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(i) signed and dated 'Francis Alys 2003' (on the reverse); signed with the artist's initials and dated 'FA7/98' (on the reverse)
(ii) inscribed 'Emilio Rivera Mexico D.F.' (on the reverse)
Diptych: (i) oil and wax on canvas on wood
(ii) lacquer on aluminum
(i) 5½ x 7in. (14 x 18cm.)
(ii) 24¾ x 36¼in. (62 x 92cm.)
Executed in 1998-2003 (2)
Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003.
Basel, Schaulager, The Sign Painting Project (1993-1997): A Revision, 2006.
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.

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Lot Essay

Thrilling the eye with a dreamlike presentation of the quotidian, Untitled (Diptych) is an example of Francis Als sign painting series which form part of the artist's diverse oeuvre. These multipart paintings are made collaboratively: Al having painted his jewel-box paintings, employs Mexican sign painters, rotulistas, from a workshop or taller who then copy or reproduce them on the monumental scale of advertising images. Anchored in the artist's everyday experiences of walking the streets of Mexico or sitting in his room, Allyrically integrates with a subtle surreality falling chairs and suspended desks into his diary-like works. In Als hazy paintings these 'glitches' become justifiable lapses of reason, the sort of transmutation that arises when one might squint their eyes to see something, rendering their bizarre presence almost banal. At odds with these ambiguous vistas, the taller's reproductions are characterised by their legibility and clarity, engaging as they do with the language of advertising.

The hand painted element executed by Alin Untitled (Diptych) is rendered in a luxuriant palette of blues and greens and depicts a shimmering seascape, light dancing off the cresting waves that lap against flotsam. The visual heritage of the taller's reproduction of Aloriginal work deals with forms of imitation, invention and subjectivity; the scintillating seascape is replaced by an anonymous concrete city scape against a powdery blue sky with wisps of trailing white clouds. Michael Darling describes this process of reproduction as almost like a game of 'Chinese Whispers,' 'where messages change as they pass from person to person and perception to perception, highlighting the ultimate subjectivity of representation, or more specifically, illustrating the divergent values of artistic and commercial image-making. Audiences are rarely given the option to enjoy the romantic world of impressions and the canny directness of advertising in the same artwork, but by bringing his group of signwriters into the gallery, Aleliminates this judgemental dilemma and fosters a liberating, ahierarchical appreciation of diverse pictorial approaches' (M. Darling, 'Francis Aland the Return to Normality', Frieze, no. 33, March - April 1997, pp. 52-3). Seemingly playful, Untitled (Diptych) pertinently exposes the components that distort perceptual and representational faculties by exhibiting both the work by the artist's own hand and its reproduction together.

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