8 Consolidated Laws 9
20,000 - 30,000 GBP
Property from the Collection of the Artist, Spain
8 Consolidated Laws 9
oil, ink and collage on wood
height: 163 by 38 by 46 cm. 64¼by 15 by 18 in.
Executed in 1983.
This work is in very good condition. Any surface scuffs, irregularities or colour variations are inherent to the work and in keeping with the artist’s practice and choice of medium.
Please note the colours in the online catalogue illustration may vary depending on screen setting.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
The eclectic work of multicultural (Italian-Lebanese-American) artist Douglas Abdell can be organised in 3 key ‘moments’ in his practice: Aekyadic structures/sculptures (1970s-present) Neo-expressionist paintings/totems (1980s) as the work presented here “8 Consolidated Laws 9” is a stunning example; and eventually his Phoenician works (1990s-2000s). They represent a constant progression in Abdell’s fascination with the origins and evolution of written and spoken language throughout the Mediterranean – from ancient Phoenicia to Hip-Hop culture.
Abdell came to prominence in the New York art scene in the late 1970s, during the heady period which also saw the emergence of street art, block-parties and the hip-hop scene. Even if his sculptures were generated in a totally autonomous ecosystem from these trends, the cultural landscape of the time is apparent in works by Abdell of this period, notably the Aekyad sculptures which were installed on Park Avenue in 1979: imposing black structures, suggesting the ecstatic speed, electricity and deft geometric movements of the underground cultures of the time.
By 1983, the year of the work present “8 Consolidated Laws 9”, New York had become a ‘laboratory’ for Abdell and the substantial permanence of the steel Aekyad sculptures began to give way to work created from salvaged ‘junk’ materials, including posters, packaging and newspapers scrounged on the neighbouring Latino and Chinese streets – all mixed up with postcalligraphic and esoteric painting. The resulting ‘Neo-Expressionist’ painting-collages and totem sculptures are a melting-pot of language and visual culture – but also a blending of dramatically different environments; the street, the gallery, the studio, the archaeological site, the hip-hop party; Chinatown and the ruins of Baalbek all appear in these works.
In 1984 Abdell published his wild lettrist and numerological manifesto, MIRROR MAGNETIK INTERVAL (a collaboration with his partner at the time Begonia Korta-Zaharra) unveiling his theories between esoterism and humanism. Meditating on the emancipation of numbers and letters, just as the totem sculpture shows off the numbers 8 and 9 to perform the symbolism of infinity, Abdell comments:
The sickness of our time is that we are educated to separate rather than connect. Be it, for example, with numbers (mathematics, chemistry, physics) or letters (philosophy, literature, art)…I will never be able to study a number without thinking of it as an expanding function, or forgetting where it comes from and where it’s going. The principle of motion is connected to everything. Nothing exists without a relation to something else.
Douglas Abdell (USA, 1947) Lives and works in Málaga, Spain. Born in Boston, MA to an Italian mother and Lebanese father, Douglas Abdell is a sculptor who also produces paintings, drawings, engravings, and tapestries dominated by writing and graphic signs. His work explores the deep bond between words, images, sound, and form in intimate and political subjectivity. The artist believes that this link has been particularly close and significant in the ancient languages, now extinct, once spoken in his family’s countries of origin: Phoenician and Etruscan.
Abdell’s work has been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is held in collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. H. H. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Switzerland. Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Brooklyn Museum, New York City, New York. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts. Stanford University, Stanford California and Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris, France.
This entry was written by Morad Montazami, Director of Zamân Books & Curator.