Jim Lambie (b. 1964)
Metal Box
aluminum and polished steel sheets, gloss paint and fluorescent paint
125 x 187.5 x 30 cm. (49 1/4 x 73 4/5 x 11 4/5 in.)
Executed in 2010.
The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

Inspired by everyday objects, Jim Lambie plays with shapes, colors and unconventional materials to create playful and vibrant sculptural works of art. Metal Box is constructed of several sheets of painted aluminum, with the four corners of the sheets folded over. Lambie layers multiple fluorescently painted metal sheets, and creates the illusion that they are easily manipulated by creasing each layer together. Each sheet is painted a different color on each side and stacked on top of each other. There is a sense of improvisation created by ‘dog-earring’ these metallic sheets, as he challenges the viewers’ perception of how industrial metal should behave.
Drawing from Pop artists of the 1960s, Lambie focuses on mass production, consumption and contemporary society. The artist utilizes bright, lyrical colors to create a sensual, rhythmic composition. The present work is charged with energy, as Lambie’s bright fluorescent paint pulses within the reflective folds of the metallic surface. Lambie’s art is rooted in color theory and synesthesia, in which he equates the color spectrum to the sound of music. Inspired by the music industry, Metal Box is said to mimic the old, peeling music posters that Lambie found in the streets and pubs of his native Glasgow. His art is created using readymade objects infused with an aesthetic, rhythmic and almost psychedelic nature. With its folds and bends, Lambie transforms Metal Box from ordinary aluminum sheets into a playful minimalist art piece.

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