Lot 476
  • 476

ROBERT GOBER | The Basinless Sink

400,000 - 600,000 USD
519,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Robert Gober
  • The Basinless Sink
  • signed, titled and dated 1985 twice on the reverse
  • semi-gloss enamel paint on plaster, wood and wire lath


Gallery Nature Morte, New York
Collection of Jerry and Emily Spiegel, New York (acquired from the above in March 1986)
Thence by descent to the present owner


New York, Gallery Nature Morte, Robert Gober and Kevin Larmon: An Installation, March 1986
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen; Bern, Kunsthalle, Robert Gober, May - September 1990, p. 62 illustrated 
Basel, Schaulager, Robert Gober. Work 1976-2007, May - October 2007, pp. 130 and 134-135, illustrated in color 


Elisabeth Sussman, The Problem of Primal Scene, Boston 1988, p. 60
Joan Simon, Robert Gober, Paris 1991, p. 17
Jörg-Uwe Albig, "Zu Hause Herrschten die Dämonen der Kindheit," Art Das Kunstmagazin, 1994, p. 64 
Alexander Braun, Robert Gober: Werke von 1976 bis heute: Amerikanische Kunst der Gegenwart im Spannungsfeld einer vernetzten Bildrealität, Nuremberg 2003, p. 98, illustrated
Theodora Vischer, Ed., Robert Gober: Sculptures and Installations 1979 - 2007, Göttingen 2007, pp. 130 and 134-135, illustrated in color 

Catalogue Note

“One of my earliest memories is of standing in front of the counter that held our kitchen sink. The top of my head was much lower than the height of the sink, where I would watch my mother for countless hours. I remember thinking that life would be different when I could see for myself the interior of the sink.” Robert Gober

Quietly expressive, The Basinless Sink is a paragon of Robert Gober’s iconic Sinks series, which in its interrogation of the body, sexuality, politics and religion has become emblematic of the themes that defined the artistic inroads of the 1980s in New York. Executed from 1984 to 1986, every sculpture in the group is a permutation on the sinks which populated Gober’s childhood environs, each example becoming increasingly abstracted from their referent as the series progressed. Projecting a staid nobility, the present work is a highly refined exemplar from the latter half of this series, painstakingly handcrafted without a basin to appear flush to the wall. With neither the capability to supply or store water, Gober’s sink is devoid of utility, bringing together the vernacular of the Duchampian readymade with the illogical and ineffable quality of dreams and memories. Gober developed this body of work at the outset of the HIV/AIDs crisis, and the present work is a stoic and forceful visual metaphor to address notions of sanitation, health, abjection, and resilience.