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Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952)
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Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952)

O.T. (Fleckenbild)

Details
Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952)
O.T. (Fleckenbild)
knitted wool
63 1/8 x 141 7/8in. (160.5 x 360.5cm.)
Executed in 1988
Provenance
Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988.
Exhibited
Boston, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Rosemarie Trockel, April-May 1991, no. 35 (illustrated in colour, pp. 84-85). This exhibition later travelled to Berkeley, University Art Museum, June-September 1991; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, September-November 1991; Toronto, The Power Plant, January-March 1992 and Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, March-May 1992.
Athens, Athens School of Fine Arts, "The Factory", Everything That's Interesting is New: The Dakis Joannou Collection, January-April 1996 (illustrated in colour, p. 265). This exhibition later travelled to Copenhagen, Museum of Modern Art and New York, Guggenheim Museum Soho.
Athens, DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Monument to Now: The Dakis Joannou Collection, June 2004-March 2005 (illustrated in colour, p. 406).
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Lot Essay

Rosemarie Trockel's so-called 'knitted' pictures are probably the artist's best-known works. They were first created in the early 1980s and were in part produced in response to the German art critic Wolfgang M. Faust's provocative comments that women were essentially unable to make art, acknowledging at best a connection between 'women and weaving.' Trockel took the gist of this ignorant and rather silly remark and translated it into a series of knitted pictures that essentially metamorphosed this traditional and house-bound activity of labour into the material of her art.

Responding to both Pop art's embracing of the commodity and also to an artist like Joseph Beuys' socialising of art into a project for the reform and improvement of society, Trockel sought in these works, as in much of her art, to shed light on the often hidden role of women as workers. Using a format of simple repetition, derived from both the Minimalist and Pop art aesthetic, she repeated a single motif endlessly across the vast empty expanse of the knitted field. Her first motif was the blue and white markings of the fisherman's sweaters she herself often wears. These were followed by icons and symbols from the commercial world such as the international wool symbol, a 'Made in West Germany label' or even the playboy bunny.

In Fleckenbild, in a move that echoes both the supposedly abstract Rorsach paintings of Andy Warhol and the stain marks of numerous washing powder commercials Trockel has used the random pattern of a stain as the repetitive motif. This strange and striking combination of chance patterning and Pop/Minimalist repetition makes the knitted surface of the work look as if it has been attacked by a swarm of computerised moths. The 'high art' of the work's format also reflects the routine daily chores of many women in a way that illustrates Trockel's famous statement that her art is always 'interested not only in the history of the victor but also that of the weaker party'.

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