George Gittoes


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George Gittoes

Born 1949. Works in Sydney, New York and Berlin.

Gittoes is described simultaneously as a figurative painter, a modernist, a postmodernist, a social realist, a pop artist and an expressionist.

Painter, photographer and filmmaker George Gittoes is an eyewitness to the world's contact zones. Visiting the battle and killing fields of Rwanda, Iraq, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Bosnia and Afghanistan, Gittoes captures the atrocities and attacks on basic human rights. He produces poignant, rare images of the aftermath of terror, shock and death on the edge of human experience.

Gittoes is described simultaneously as a figurative painter, a modernist, a postmodernist, a social realist, a pop artist and an expressionist. His painting "The Preacher", winner of the Blake Prize for Religious Art in 1995, was completed following his visit to Rwanda in 1995 with the Australian peacekeeping forces.

Also an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, three feature films covering the war on terror have been released by Gittoes since 2004. The "No Exit" trilogy - Soundtrack to War (2004), Rampage (2006) and The Miscreants of Taliwood (2009) - has received outstanding reviews and been selected in leading international film festivals in Europe (including London's prestigious Raindance Festival), Canada, the USA and Australia.

Gittoes acknowledges his journey is one into the heart of human darkness: "I believe there is a role for contemporary art to challenge, rather than entertain. My work is confronting humanity with the darker side of itself."

Gittoes has received significant critical acclaim and is widely published, with a monologue on the artist's career released by Gavin Fry in 2003. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, State Library of NSW, Queensland Art Gallery, and the Museum & Art Gallery of NT, as well as in regional Galleries throughout Australia and private collections in Australia, Germany, the USA, Canada, the UK and Switzerland.

After being awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of NSW in 2008, Gittoes relocated to Berlin in early 2009, working closely with Mayen Beckmann, the distinguished German curator and granddaughter of the iconic German Expressionist painter Max Beckmann. Mayen herself has compared Gittoes' expressive style with that of her late grandfather, sharing a commitment for revealing the darker side of human nature during times of conflict, and as she describes, "a mania for drawing". It was in Berlin that Gittoes produced and exhibited his Descendence series (2009-10) before returning to the Tribal Belt of Pakistan.

A recentexhibition curated by James Harithas, 'Witness to War', at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, was the first major presentation of Gittoes' work in the United States, where he has received growing market interest.


Afghanistan Times interview 1/7/11
The Station Museum website
ABC television 3/11/11
Interview with Levi Strauss for The Brooklyn Rail, Jul 2010
CNN interview with Becky Anderson, Mar 2010
Studio International, UK, article by Janet McKenzie, Mar 2010

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