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Lot 42: Gary Hume (B. 1962)
February 8, 2001
London, United Kingdom
Description: Love Loves Unlovable gloss paint on panel 85 x 144in. (216 x 366cm.) Painted in 1994. PROVENANCE Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. EXHIBITION New York, Matthew Marks Gallery, 'Gary Hume', 1994. Bern, Kunsthalle, 'Gary Hume', May-June 1995. Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 'Wild Walls', Sept.-Oct. 1995. Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, 'Gary Hume', Sept.-Nov. 1996. NOTES As one of his first figurative paintings after his earlier series of abstract door paintings, 'Love Loves Unlovable' marks a shifting point in Hume's career. This work belongs to a series of works that Hume began in 1991, during a trip to Rome where he was inspired by the marbles athletes surrounding Mussolini's Olympic Stadium. Featuring two black silhouettes facing each other from two opposite sides of a vertically divided background of floral wrapping paper, the painting strikes us with its monumental presence. Behind its apparent simplicity, 'Love Loves Unlovable' features Hume's characteristic ambiguity between triviality and emotion. Seductive as a result of the na‹ve aspect of its flower pattern, sweet candy-like colours and the glossy texture of the household paint, this work invariably recalls childhood memories. Although conveying a feeling of depth and mystery through the use of black, Hume's glossy and bright reflecting surface draws the viewer's gaze back to the surface, refusing any deeper access to the painting. "The surface is all you get of me," Hume once argued. (A. Searle: in 'Shut that Door', in: 'Freeze', Summer 1993, p.48.) "One half of the painting mirrors the other, as though this Narcissus [is] locked in contemplation of his own beauty. [...] Loving yourself - said Hume - is to love the most undesirable person around, because you know your fears and doubts more than anyone else's. I saw it as a passivist painting loving the unlovable other." (In: S. Kent, 'Fiona Rae/Gary Hume', London 1997, p.12.).