Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more


signed and dated 'WILHELM SASNAL 2010' (on the overlap)
oil and lacquer on canvas
15 3/4 x 19 7/8in. (40 x 50.5cm.)
Executed in 2010
Kurimanzutto, Mexico City.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011.
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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Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

Executed in 2010, USA is an enigmatic work capturing Wilhelm Sasnal’s cinematic documentation of contemporary society. Against a wash of sky blue oil paint, the artist presents us with a spray-painted cloud of black smoke, a form which beats down the canvas surface like a wave of thunder. Carved into the black void, a hovering white shape appears, its stark silhouette echoing a schematic map of the United States. Isolated and unsettling, the work evokes a quiet sense of doom, melding filmic drama with pictorial simplicity.

USA responds directly to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an industrial disaster which took place on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, located in the Gulf of Mexico, on 20 April 2010. One of the largest marine oil spills in the history of the petroleum industry, and one of the twentieth century’s greatest environmental disasters, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provided a natural context for an artist seeking to capture a loaded moment in time. At once deeply personal and coolly detached, USA addresses this historical experience directly, its dark mass capturing the sense of tumult of the period. However, by introducing a bright white form, or rather, a radiant window of light, into his cloud, Sasnal presents us with a shining beacon of hope—nodding suggestively towards a recovered, reborn society.

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