Property from an American Private Collection
signed and dated YERKA 96 lower right and signed, titled, inscribed and dated JACEK YERKA / "UNDERWATER-TOWER" / AKRYL 1996 on the stretcher
acrylic on canvas
Unframed: 65 by 72.5cm., 25½ by 28¾in.
Framed: 72.5 by 81cm., 28½ by 32in.
Original canvas. There are no signs of retouching visible under ultra-violet light. Overall this work is in good, original condition.
Please note that Condition 12 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers is not applicable to this lot.
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 present work, by Jacek Yerka continues in the watery vein of An Oceanic Bathroom (see lot 16), this time eschewing the marine in favour of the swamp. The painting, in brilliant acrylics, depicts a polygonal red-brick tower being propelled (as though it were a space rocket) by enormous flames from a stagnant, algae covered pond. As it takes off, the tower travels through a circular opening into a blue sky above.
As with the other lot in this sale by Yerka, the artist has painstakingly drawn and coloured every minute detail of the work, from the individual bricks of the tower down to the beautifully observed breaking apart of the algae on the water’s surface. The homogenous expanse of green in the painting’s lower register offsets the forensic detail with which a seemingly random collection of discarded items are represented. A long case clock, a bedframe and a car’s exhaust pipe are amongst the objects that protrude from the water.
If Yerka was emulating the techniques of the old masters, then his subject is indebted to the more recent movement of Surrealism. Underwater Tower certainly shares some of the characteristics of Max Ernst’s 1940s output, especially when we consider the elaborate, organic constructions found in Ernst paintings such as Europe After the Rain II (1941). In Yerka’s painting, we see the artist emulating Ernst in the complex weave of the canopy that covers the swamp below. In much the same way as An Oceanic Bathroom, Yerka complicates the boundary between the natural and the man-made; we are invited to try to ascertain whether the canopy is arboreal or mechanical.
This work would seem to subvert trope of external threat evident in An Oceanic Bathroom. In the present picture, it is the internal space that is made ominous in its signifying of darkness and decay, whereas the opening to the outside world promises a release from this.