Overview

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Dexter Dalwood (b. 1960)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Dexter Dalwood (b. 1960)

Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse

Details
Dexter Dalwood (b. 1960)
Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse
signed and dated 'Dexter Dalwood 2000' (on the reverse); titled 'Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
83 7/8 x 102in. (213 x 259.1cm.)
Painted in 2000
Provenance
Gagosian Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000.
Literature
Saatchi Gallery (ed.), 100 the Work that Changed British Art, London 2003, p. 166, no. 81 (illustrated in colour, p. 167).
E. Booth-Clibborn (ed.), The History of the Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 (illustrated in colour, p. 365).
Exhibited
London, Gagosian Gallery, Dexter Dalwood: New Paintings', 2000.
London, Saatchi Gallery, The Triumph of Painting Part 3, 2005 (illustrated in colour, unpaged). This exhibition later travelled to Leeds, Leeds City Art Gallery, 2006.
St Ives, Tate St Ives, Dexter Dalwood, 2010, p. 154 (illustrated in colour, p. 19). This exhibition later travelled to Reims, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Malaga, CAC Málaga.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Painter's Painter, 2016 (illustrated in colour, pp. 48-49).
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium

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Lot Essay

‘The viewer must use their imagination to complete my images, so I create images that trigger memories, or play upon images they may already have in mind about certain events. I like the idea of painting something that you may know a little about – the date, the place, the person – but that you don’t necessarily have a specific image for’
DEXTER DALWOOD

‘I have been to Seattle, actually, and I have driven near where his house is … And it’s a very different, more secluded area to the one in the painting – it’s on a back bay somewhere. I got that view, the skyline, from a magazine, but I was actually thinking a little bit of the TV show Frasier
DEXTER DALWOOD


An immersive vision spanning over two meters in height and width, Kurt Cobain’s Greenhouse (2000) is an iconic example of Dexter Dalwood’s hybrid practice. Fractured through multiple lenses – art historical allusions, collaged source imagery and pop-culture references – his warped, dreamlike paintings seek to envision moments and places as they exist in collective memory. With its flat, intersecting planes and hyper-real palette, the present work conjures the setting of the Nirvana singer’s suicide in 1994: an event shrouded in cultural mythology. ‘I create images that trigger memories, or play upon images they may already have in mind about certain events’, explains the artist. ‘I like the idea of painting something that you may know a little about – the date, the place, the person – but that you don’t necessarily have a specific image for’ (D. Dalwood, quoted at https:// www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/ sep/20/guide-to-painting-dexter-dalwood [accessed 27 August 2017]). Certain features of the interior spark recognition: the Seattle skyline visible through the window; the lone guitar in the corner. At the same time, the scene is infused with strangeness, as if imported from a twisted, parallel universe. Tinged with illusory overtones of Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the work emphasises the distance between real events and their public re-imagining. Though ‘Kurt Cobain’s greenhouse’ is, for many, the scene where his body was found, the location was actually a room above his garage – later demolished by his wife Courtney Love. The work’s vista, moreover, offers a classic picture-postcard image of Seattle that was not in fact visible from the original building. The work was included in major group shows at the Saatchi Gallery – The Triumph of Painting Part 3 (2006) and Painter’s Painter (2016) – as well as the artist’s 2010 touring exhibition originating at Tate St Ives. Stitching together history and art history, it captures the fleeting, composite way in which we visualise the past.

This process is mirrored in Dalwood’s method. His works begin life as collages of fragments cut from magazines and art books, which he subsequently uses as the basis for his canvases. In doing so, Dalwood aspires to ‘slow down’ our reactions to painting, inviting us to watch, read and interpret his visions in the same way that we might engage with a film, a performance or a sculpture. By introducing a temporal dimension to his works, Dalwood dramatizes the ways in which our brain weaves together associative elements: like piecing together a puzzle, we are continually rediverted as we attempt to untangle the image’s narrative. Speaking of the present work, Dalwood admits to his deliberate distortion of factual reality in his bid to compound the painting’s sense of déjà-vu. ‘I have been to Seattle, actually, and I have driven near where his house is’, he explains. ‘… And it’s a very different, more secluded area to the one in the painting – it’s on a back bay somewhere. I got that view, the skyline, from a magazine, but I was actually thinking a little bit of the TV show Frasier’ (D. Dalwood, quoted at http://www.eyestorm.com/, 2001). Frequently conjuring private celebrity homes, famous death scenes or historic interiors – Neverland (Michael Jackson’s Bedroom), Mao Tse-Tung’s Study, Ian Curtis’s Bedroom, Brian Jones’ Swimming Pool – Dalwood’s works induce an uneasy sense of voyeurism as we attempt to place them within our memory. Reanimated through the lens of art history, Kurt Cobain’s ‘greenhouse’ is revealed as a fictional construct: a space that – like painting itself – is ultimately no more than illusion.

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