Lot 285
  • 285

Louie Cordero

90,000 - 150,000 HKD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Louie Cordero
  • Despicable Amnesia, I Heart Social Realism
  • Signed and dated 2013
  • Oil on canvas, shells
  • 183 by 274 cm.; 72 by 108 in.


This work is in good condition overall, as is the canvas, which is clear and taut. There is light wear and handling around the edges of the painting. Examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration. Framed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The vast and complex narratives that can be derived from Louie Cordero's paintings do not rely so much from a grand scenery that most figurative painters depict, but in a kind of clockwork of tangled relations between images that churns and emits a heavy mist of convoluted expression. More machine-like than mural, his large-scale works poses a kind of circuitry that allows the parts to turn rapidly and portray an industry of colonization, greed, bigotry, intolerance, deception and exoticism-- the prevailing industries in which Cordero has seen how this part of land was manufactured and organized.

In Despicable Amnesia, I Heart Social Realism, Louie Cordero gathers the style and sensibilities of an era whose oblique vision of the future has produced art that can be seen in the same way he has seen them, which is profoundly diabolical, and to an extent—embarrassing in their presumptuousness, the once distant future that now has become novelty: cubism, bahaus, dejstil, and kitsch. Their combination becomes evident through Cordero's rendering of the surface tone, which is dark, and where a kind of blandness imposes itself. It echoes the enticement shared by artists during that period to consider the cold appeal of modern machinery as a valid source of beauty. At the centerpiece of this interlocking structure lies a god-like symbol, a graven image and monument, where everything seems to coil and mutate from. From the several contents that form the periphery we can re-trace what has been staple in Cordero's art which completes his pastiche: African imagery,  velveteen innards, floating planets, alien floras, and the naïve representations of Manila jeepney's spray-paint jobs. And to complete the orbit of this torturous terrain,  Cordero frames the canvas with an array of native corals and shells in byzantine formation, that  turns the painting into a massive piece of artifact from an ambiguous and primitive past.

Louie Cordero's  Despicable Amnesia, I Heart Social Realism, functions like a controlled awkwardness. From what looks like an assembly of inept symbolism, garish imagery, and dubious craft, actually surfaces a 'catalogue of guises' that deliberately examine the formal strategies found in the ever-persistent themes of figurative paintings that are coming out of the region: the elaborately designed social commentaries, the clever juxtapositions, the sensuous appeals of illusionistic representation—his plea is a self-imposed forgetfulness from the canons of good taste, and to replace the predictability of worn out narratives with the imperceptibility of a hoax. In Louie Cordero's new work, the hoax lies more dominant than the story. The story is about a massive entity of pure ego, grumbling with greed and hoarding the resources of natives and innocents from an exotic land. His hoax—is that this too, is social realism.