Text by Fabrizia Maselli
From March 4 Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome presents Gli Eroi, an exhibition by German artist Georg Baselitz. This is the first time that such a wide monographic show has been dedicated to the group “Heroes”, considered a sort of overview of Baselitz’s painting. The paintings were realized by the artist between 1965 and 1966, after spending six months in Florence as a fellow of Villa Romana.
The exhibition is held across seven rooms and presents the entire cycle of 70 paintings including a selection from Remix, a group of large paintings made after the millennium that reinterpret the former "Heroes".The paintings, all oil on canvas and in a vertical format, traditionally reserved for the figure-standing portrait, represent young men in precarious balance and dressed in shredder military clothes.
Also known as The New Types, Baselitz’s Heroes are a gallery of men, captured in their very human frailties, in the act of committing an existential shipwreck.
Fighters, partisans, victims of war, narrow in their ripped uniforms and standing against desolate glimpses, shrubs, suffocated horizons and piles of ruins. Heroes, who have lost their mythological aura, entrusted to a painting that is not celebratory but twisted and desperate. It’s a vigorous painting in which colour and gesture mingle in the extremely intense figures characterized by a dissonant look.
The figure of the hero is not presented in the classic sense, but it the modern one; the one that emerges from the ashes of the tragedy caused by a totalitarian society, and looking around feels disgust for blood, for the aberration, violence, and for himself.
There is a certain moral weight in these paintings, namely the difficulty of finding a meaning in to existence after having experienced how low humanity can fall. It is the awareness of someone who, grew up in the German Democratic Republic and moved to the Federal Republic of German before the construction of the Berlin Wall, saw his country divided into two halves being at odds with each other, without being able to recognize any of the two as an effective social model.
The exhibition ends with seven large-format canvases realised between 2007 and 2009 belonging to the Remix series which directly refers to the Heroes.