Sotheby’s is thrilled to be offering an exciting group of seventeen works from a private European collection throughout the afternoon session of the Contemporary Art Day Auction on the 1st of July. Featuring a selection of the best emerging artists working today, this young collection perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of our time. Broad in its scope yet conceptually coherent, Cutting-Edge: Works from a Private European Collection provides an exclusive glimpse into the art of collecting from the standpoint of challenging and genuinely passionate individuals. Each work in the present selection resonates as a testament to the connoisseurs who assembled it, and to their acute eye for quality in various budding artistic practices.
Starting strong, the sequence is ushered with a seminal work by musician and visual artist Brendan Fowler, also known under the pseudonym BARR. Best known for his instantly recognizable “crash” series of framed photographs, which are “crashed” together, Fowler mixes photography and performance with a sculptural practice. These signature pieces – of which Lot 302 is a great example – reshuffle different narratives from varied and mainly autobiographical sources.
The monochromatic swirling painting by young Brooklyn-based artist Julia Dault (Lot 303) perfectly encapsulates the artist’s ingenious blend of chic minimalism and bold expressionism; whilst N. Dash’s Healer (Lot 306) displays a wonderful pattern of indigo-tinted folded canvas, balanced in an impossible push-and-pull tension between its wooden supports.
Kerstin Brätsch, co-founder of the collective Das Institut, is already widely collected by institutions such as the MoMA. Her multi-faceted and provocative practice is un-categorisable, yet Lot 305 seems to encapsulate her uniqueness.
Challenging the medium of painting as the dominant means of representation across the ages, Nikolas Gambaroff’s layering of promotional posters with expressive brushstrokes creates nonsensical pictures that confuse our established pictorial hierarchy (Lot 319).
New York-based artist Michael DeLucia (Lot 320) reappropriates industrial materials and re-presents them in a way that drains them of their practicability.
Walead Beshty’s discovery of the photogram stems from an accidental source: when he was travelling, one of his rolls of exposed film got damaged through a US airport X-ray. The incidental scars etched on the photographic paper sparked his interest for non-conventional and/or camera-less photography, of which Lot 304 is a particularly wonderful example.
When Matthew Chambers creates paintings that he doesn’t find stimulating or inspiring enough, he lacerates them and re-assembles them in a kaleidoscopic pattern. The resulting “slash paintings” are therefore phoenixes rising from the ashes of creative dissatisfaction (Lot 321).
The following all-American figures conclude the abstract section of the group: Josh Smith with one of his shameless autographs that ironically question the aura of legend surrounding the persona of the artist (Lot 322); and Aaron Young's golden Skidmark, deeply imprinted by the wheels of raging motorbikes (Lot 325).
Two remarkable works by young British artists of the highest calibre open the figurative section: a comparatively early work on paper by the highly acclaimed Hurvin Anderson (Lot 349), and a beautiful portrait from Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s made-up reality (Lot 353).
Next, a grandiose tableau by Florian Maier-Aichen and a Huma Bhabha landscape infused with a glowing wash of crimson red constitute the photographic facet of the group (Lots 426 and 447). A little plastiline monster named Ralf by Austrian collective Gelitin, a liberal adaptation of de Chirico’s drawing of Euripides by L.A.-based Elliott Hundley, and a trademark Joana Vasconcelos ceramic frog dressed up with a delicate of crochet make a charmingly humourous epilogue to this versatile collection (Lots 461, 462 and 466).