Glenn Brown: Etchings and Sculpture: Gagosian Gallery, Geneva

9 June - 23 July 2011
Solo Exhibitions

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of etchings and sculpture by Glenn Brown.

As time has gone on, I have increasingly detached myself from contemporary art. I still look at a lot, but I am far more drawn to the preceding five hundred years of the history of painting. It seems very short-sighted just to look at the history of the past few years when there is a much longer history to draw on. I don’t really believe in cultural evolution or a cultural progression. I think we just move around on a surface of intellectual debate. The way that Guido Reni described the human condition, which was rather kitsch and overwrought in many ways, informs me more than much contemporary painting ever could.

—Glenn Brown

Brown’s Mannerist impulses produce complex and unsettling images inspired by his recollections of art of different historical eras fused with the culture of the present. In these startling visual hybrids, familiar forms and motifs can be detected, but imbued with a grotesque otherworldliness. Best known for his elaborately worked paintings, Brown has taken up the medium of etching to further intensify his engagement with the texture of surfaces and mark-making. In doing so, he offers a bold reinterpretation of the nineteenth-century tradition of copying historical subjects as a learning process.

Taking portraits by Urs Graf, Lucien Freud, and Rembrandt, Brown scans the images and digitally manipulates them. He overlays a number of the scanned portraits to create composites. The composites are in turn used to produce a series of printing plates. These plates are used in combination to create the final etchings, layers upon layers of black ink. Some etchings are made up of up to fifteen different original source images. Using this intricate and time-intensive procedure, he collapses many different reproductive processes into single inky, spectral images, as seen in his Layered Portrait (After Lucien Freud)Layered Portrait (After Rembrandt), and Layered Portrait (After Urs Graf) (2008). By conflating the source images -- and thus copying and erasing them concurrently -- Brown creates entirely new portraits or, rather “anti-portraits,” where past and present are accreted into dense palimpsests, at once familiar and alien.


Gagosian Gallery, 19 place de Longemalle, 1204 Geneva 


Opening reception for the artist: Thursday, June 9th from 6-8pm