10 Feb 2021 – 6 March 2021
All Images courtesy of Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer
Alexander Basil (b.1997, Arkhangelsk, Russia) currently lives and works between Düsseldorf and Vienna. Basil has studied at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf and the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna under Professors Elizabeth Peyton, Daniel Richter and Tomma Abts.
Basil began his studies at Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf aged seventeen and has since been mastering the compositional aspects of pictorial painting and portraiture. With a prodigious attention to drawing as the basis of his practice, Basil’s compositions are constructed from exaggerated flat planes infused with heightened details of textiles, anatomical elements such as bruises, body hair, and facial features, alongside various thematic objects.
Within his practice, Basil’s work principally explores portraiture both of himself and his partner and muse Moritz Gottschalk. His works often depict the two intertwined in loving and sensual embrace, frequently with strong direct eye contact between the pair, presenting an image of synergy between body and mind and a sense of truly being seen.
This concept of seeing and being seen is a frequent thematic element of many of Basil’s paintings. His compositions regularly include objects such as mirrors, water, glasses, mobile phones; all of which hold both literal and figurative connotations of reflections both of our physical selves and our perceived identity. There is a vulnerability within this, as Basil’s portrayal of his figures conveys a heightened sense of exposure, devoid of flattery and in an almost exaggerated unidealistic manner.
Basil is an admirer of the work of William Copley whose influence can be seen both in the figuration of Basil’s compositions and the tensions created between unsettling representations of everyday objects. Comparisons can also be drawn to aspects of the Rococo masters such as Antoine Watteau and François Boucher. Correlations between the sensuous and voluminous nudity of the figures in the works of Watteau and Boucher, alongside the textile patterns, decorative furniture, and floral elements in Basil’s work create echoes of their delicate theatricality. However, Basil ultimately subverts the underlying themes of lust, eroticism, and hedonism in Rococo with works that explore deeper themes of love, violence, and connectivity.
Text: Abby Mckenzie
Basil’s previous solo exhibitions include Alexander Basil, curated by Kirsi Mikkola, Salon Dahlmann | Miettinen Collection, Berlin, 2020. He has also exhibited in group exhibitions including: Diskrete Simulation, curated by Jakob Lena Knebl, Galerie Crone, Vienna, 2020; Touch Me: Nudes from the Miettinen Collection, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, 2020; Trust. Pictures of the class of Tomma Abts, KIT-Art in the Tunnel, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2017.
Basil was the 2020 recipient of The Art Association for the Rhineland and Westphalia/The Foundation for Art and Culture of the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf travel grant.