10 Under £10,000: Ruscha, Condo, Gormley & More from Contemporary Art Online

Launch Slideshow

The upcoming Contemporary Art Online sale includes works by established names such as Ed Ruscha, George Condo and Antony Gormley as well as fresher-to-market artists such as Claire Rojas and Phoebe Unwin. Here, we look at ten works under £10,000 that present an exciting opportunity to begin a collection, or add to an existing one.

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10 Under £10,000: Ruscha, Condo, Gormley & More from Contemporary Art Online

  • George Condo, Untitled, 1992.
    Estimate £6,000-8,000.
    George Condo’s playful drawing, Untitled, was executed in the early 1990s at the height of his Artificial Realist period which aimed to dismantle “one reality and construct another from the same parts” (George Condo cited in Exh. Cat., New York, Luhring Augustine, George Condo: Existential Portraits, 2006, p. 8). The central figure can be identified as a clown, a popular subject for Condo at the start of his career in the 1980s.

    Condo often aimed to challenge the view of this subject as ‘debased’ and ‘kitsch’ by using clowns as the focus of his distorted theatrical portraits, as a rejection of the elevated status of portraiture as a genre. Having long challenged the primacy of painting, Condo has never considered his paintings as the fulfilment of his drawing’s purpose. Drawings like Untitled reveal the process through which the artist morphs his imaginary subjects into psychological cubism and distorts them with abstraction.
  • Sol LeWitt, Horizontal Bands, 1991.
    Estimate £5,000-7,000.
    Using an inimitable vocabulary of geometric forms, Sol LeWitt creates works guided by principles of symmetry and repetition. Though LeWitt is perhaps best known for his grid sculptures, the artist emphasizes that all his ideas begin as two-dimensional sketches in his notebook. His works on paper, such as Horizontal Bands, can then be considered a true representation of the LeWitt’s creative process which, guided by intuitive thought, progresses organically.
  • Yoshitomo Nara, Cosmic Girls: Eyes Opened/Eyes Closed, 2008.
    Estimate £3,000-4,000.
    Cosmic Girls: Eyes Open/Eyes Closed is a synthesis of contradictions: of Eastern and Western themes, of high and low art, of maturity and adolescence. With pudgy cheeks, a high forehead, underdeveloped mouth and nose, and disproportionately large eyes, the central figure of this work exhibits the stimuli found in youthful physiognomies that elicit brood care behaviour in the viewer, causing an instant sympathetic reaction.

    The intense head-on view of this double portrait facilitates the viewer’s further psychological engagement with the work and their identification with the adolescent mentality. Executed in Nara’s signature cartoonish style and drawing on a range of pop culture references including manga, anime and Walt Disney Cartoons, Cosmic Girls reflects the artist’s changing mindscape.

    With its pastel hues and soft outlines, this works represents a shift from Nara’s works of the 2000s which used the image of the young girl to explore themes of rebellion and hostility.
  • Clare Rojas, Untitled, 2007.
    Estimate £1,000-1,500.
    Using Clare Rojas’ signature visual language of flattened forms and quilt-like images, Untitled depicts an older gentleman dragging his feet through a barren green landscape while clutching at his waist-length moustache. Using Rojas’ typical muted pallet of earth tones, this perplexing fairy-tale fits seamlessly within the established tradition of her narrative works.

    Rojas draws on a variety of references including American folk art, Quaker aesthetics and Native American textiles to create an aesthetic vocabulary that is both deeply personal and grounded in a broader American tradition.
  • Micheal Landy, H.2.N.Y. Their Time Rubs Out They Destroy Themselves, 2007.
    Estimate £5,000-7,000.
    In 1982, Michael Landy witnessed Jean Tanguely’s self-constructing and self-destructing work Homage to New York at his 1982 retrospective at the Tate. Between 2006 and 2007, Landy produced over 160 drawings and a documentary relating to Tanguely’s work. H.2.N.Y. Their Time Rubs Out They Destroy Themselves showcases Landy’s skilled craftsmanship, rendering aspects of Tinguely’s work with unparalleled clarity.

    Executed in correction fluid, the stark black-and white image echoes the archival photographs and footage which captured the original breakdown of Tinguely’s machine. These drawings serve as a meditative exploration into the possibility of re-staging this performance of creation and breakdown.
  • John Stezaker, Marriage I, 2006. Estimate £2,000-3,000.
    In Marriage I, Stezaker splices together headshots of a man and a woman in order create a new kind of portraiture. This surreal portrait subverts preconceive notions of gender, celebrity and glamour. To create his works, Stezaker alters archival images of (almost) film stars from Hollywood’s golden era. “I'm using an archive to create another archive of my own,” the artist has said. “My ideal is to do very little to the images, maybe just one cut: the smallest change or the most minimal mutilation.

    What I do is destructive, but also an act of deliberate passivity” (John Stezaker cited in Sean O’Hagan, ‘John Stezaker: “cutting a photograph can feel like cutting through flesh”’, The Guardian, 27 March 2014, online). His collages interrupt the seamlessness of the original photographs and make them illegible. Marriage I re-examines the role of the photographic image as a documentation of fact, collector of memory and symbol of modern culture.
  • Annette Kelm, Untitled, 2009.
    Estimate £4,000-6,000.
    German photographer Annette Kelm’s colour photographs investigate the relationship between art and advertising. Like many of her works, Untitled decontextualizes its subject, in this case sunflowers, from its surroundings in order to break it down into its formal elements, namely colour and shape.

    The result are bands of green, yellow and grey which carry across the four panels, thereby perpetuating and challenging the traditional photographic genres of still life and landscape. Her compositions are marked by a harmony of pattern, texture, light and colour and that encourage viewers to engage with the materiality of her images. Kelm uses an analogue, large-format camera to create her unique prints, ensuring that each photograph has the touch of the artist’s hand.
  • Phoebe Unwin, Nude, 2011. Estimate £3,000-4,000.
    Working solely from her imagination, Phoebe Unwin’s soft-focus abstract forms which make up Nude reflect the hues and tones which coloured her childhood growing up between California and Cambridge. The energetic palette of this work guides the viewer’s gaze in and out of focus creating a transcendent sensory experience.

    Unwin has said that “I find memory a useful editing tool in the sense that it cannot isolate image alone… I am interested in painting what something feels like rather than what it looks like” (Phoebe Unwin in conversation with AnOther magazine, February 2011, online).
  • Ed Ruscha, Books, 2001.
    Estimate £3,000-4,000.
    Books, from 2001, stands as a celebration of Ed Ruscha’s career long fascination with artist’s books, which began with his infamous and genre defining book of photographs Twentysix Gasoline Stations from 1963. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the artist produced no less than sixteen artist’s books, which came to define his distinctly west coast, deadpan aesthetic.

    In this work, the books are rendered as silver gelatin and Cibachrome prints, traditionally mechanical methods of production which perfectly mirror the techniques used in the production of the books themselves.
  • Antony Gormley, i. Self and Not Self, ii. Self and Not Self II, 1996.
    Estimate £8,000-12,000.
    Since the 1980s, Gormley has used his body as a template on which to base his immense oeuvre. “I want to confront existence”, the artist explains. “It is obviously going to mean more if I use my own body” (Exh. Cat., London, Tate Gallery, Antony Gormley, 1994, p. 49). For Gormley, the body is a site where emotion is first registered and reacted to. The abstracted figures in Self and Not Self serve as a platform on which the viewer can project themselves, while being transported into Gormley’s meditation on human experience.
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