Untitled (Earth, for Zander). 2006. Charcoal drawing. Lower right signed. On wove paper, laid on fiberboard. 182 x 213 cm (71.6 x 83.8 in), the full sheet.
PROVENANCE: Metro Pictures, New York (verso with the gallery label). Private collection (acquired from aforementioned).
EXHIBITION: Robert Longo: The outward and visible signs of an inward and invisible grace, Metro Pictures New York, 3 November - 9 December, 2006.
In his monumental charcoal drawings the trained sculptor Robert Longo confronts us with the gloomy and yet cheerful fascinations this world has to offer. The strong chiaroscuro painting of his powerful monster waves or the depictions of apocalyptic nuclear bombs adds a surprising sculptural presence and hardness to the dynamic motifs. The contrast between the motif and the velvety soft surface of the fine-grained charcoal pigment makes for an almost electrifying effect. In our work the charcoal covers the surface of the globe floating in black space with a whirl of white clouds like a veil, visualizing the eternal presence of the earth in a monumental manner. The monumentality that Longo‘s picture possess is captivating, we are not just mere observers, we feel their visual presence almost physically. The artful and fragile surface structure evokes associations of the ephemeral beauty of Tibetan sand mandalas, their ritual destruction symbolizes the transiency of our existence. Works by Robert Longo are characterized by a similar key tone. He knows to merge quiet beauty with dramatic sublimity like no other artist of our time.