SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)
SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)
SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)
SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)
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Please note that at our discretion some lots may b… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN EMINENT PRIVATE COLLECTOR
SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)

Untitled V (Anatomy of Architecture series)

Details
SIMONE LEIGH (B. 1967)
Untitled V (Anatomy of Architecture series)
terracotta, porcelain, manganese, 14k gold luster, raffia, india ink and epoxy
25 3/4 x 20 1/2 x 19in. (65.5 x 52.1 x 48.3cm.)
Executed in 2016
Provenance
Jack Tilton Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2016.
Exhibited
Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Hammer Projects: Simone Leigh, 2016-2017.
Special notice
Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

Steeped in questions of racial and cultural identity, the present work is a powerful sculpture from Simone Leigh’s celebrated Anatomy of Architecture series. Having received outstanding critical acclaim at this year’s 59th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, where she made history as the first Black female artist to represent America, Leigh draws upon her Jamaican heritage to explore the subjective experience of Black women. It was a work from her Anatomy of Architecture series—the monumental Brick House, best known from its iconic installation on Manhattan’s High Line—which took pride of place in the Art Biennale’s international exhibition The Milk of Dreams at the Arsenale, earning Leigh the prestigious Golden Lion for best contribution. Executed in 2016, the present work dates from the dawn of the series, taking its place among the distinctive cycle of works shown that year at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles: another example from 2017, Georgia Mae, now resides in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

As a student, Leigh spent long hours in the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. There, she developed a deep interest in Western attitudes towards objects associated with the African diaspora, particularly the perceived anonymity of their—often female—creators. In her Anatomy of Architecture series, she re-imagines the female form through architectural tropes drawn from West Africa, the American South and elsewhere, transforming the body into a site where themes of sanctuary, oppression, visibility and conflict are vividly played out. With smoothed-out eyes, their black ceramic surfaces stand in sharp and deliberate contrast to centuries of pale marble European sculpture. Tiny roses or cowrie shells cover their heads, the latter symbolically reclaimed from their role as currency in the slave trade. Made from raffia—a material used widely in African architecture—the present work’s skirt-like structure is particularly notable, chiming with both the front of her Venice pavilion as well as her series of monumental Cupboard sculptures which similarly featured in the Biennale. Leigh also conceived a large-scale raffia skirt for her iconic collaboration with actress, singer and activist Zendaya, shot by Ryan McGinley and published in Garage magazine in 2019.

Born in Chicago, and now based in New York, Leigh originally trained as a ceramicist. Beyond this, however, she also deploys video, installation and social practice, with past projects aimed at the provision of free medical and wellness services to Black women. By the time of the present work, she was beginning to garner significant acclaim: alongside her show at the Hammer Museum, 2016 saw solo presentations at Kansas City Art Institute, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Studio Museum, Harlem, as well as a residency at Tate Modern, London. Her receipt of the first ever High Line Plinth commission two years later was followed by a major exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2019. Reviewing her recent Venetian triumph in Art News, the critic Nancy Princenthal wrote that ‘in everything she does, Leigh seizes and redirects the force of cultural and social exclusion’ (N. Princenthal, ‘Simone Leigh’s Sovereign Territory’, Art News, 4 May 2022). The present work stands as a potent symbol of this mission, testifying to the rise of one of today’s vital artistic voices.

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