The New Normal
Acrylic, pigment stick and metallic paint on linen
208.3 x 203.2 cm / 82 x 80 in
A vivid example of Condo’s inimitable painterly lexicon and highly distinctive style, ‘The New Normal’ speaks both to the artist’s extensive art-historical knowledge, as well as his mastery of painting. In his new works, which he refers to as ‘Diagonal Portraits’, Condo destroys classical notions of Cubism by incorporating the Abstract Expressionist’s action painting method, offering glimpses and multiple viewpoints of a fragmented face emerging from within the seemingly inhuman visage. Building on the distinctive painting process he developed for his renowned ‘Drawing Paintings’, Condo overlays blocks of color with a series of interlocking forms and abstracted body parts.
‘The New Normal’ allowed me a window into the possibilities of an improvisational approach to the multiple psychological perspectives of our time. People have more than one personality. All personalities being seen simultaneously, and all painterly styles being applied simultaneously, these works reflect my perspective of our ever changing times.’—George Condo
Painted in July 2020, George Condo’s ‘The New Normal’ offers a highly evocative examination of the different emotional states experienced by many during this unsettling period. A striking example of what has become known as psychological Cubism, ‘The New Normal’ provides unparalleled insight into an artist’s experience of artmaking in the time of social distancing. Speaking of his experience of working during quarantine and lockdown, Condo described his personal ‘new normal’: ‘It has created a vacuum in which I had little else to do other than make art. I talk to my kids, cook, and just go on walks sometimes. There’s no real urgency in normal life, when you have social engagements and are unable to disappear into your work. Now it’s the opposite.’
Highlighting his celebrated approach to line and gesture, ‘The New Normal’ reveals Condo’s extraordinary imagination and compositional skill. Across the monumental canvas, Condo combines distinctive elements of representation and abstraction, which, according to the artist, allows him to ‘dismantle one reality and construct another from the same parts.’ ‘The New Normal’ is also a testament to Condo’s remarkable ability to portray the paradoxes and contradictions of human psychology during an unprecedented moment in history.
Condo’s innovative, irreverent paintings rethink the formal language of realism and abstraction, collapsing different work processes and genres. The artist’s experimental reconstructions examine the legacy of canonical artists, reimagining their diverse innovations in his own style. Condo’s originality lies in his unprecedented transformation of art-historical references and inspirations, combining ostensibly contradictory styles to create complex ‘action portraits’ that challenge traditional conceptions of the genre.