8 – 20 OCTOBERPost-War & Contemporary Art Online AuctionBid Now
At time when images are everywhere — a kind of lingua franca for the digital age — artists continue to confront contemporary modes of representation in multifarious ways. In the late 1970s, Cindy Sherman rose to prominence exploring the familiar signs and motifs of mass media. By the first decade of the 21st century, Meredyth Sparks and Hurvin Anderson can be seen to merge their photographic sensibilities with abstraction, cutting and collaging to compose new forms.
Spanning media, from photography to painting and sculpture, Christie’s latest Post-War and Contemporary Art online auction features a bold selection of artworks that unsettle popular iconography and reflect the diversity of the contemporary art landscape. Here, Post-War and Contemporary Art Specialist Amanda Lo Iacono profiles five key works featured in the online sale.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #169
Cindy Sherman (b. 1954); Untitled #169; signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman 2/6 1987' (on the reverse); chromogenic colour print; 49 x 69in. (124.5 x 175.3cm.); Executed in 1987, this work is number two from an edition of six. Estimate £18,000 - £22,000. This piece is featured in Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which is open for bidding until 20 October.
Marking a turning point in her art, Cindy Sherman’s 1987 work Untitled #169 forms part of her Disaster series (1986–1989). Having refined a cinematic working method in her iconic Film Stills, Sherman revisits a clichéd set of theatrical devices and themes to explore the ugly, macabre, and grotesque.
As Untitled #169 makes clear, Sherman’s imagery from this period is visually rich and painterly in texture and color. Reveling in their own theatricality and artificiality, her photographs stand as carefully arranged tableaus that evoke familiar narratives. The suspense and suggestion of violence lurking in the Film Stills is still very much present, if not amplified and articulated more meticulously in her works from this period.
Glenn Brown, Robert H. Goddard Theory and Practice
Glenn Brown (b. 1966), Robert H. Goddard Theory and Practice; oil on canvas, in three parts (i), (iii): 35¾ x 47¼in. (90.7 x 120cm.), (ii): 35¾ x 29⅝in. (90.7 x 75.3cm.), overall: 35¾ x 124⅛in. (90.7 x 315.3cm.); Painted in 1988. Estimate £12,000 - £16,000. Estimate £12,000 - £16,000. This piece is featured in Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which is open for bidding until 20 October.
Glenn Brown’s Robert H. Goddard Theory and Practice is one of his first moonscape paintings, introducing an enduring theme within the artist’s practice. Completed in 1988, the title refers to the theorist and engineer who anticipated many of the technological developments that made space flight possible.
The craters of the moon and a modernist Dutch sanatorium flank an image of a young Goddard in the center panel, painted in yellow as a subtle nod to the tuberculosis that plagued him throughout his life. The black boxes Brown has scattered across the composition allude to early computing and the pixel — the artifice of the image itself. In his exquisite treatment of paint, Brown elevates the banal to that of the breathtaking, transforming not only his source images, but also our perceptions and judgments. Just as Goddard’s experiments ushered in the Space Age, so too does Brown’s imagery open up the viewer’s visual experience to new possibilities.
Meredyth Sparks, (i) Untitled (Gudrun with Red Lines) and (ii) Untitled (Gudrun with Painting)
Meredyth Sparks (b. 1972), (i) Untitled (Gudrun with Red Lines) and (ii) Untitled (Gudrun with Painting); (i) digital scan, aluminium foil, glitter on digital print, (ii) digital scan, aluminium foil, glitter on digital print on mylar; (i) 60¼ x 38¼in. (153 x 97cm.), (ii) 60⅜ x 40in. (153.3 x 101.7cm.); (i), (ii): Executed in 2007, this work is unique. Estimate £3,000 - £4,000. This piece is featured in Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which is open for bidding until 20 October.
Meredyth Sparks creates collages that explore subcultures by appropriating and recontextualizing found photographs. These two particular works spring from an image of Gudrun Ensslin, the infamous German Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist whose figure captivated Gerhard Richter in the early 1970s. Richter included the same image of Ensslin in his Atlas collection of photographs and newspaper clippings before closely cropping the portrait in his Confrontation paintings from 1988.
To produce these works, Sparks scanned the original photographic series documented in Atlas and overlaid Richter’s crop marks and paint scribbles with her characteristic geometric patterns of aluminum foil and glitter. Playing with the abstract and figurative elements that already exist within her chosen image, the geometric forms also recall the formal language of Malevich’s suprematist compositions.
Hurvin Anderson, Poster Girls II
Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965); Poster Girls II; acrylic and graphite on paper; 13¾ x 8¼in. (34.8 x 21.1cm.); Executed in 2005. Estimate £4,000 - £6,000. This piece is featured in Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which is open for bidding until 20 October.
Hurvin Anderson’s Poster Girls II is part of a discrete series of works on paper that the artist conceived in 2005 alongside paintings from his celebrated Welcome series. Inspired by his 2002 artist residency in Trinidad, the series scrutinizes the security grilles Anderson observed on buildings across the island. For the artist, the grilles act both as a symbol of life in Trinidad as well as a decorative motif that encourages a formal reading of the picture plane.
Formed around grids, the series oscillates between figuration and abstraction. The fragmented qualities of the work not only encourage various readings, but also echo the artist’s practice. Anderson often reworks photographic sources through a process of photocopying, collage, drawing, and painting to produce an array of fragmented visual elements based on the same image.
Evan Penny, (Old) Stretch #3
Evan Penny (b. 1953); (Old) Stretch #3; silicon, pigment, hair, fabric on aluminium; 36 x 8 x 2½in. (91.4 x 20.3 x 6.4cm.); Executed in 2006. This piece is featured in Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which is open for bidding until 20 October.
Evan Penny’s art illustrates how the act of viewing is a tremendously subjective experience. (Old) Stretch #3 is part of the artist’s series named after the keystones of digital image manipulation: stretch and skew. Using the traditional format of the portrait bust, Penny pushes the boundaries of representation and sculpture. The sculpture is only deemed a successful representation after the fact, when the work can produce a realistically proportioned figure once photographed and digitally corrected.
Find these five highlights in our Post-War & Contemporary Art online auction, which features a curated assortment of pieces ranging from works by post-war luminaries including Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter, to young contemporary artists like David Ostrowski and Nikolas Gambaroff. Place your bids online now through 20 October.