Tank Girl: Caroline Issa's Contemporary Curated

Launch Slideshow

As Fashion Director and CEO of Tank magazine, Caroline Issa is uniquely placed to take the reins for this edition of Contemporary Curated in London. Her discerning eye and inimitable style has seen her work with the most innovative names in fashion, as well as consulting world-leading brands such as Alice Temperley and J. Crew on staying ahead of the curve. A passionate collector and art enthusiast, Issa has brought together a diverse selection of works by artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Barbara Kruger and Sigmar Polke in a dynamic edit of painting, photography and sculpture. Click through to see highlights from the sale.  

Contemporary Curated
21 November 2017 | London

Tank Girl: Caroline Issa's Contemporary Curated

  • Nan Goldin, Simon & Jessica in Yvon's pool at night, Avignon, 2001. Estimate: £6,000–8,000.
    "Such an important photographer for the 1980s, this later work is very simple and much less confrontational than her Ballad of Sexual Dependency, but the intimacy is still there."


    Wolfgang Tillmans has brought the photography of the alternative scenes of the 90s to the masses, but Nan Goldin started to document the same scene in New York as early as the late 1970s. Her work often deals with love, sex, youth and violence in the sub-culture that she was part of. Whereas most of her work is very confrontational, Simon & Jessica in Yvon's pool at night, Avignon is a much more loving and intimate portrait of two friends in the pool of Yvon Lambert, the legendary French gallerist.

  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Still Life Talbot Rd., 1991.
    Estimate: £6,000–8,000.
    "Just beautiful. Tillmans' books on onions and fruit are personal favourites, and his fluidity of subject (a penis on an airline meal springs to mind), unnerves and beckons the viewer."


    Undoubtedly one of the most influential photographers coming out of the 1990s, Wolfgang Tillmans has recently become one of the most popular contemporary artists following exhibitions at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel and Tate Modern in London. If anything characterises his approach to the medium, it is his complete disregard of traditional hierarchies, which is reflected in his varied subject matter, his original approach to wall-installations, his work in both abstraction and figuration, and even the varying ways in which his images are physically presented – from loose sheets pinned to the wall to table-installations and carefully framed photographs.

  • Roe Ethridge, Mason Jar, 2011. Estimate: £2,000–3,000.
    "A master of using and critiquing product and commercial photography, in the vein of Christopher Williams, a simple jar at its best."


    Moving in between fine art, fashion and commercial photography, Roe Ethridge's work blurs the boundaries between different photographic modes and represents his subjects in unexpected ways. Mason Jar presents an everyday, otherwise uninteresting object with the same attention he would have given to an advertising image – yet there is nothing here to sell. 

  • Eileen Quinlan, Smoke & Mirrors #99, 2006.
    Estimate: £1,500–2,000.
    "Sensitive, intelligent, playing with photography's history and mechanisms, Eileen shares territory with the UK's Josephine Pryde, and US Barbara Kasten, all great female photographers with important voices."


    Blurring the distinction between figuration and abstract photography, Eileen Quinlan's captivating images are the result of carefully constructed set-ups using mirrors, smoke and coloured fabrics. Smoke & Mirrors #99 initially appears to be an abstract image, but turns out to be a layering of several mirrors that reflect an abstract background – thus extending the history of photography as a passive form of documenting an external reality, into an active mode in which an abstract, visual reality is constructed.

  • Barbara Kruger, Don't Make Me Angry, 1999.
    Estimate: £1,000–1,500.
    "Shopping, consumerism, femininity, advertising and art direction graphics. She has it all."


    Emerging in the 1980s, Barbara Kruger is one of the most important early postmodern feminist artists whose practice brings into light notions of representation and the way they address gender and identity politics. Mimicking the language of commercial advertising by juxtaposing bold text and visually strong images, she sheds a critical light on its mode of communication and authoritative language.

  • Nina Beier, Portrait Mode, 2011. Estimate: £3,000–4,000.
    "Just a really intuitive and effective use of fabric as collage, which she constructed in reverse. It has a great relationship to garment making, pattern and assemblage or even mood board making, all very familiar in my world."


