LONDON - We live in an age of superlatives, and this one is a winner. Bear Witness, the Sothebys equivalent of the Palazzo Enciclopedico at Venice is a cornucopia of extraordinary artefacts, curiosities, and objets d’art drawn from across the globe. From Warhol, Hirst and Rothko to Renaissance-era marble skulls and 19th century theatrical props – from the classical to the kitsch – it is a collection with no parallel or precedent.
Anish Kapoor, Untitled. £400,000–600,000.
Sothebys premises, all 18,000 square feet of it, has been transformed into a wonderland of astonishing art that has been assembled by a single, roving collector who was captivated by two recurring motifs: the bear and the skull. Why? Because they are two of the most potent symbols in the history of human culture. The bear, a totem of power and strength, the skull, a reminder of mortality.
Ghada Amer, Untitled. £6,000–8,000.
The sale will take place over three days, not least because of the sheer breadth and diversity of the works on offer – ranging from £20 to over £2 million! This truly idiosyncratic collection is at once inspiring, amusing, amazing and at times shocking. Possibly the most extraordinary exhibition Sotheby’s has ever staged in its 270-year history, it is a unique opportunity to see a can of Coke being sold at the same time as a Warhol, to journey from Mexico to Japan, Indonesia to China – by way of the Middle East! Check out some great Middle Eastern artists, my favourites being the Adel Abdemessed and a classic Shirin Neshat.
Adel Abdessemed, Mes Amis. £4,000–6,000.
‘Not to be missed’ has a new meaning here – you are not likely to catch such an exhibition again in your lifetime. Open this weekend from 12 to 5!