Hurvin Anderson (B. 1965)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Hurvin Anderson (B. 1965)

Country Club

Details
Hurvin Anderson (B. 1965)
Country Club
oil on canvas
63 ¾ x 104 3/8 in. (162 x 265cm.)
Painted in 2003
Provenance
David Risley Gallery, London.
Private Collection, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Exhibited
London, David Risley Gallery, The Lime, 2003-2004.
Coventry, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Hurvin Anderson and Henriette Grahnert, 2007.
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

‘I had always felt a double-edged thing about who I was and where I came from. In Trinidad I could be all these things, I was the Englishman, but I was also the Jamaican. It was an interesting place to explore this no man’s land, you could kind of drift back and forwards between these identities’
–Hurvin Anderson


Stretching over two and a half metres in width, the present work is an exceptional early painting from Hurvin Anderson’s celebrated Country Club series. Eloquently poised between figurative and abstract worlds, it depicts a deserted tennis court bathed in tropical heat. Pigment melts down the length of the canvas in quivering rivulets, marshalled by the geometric rigor of the court. Nature swamps the scene, coalescing in murky green washes and delicate textural layers. Divided by intersecting vertical and horizontal lines, the composition confounds all sense of perspective, throwing foreground and background into oscillating chaos. These dizzying optical and psychological ambiguities act as ciphers for Anderson’s own sense of cultural displacement. Born in Birmingham, UK to Jamaican émigré parents, the artist spent his youth dreaming of the Caribbean shores he had never known. In 2002, following in the footsteps of his former teacher Peter Doig, he undertook an artist’s residency on Trinidad, where he took the photographs that inspired the present work and its companions. The barriers and grilles that surrounded the island’s sites of leisure caused him to reflect not only on the scars of colonial segregation and prohibition, but also on his own status as an outsider in his homeland – in later Country Club paintings, he would depict the hexagonal wire fence that enclosed the tennis court. Simultaneously utopian and disquieting, the present work offers a poignant projection of an artist caught between worlds.

Anderson’s fascination with physical and mental distance is fundamentally rooted in his own conflicted identity: a status amplified during his time in Trinidad. ‘I had always felt a double-edged thing about who I was and where I came from’, the artist explains. ‘In Trinidad I could be all these things, I was the Englishman, but I was also the Jamaican. It was an interesting place to explore this no man’s land, you could kind of drift back and forwards between these identities. In a strange way everything was quite straightforward. On certain issues they saw me as Jamaican and on others as English. It was a real acknowledgement of that position, which was quite unusual’ (H. Anderson in conversation with M. Higgs, in Hurvin Anderson: Subtitles, exh. cat., Michael Werner, New York, 2011, unpaged). Anderson’s wide-ranging dialogue with art history may be understood in terms of this rootlessness. Multi-lingual influences collide in the depths of the present work: from geometric abstraction and Colour Field painting to the lost paradises of Paul Gauguin and Doig’s own filmic memory-spaces. In certain lights, it quivers with overtones of Expressionist psycho-drama: an abandoned dystopia reminiscent of Edvard Munch. In others, however, all sense of ambience is subsumed by the complex geometric interplay of court, net and trees. Its heightened palette straddles the divide between Fauvism and Abstract Expressionism, whilst its collapse of traditional perspective brings to mind the retinal distortions of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Weaving together multiple narratives yet aligning itself with none, the work is a hybrid structure that – like Anderson’s own sense of self – sits in the gap between reality and imagination.
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