted the audience to feel.

(George Condo/The Queen)

 Aejin Hwang


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