Contemporary Art

Three of a Kind: Contemporary Classics from Yellow Ball

By Sotheby's
Ahead of Yellow Ball: The Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection, we look at three very different works from the sale, at three very different price points — allowing collectors in every section of the market the opportunity to acquire exceptional works from this important collection.
Gavin Turk, Land and Sky, 2012. Estimate £3,000-4,000.

1. Gavin Turk, Land and Sky, 2012. Estimate £3,000-4,000.

Continuing the tradition of appropriating imagery from elsewhere, Gavin Turk, here adopts the aesthetic of recreating a work in the distinctive style of the Italian artist, Alighiero Boetti. A key figure in the Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and 70s, Boetti was well known for his woven pieces, which employed local artisans in Afghanistan and Pakistan to produce embroidered maps and tapestries of numbers, letters and other universal symbols — fascinated as he was with patterns, sequences and modes of classification.

There is a long legacy of artists copying and replicating other artists; from Marcel Duchamp’s appropriation of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa for L.H.O.O.Q., through to Sturtevant’s reinterpretation of works by Andy Warhol and Martial Raysse. Turk has frequently turned his attention to the self-portrait, a subject matter also represented in Yellow Ball with his 2004 series, Faces — in which he portrays himself in the style of famous Warhol portraits of Che Guevara, Elvis Presley and Joseph Beuys.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, North Atlantic Ocean, Martha’s Vineyard, 1986. Estimate £15,000-20,000.

2. Hiroshi Sugimoto, North Atlantic Ocean, Martha’s Vineyard, 1986. Estimate £15,000-20,000.

Sugimoto’s meditative works have a uniform serenity that transcends conventional landscape photography. Always working in black and white, Sugimoto’s seascapes recall the turn-of-the-century images made by American Modernists such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Sugimoto trained as an architect and his meticulous eye is apparent in the symmetry and balance of this photograph. The picture plane cut equally in two; half water, half air. An image in which to get lost, and a moment of calm.

Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention ― and yet they vouchsafe our very existence.” – Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Ed Ruscha, Three Books, 2001. Estimate £80,000-120,000.

3. Ed Ruscha, Three Books, 2001. Estimate £80,000-120,000.

Words, language and text are central themes in the work of Ed Ruscha. This painting continues Ruscha’s tradition of counting out and classifying his subjects: Three Books, Twenty Six Gasoline Stations and Nine Swimming Pools are just a small number of works that follow this investigative convention.

"Words are pattern-like, and in their horizontality they answer my investigation into landscape... they are almost not words — they are objects that become words." – Ed Ruscha.

Many of Ruscha’s paintings focus on great American landscapes: photo-real deserts and mountains overlaid with bold, graphic phrases that allude to some covert narrative. Phrases such as That Was Then This is Now, or The Absolute End are rendered with the steady precision of a sign-writer, borrowing snippets from Hollywood screenplays and famous novels to transport the viewer to a fictitious — but recognisable — location.

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