MICHEL MAJERUS (1967-2002)
MICHEL MAJERUS (1967-2002)
MICHEL MAJERUS (1967-2002)
2 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
MICHEL MAJERUS (1967-2002)

Untitled

Details
MICHEL MAJERUS (1967-2002)
Untitled
signed, titled and dated ‘Milky Way Majerus 02’ (on the reverse)
acrylic and graphite on canvas
86 1/2 x 86 1/2in. (220 x 220cm.)
Painted in 2002
Provenance
neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003.
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: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk. 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.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

Held in the same private collection since 2003, Untitled (2002) is a vibrant large-scale example of Michel Majerus’ post-Pop, post-Internet painterly practice. Rising to fame in the late nineties before his untimely death in a plane crash the year the present work was made, Majerus captured the new millennium’s visual zeitgeist with a magpie approach to the languages of art history, advertising, the emerging online universe, computer games, comics, and techno and skateboarding subcultures alike. More than two metres across, Untitled depicts the logo of Mars, Inc.’s Milky Way chocolate bar blown up to monumental size. The central splash of milk and distinctive text are surrounded by swooping, rainbow-coloured shooting stars and a deep blue backdrop. Beyond simply mimicking the graphic flatness of printed packaging, Majerus revels in rich colours and textures: dynamic, multi-directional brushstrokes activate the field of blue, with expressive drips escaping its borders; the stars, exquisitely observed, sweep through the chromatic spectrum from cyan to magenta, yellow, orange and red. Taking an unabashed pleasure in the sheen of his subject matter, Majerus proposes the vital role of the painter as voyager of a simulated, commercialised and thrilling pictorial world.

Born in Luxembourg in 1967 and later based in Berlin, Majerus’ star rose fast. In 1996, aged just 29, he was offered a prestigious survey at Kunsthalle Basel; three years later he participated in the 48th Venice Biennale curated by Harald Szeemann, where he covered the façade of the main pavilion with a mural formed of digital prints, wall paint, and mirrors that reflected the building’s surroundings. He also created playful installations that formed three-dimensional paintings, combining skate ramps with coloured panels and painted walls and floors. Majerus’ vocabulary was one of open-ended potential, remix and appropriation, engaged in an endless cross-pollination of genre, form, style and surface. As curator Daniel Birnbaum wrote in 1997, ‘what’s interesting in Majerus’ work is the radical sense of presence it conveys, and its complete lack of sentimentality … Majerus does not mourn the death of painting, but instead celebrates the abundance of imagery accumulated throughout the history of art, and generated today with increasing speed by the media and new information technologies’ (D. Birnbaum, ‘The Power of Now’, Frieze, Issue 34, May 1997).

In making the Milky Way logo the subject of a large-scale painting, Majerus takes a commonplace element of the consumer environment—an image taken for granted, and rarely examined with any close attention—and frames its formal and symbolic qualities anew. With its star-bedecked branding, the wrapper refers to the galaxy that includes our solar system, while punning on the chocolate’s milky nougat centre. Majerus rejuvenates the poetry inherent in this idea, with his work making for a tongue-in-cheek counterpart to works like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the Romantic paintings that marvelled at the sublime majesty of the night sky, or the Renaissance masterpieces that depict the galaxy’s Graeco-Roman mythic origin at the breast of Zeus’ wife, Hera. While invoking the Pop semiotics of artists like Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, he restages the Milky Way logo as a thing of beauty, taking a palpable pleasure in its multivalent presence. For Majerus, the brand new, ever-accelerating cosmos of the information age is full of wonder, and he finds a sensational joy in exploring its possibilities.

More from 20th/21st Century: London Evening Sale

View All
View All