Huma Bhabha (B. 1962)
International Monument
signed and dated 'HUMA BHABHA 2004' (on the underside)
clay, galvanized wire netting, Styrofoam and African water buffalo bone
26 x 30 ¾ x 12 ¼in. (66 x 78 x 31cm.)
Executed in 2003
ATM Gallery, Austin.
Acquired from the above in 2006.
J. Cape, The Shape of Things to Come, exh. cat, London, Saatchi Gallery, 2009, p. 150 (illustrated in colour, p. 151).
London, Royal Academy of Arts, USA Today: New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery, 2006. This exhibition later travelled to St. Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum, 2007-2008.

Lot Essay

Huma Bhabha says that ‘The idea of monument and death is the ultimate raw material of art’, and the five rigid fingers jutting out from the ground in International Monument certainly seem to subvert everything a monument might be expected to achieve. Instead of the permanence of stone, Bhabha chooses the castaway materials of modern industry, as wire mesh is manipulated into the sculpture’s anguished gesture, filled with Styrofoam and unevenly slathered in clay. If a monument traditionally attempts to record mankind’s most extraordinary actions through the ages, Bhabha’s arresting work is a memento mori, reminding us of the transience of human activity, and ultimately the decrepitude of life itself: real bone lies within the decaying materials of the sculpture in a haunting parallel with the Styrofoam, revealing the entropy and impermanence of human beings and the world they create.

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