Ice Flow
left: signed, titled and dated ‘“ICE FLOW” David Salle 2001’ (on the stretcher bar); titled again 'Ice Flow' (on the overlap)
right: signed, titled and dated ‘“ICE FLOW” David Salle 2001’ (on the reverse)
oil and acrylic on canvas and linen
right: 188 x 101.5 cm. (74 x 40 in.)
left: 188 x 218.5 cm. (74 x 86 in.)
overall: 188 x 320 cm. (74 x 126 in.)
Painted in 2001
The artist.
Cardi Gallery, Milan (acquired from the above in 2001).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

Jablonka Galerie, Thicket, exh. cat., Cologne, Germany, 2001 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Berlin, Germany, Jablonka Galerie, Thicket, September - October 2001.

Brought to you by

Kimmy Lau
Kimmy Lau

Lot Essay

Painted in 2001, David Salle’s Ice Flow is a fusion of seemingly disparate imagery into a palimpsest of layered meaning. Divided into sections, the smaller of the two shows a man resting under a tree, the sky suffused in violet and blue. In the larger, equally idyllic scene, a crystal blue river meanders towards a large mountain bathed in sunset reds and yellows. The colours are purposefully flat, rendered to look like Japanese woodblock prints. Atop this landscape, Salle has painted four self-contained images: a heap of lemons, an angel of stone, a harlequin blouse, and a woman outlined in faint brown. Characteristic of the artist's practice, the images that comprise Ice Flow were appropriated from unknown sources, reproduced here in glossy paint. In making copies, Salle gives his images new meanings, and Ice Flow is an accumulation of significances. As Salle himself said, ‘We all grow up awash in images, more or less meaningless, transitory. No doubt that’s in my head, just like everyone else, but I’m interested in trying to make something where the images matter, not as bits of random stuff, but as form’ (D. Salle quoted in H. Braithwaite, ‘David Salle’, The Brooklyn Rail, May 6, 2015). While his technique might seem to share ideas with such Pop collisions as Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines and silkscreen paintings, Salle’s imagery is never collaged or unmodified. Instead, he replicates everything by hand, imbuing his work with an air of detached yet personal investment. Salle is associated with the Pictures Generation, a loose grouping of artists who examined cultural constructs though appropriated images gathered from the mass media. Like his peers, which included Richard Prince and Barbara Kruger, Salle’s practice too confronts questions of authenticity and authorship to create worlds of oscillating meaning. As the title suggests, Ice Flow encourages wandering, and yet remains wholly and mysteriously impenetrable.

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