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Will Ryman (b. 1969)
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Will Ryman (b. 1969)

The Bed

Will Ryman (b. 1969)
The Bed
paper maché, magic sculp, resin, acrylic, wire mesh, wood and cloth
overall: 96 x 180 x 330in. (243.8 x 457.2 x 838.2cm.)
Executed in 2007
Marlborough Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above in 2008.
The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, London 2009 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 468-471; detail illustrated in colour, pp. 472-475).
E. Booth-Clibborn (ed.), The History of the Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 804 and 805).
New York, Marlborough Chelsea, Will Ryman, 2007-2008 (illustrated in colour, pp. 12-15).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Project Room: Will Ryman, 2008.
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Bianca Chu
Bianca Chu

Lot Essay

Executed in 2007 from brightly painted papier maché, The Bed is both a monumental sculpture and a theatre set. Spanning over eight metres, Will Ryman has crafted a giant, caricatured man sprawled across an unmade bed, surrounded by outsized paraphernalia, including beer cans, crisps, notebooks, slippers and a watch. The mans despondent idleness is humorously at odds with the commanding scale that Ryman has chosen for the scene. Imbuing figurative symbols with a keen sense of narrative, The Bed recalls both props and performers in a self-contained tableau of epic proportions.

Will Ryman's bold, playful sculptures draw from his early career as a playwright. Frequently expressing an emotion that treads the thin line between happiness and sadness, his work recalls the absurdist drama and philosophy of Samuel Beckett as well as the colours and cartoonish figures found in Philip Guston's late work. In his figurative, psychological penetrating sculptures, Ryman has found a direct and potent way to tell a story through the scenery alone, encouraging the viewer to immerse themselves in a delightful suspension of belief.


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