    This work is a good example of Nina Beier's Portrait Mode series, in which the artist creates abstract compositions using only recycled garments. Whilst the series continues the formal language of modernist abstraction, it brings into use an unorthodox medium which has been recycled from a previous life – and in this case has a rather exotic and almost baroque pattern that visually contradicts its minimal composition. 

  • Marlene Dumas, Calvin Klein, 1994.
    Estimate: £12,000–18,000.
    "I love this quote from Marlene Dumas:

    'No, they're not all self-portraits

    No, It's not always about my daughter

    No, I had a happy childhood.

    No, I've never been in therapy.

    No, I've never slept with museum directors.

    Yes, I find compassion the most difficult thing there is and not easily compatible with creativity.

    Yes, I find myself the best example of evil'.

    - Amsterdam, February 1993."


    One of the most sought-after figurative painters of the last 30 years, Marlene Dumas has developed a unique oeuvre that is characterised by its psychologically charged themes of sexuality, love and death, often taking cue from recent history, popular culture or photographic source imagery. The present work, whose title suggests that the figure is either the fashion designer Calvin Klein or potentially a model, perfectly captures the artist's striking economy of means in a composition that seems more photographic than painterly. 

  • Sigmar Polke, Untitled, 2002. Estimate: £80,000–120,000.
    "Polke's paradoxical work, with its low-brow representation of desirable foods and other commodities, was above all a parody of commercialism. Here he seems to investigate the brushstroke itself. Quite mesmerising."


    Whilst Sigmar Polke's oeuvre is characterised by an extreme diversity of subjects and techniques, his interest in the material qualities of paint has always been a key aspect of his work. Often exploiting chance as a composition strategy, he was fascinated by the random application of paint as well as the potential of changing appearance. In some of his works, the complex chemical reactions would change colour over time, whilst the dispersion of the present painting changes colour based on the perspective of the viewer.

  • Andy Warhol, Crab, 1982. Estimate: £50,000–70,000.
    "Warhol's screen print techniques lent themselves to everything, from consumer products to portraits. This multiple crab image struck me as I noticed the crab motif appearing on several catwalks this season. Wisdom and the protective shell…"


    Instantly recognisable by its powerful appearance, Crab is a characteristic example of the Warhol’s later output and his layering of silkscreens on top of each other. Set against a dark black background, the vibrant colours immediately demand attention. Whilst Warhol's early practice focussed on a small number of iconic subjects, during his last decade he would apply his signature silk-screen technique to a wide range of people – and indeed animals, as exemplified by the present work.

  • Evelyne Axell, Store Vénitien, 1966.
    Estimate: £60,000–80,000.
    "Evelyne Axell is an artist that I wasn't familiar with but excited to discover. I love the pop art vibe of this image and its treatment of the female form, all of which remind me of great fashion illustration and 70's poster art. I am going to seek out more of her work, as I love her distinct erotic imagination as a powerful voice in Pop art."

  • Lynn Chadwick, Little Girl, 1970.
    Estimate: £20,000–30,000.
    "Chadwick’s sculpture appeared in Mark Leckey's excellent slideshow tour of public sculpture in London, March of the Big White Barbarians, marking its place in history for me. His critique of authoritative power, culminating in the resigned cry: "Ahh, everything's been eaten, everything's been drunk." makes it even more powerful and jagged."

  • Marcel Dzama, How was School, 2000.
    Estimate: £3,000–4,000.
    "Canadian artist Marcel Dzama, known for producing small watercolour and pen and ink drawings, is someone I came across when the Tank art team used some of his artworks to illustrate a feature. His images are usually oddly erotic and macabre. What strikes me about his images is their illustration of a dystopian society. I discovered that together with Raymond Pettibon, Dzama collaborated on a zine named Illegitimate President full of drawings, collages, comic strips and protest posters to "address recent political events." Proceeds from sales of the zine are donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Full respect."


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