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hand-painted bronze
92 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 11 3/8in. (235 x 45 x 29cm.)
Executed in 2014, this work is number three from an edition of three, each uniquely painted, plus one artist's proof
Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017.
New York, Matthew Marks Gallery, Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear, 2014 (another from the edition exhibited).
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.
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:
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.

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Tessa Lord Interim Acting Head of Department

Lot Essay

A vivid, anthropomorphic work fashioned in clay before being cast in bronze and painted by hand, Basquiat (2014) is a superb example of Rebecca Warren’s playful, tactile and subversive sculptural practice. It surges up from the ground to tower well over two metres high, its slender, totemic form rippling with texture. A single breast swells out at its halfway point. The surface is glazed in glossy strokes of deep purple, petrol blue, and dark green paint, and is ignited by a thin white line that runs down its central seam. Toying with the idioms of artists like Alberto Giacometti, Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin, Warren’s sculptures insert themselves, with some bravura, into the set narratives of artistic achievement, modern sculpture, and of art history at large. The present work makes specific reference to Jean-Michel Basquiat. As Kara Rooney observes, ‘a large rounded breast abruptly protrudes from the otherwise phallic shape, its voluptuous fullness a sexually charged antagonist to the heroism ascribed to Neo-expressionist painting’ (K. Rooney, ‘Rebecca Warren: Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear’, The Brooklyn Rail, 5 November 2014). If its white streak echoes something of Basquiat’s spidery, oilstick lineation, the work’s title otherwise makes for an absurd non-sequitur, its feminine, monolithic form clashing dramatically with our expectations.

Following her 2006 Turner Prize nomination for a series of works in unfired clay, Jonathan Jones described Warren as ‘an original and formidable talent: the truest artist the Turner has uncovered in years’ (J. Jones, ‘Why Rebecca Warren is Turner prize gold’, The Guardian, 3 October 2006). She has continued to develop her unique, exuberant vernacular since, translating her clay forms into libidinal, rough-hewn bronzes that are wildly expressive, and often painted in striking colours. Riffing on and misappropriating the work of her forebears, she asserts her own authority, finding ways in which to seriously exalt and comically extrude the female human form. At once whimsical and spiked with satire, her works’ rich, deftly-modelled surfaces are alive with touch, immediacy and sensual surprise.

‘I think interrupting the surface is a way of interrupting other things that are in place and taken for granted’, Warren has said. ‘If these interruptions are provocative, then they play on the permission that I myself as an artist am supposed to have been given from elsewhere. Well from where From whatever things have already been made, and whatever ways in which women and artists are supposed to have been organised’ (R. Warren, quoted in conversation with H.-U. Obrist and J. Peyton-Jones, Rebecca Warren, exh. cat., Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009, p. 65). Triumphantly asserting its own formal, sculptural laws, Warren’s Basquiat is a gleeful object that reframes our wider view of art itself, radiating an effusive, unfettered and palpable creativity.

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