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signed, numbered and dated 'Wade Guyton WG3795 2016' (on the overlap)
Epson UltraChrome K3 inkjet on linen
128 x 108in. (325.1 x 274.3cm.)
Executed in 2016
Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2016.
Special notice

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.

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Lot Essay

Executed in 2016, Untitled is a monumental work by Wade Guyton. Towering more than three metres in height, it stages a thrilling encounter between analogue and digital realms. Standing as an abstract self-portrait of sorts, the painting belongs to a group of works based on photographs of Guyton’s studio floor, whose rough-hewn wooden boards—littered with blue fragments—loom like an abstract grid. The work was created by dragging linen through an industrial sized Epsom inkjet printer: Guyton's signature technique since 2005. The studio floor—the traditional site of the artist’s easel—here becomes a vehicle for a new kind of painting, brought face to face with the perils and possibilities of technology.

Guyton’s studio floor has long played a pivotal role in his practice. His early printer paintings, he explains, gained much of their character from their interaction with the space beneath his feet. They were ‘dragged across the floor and often are piled up on the floor for weeks or months before being attached to stretchers’, he recalls. ‘So the floor was always an integral part of their making—the scratches on the surface of the works, the dirt the ink would soak up from the floor—all of this’ (W. Guyton, quoted in S. Simoncelli, ‘Interview with Wade Guyton’, On Curating, Issue 20, October 2013). On occasion—notably in his first exhibition of ‘black paintings’—Guyton has even gone so far as to import his studio floor into the gallery itself, positing it as an installation of sorts designed to lend context to the works. Artists throughout history have used objects as ciphers for themselves: from Vincent Van Gogh’s shoes to David Hockney’s tulips and Tracey Emin’s bed. Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud and others would paint their own studio interiors time and again. For Guyton, the humble floor became both medium and muse, imprinted—both literally and metaphorically—upon his works.

Guyton’s attack on painterly tradition sits within a long trajectory. Like Andy Warhol’s silkscreens, works such as the present delight in the unpredictability of the reproductive process: indeed, Guyton deliberately tugs and pulls at the linen as it feeds through the printer, testing its creative potential at every turn. This method similarly invites comparison with Gerhard Richter’s squeegeed abstract paintings, which—by letting the medium dictate its own course—play with the relationship between chance and control. Indeed, despite its photographic origins, the present work is supremely painterly in appearance, its swathes of colour pooling across the surface as if spread with a brush. The floorboards glimmer beneath like ancient markings: the artist’s studio, they proclaim, as is alive with potential as ever it was.

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