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Whitechapel Sale

by Sotheby's


61 lots with images

October 13, 2006

34-35 New Bond Street

London, W1A 2AA United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)207 293 5000

Fax: +44 (0)207 293 5989

Email: info@sothebys.com

TOBA KHEDOORI

Lot 1: TOBA KHEDOORI

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Description: B. 1964UNTITLEDmeasurements91.5 by 61cm.alternate measurements36 by 24in.pencil on paperExecuted in 2006.PROVENANCEDonated by the artist, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los AngelesNOTEA key figure in the current contemporary art scene in Los Angeles, Toba Khedoori's work can be described as drawing, painting and in its sheer monumentality, mural. She depicts elements of our built environment: doors, windows, walls, floors and stairs adrift within the huge expanse of paper on which they are painted. Her 'canvas' consists of large sheets of unframed paper, slightly overlapping and stapled directly to the wall. These may reach up to three meters in height and span as much as eight metres, the fragility of the paper surface at odds with its monumental scale. Khedoori begins each work with preliminary sketches made from photographs or models. Each is coated in wax which as she works, usually on the floor, collects the detritus of her studio. The flotsam and jetsam of the studio, including dust, hair and debris, become embedded in the surface referring to both the 'dirty' working process and the passage of time. The coated sheets of paper are then stapled to the wall where Khedoori outlines the image in delicate black ink before filling in the forms with pale oils. Once a mark is made it remains on the paper, even if altered, creating visual layers in which all traces of the artist's gestures are incorporated into the finished work.Khedoori's work references Abstract Expressionism and colour-field painting in its flatness and lateral spread. Clement Greenberg wrote of a 'crisis of the easel picture' when talking of artists such as Jackson Pollock, whose paintings began to expand to fill the wall. Khedoori's only framing device is that of the museum or gallery walls on which the work is hung. Her work also offers a more contemporary take on minimalism in its formal austerity and repetition of serial forms.In her earlier work, Khedoori painted repetitive units such as cinema seating, rows of windows and doors, chainlink fencing. More recently she has been focusing on individual elements like a door, window or in Untitled, 2006, a plank of wood leaning against a wall. This sculptural gesture which echoes the leaning pieces of Andre Cadere, Richard Serra and Jim Lambie, is rendered in two dimensions as trompe l'oeil. It is delicately and meticulously drawn and coloured in soft pencil. Like much of her work there is a metaphysical quality to this image. Like her other works, Untitled offers very little comfort or sense of purpose. Instead Khedoori's familiar fragments of our environment, articulate the 'basic modern dilemma' of being adrift and disconnected in the world. As Lane Relyea has evocatively written, 'What she ends up representing is the heroic effort to reconstruct some rudimentary visual order under modern conditions, as well as the ruins into which such order is always falling'. (Lane Relyea, Toba Khedoori, history painter of modern oblivion, in Toba Khedoori -- Gezeichnete Bilder (Exhibition Catalogue), Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, Basel 2001, p. 55) Khedoori has shown at MoCA Los Angeles (1997) and the St Louis Art Museum (2003). Her work is in the collections of MoCA, Los Angeles, MOMA, New York, the LA County Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. CS

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PAUL NOBLE

Lot 2: PAUL NOBLE

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Description: B. 196311 HENRY MOORE SCULPTURES FROM THE EARLY TO MID-FIFTIES ON TOP OF EACH OTHERmeasurements35.1 by 22.7cm.alternate measurements13 7/8 by 8 7/8 in.pencil on paperExecuted in 2006.PROVENANCEDonated by the artist, courtesy of Maureen PaleyNOTE"In 1945 the US dropped atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The power and impact of this new force was recognised by Jacques Heim, the inventor of the world's newest and smallest swimsuit for women, 'l'atome'. Two months later, Louis Reard split 'l'atome' in two and called it the 'bikini'. After so many deaths women were bound to be mothers. 11 Henry Moore sculptures from the early to mid-fifties on top of each other is Moore as a Bellmeresque surimpressionist. " (Artist's statement, made on the donation of his work to the Whitechapel Auction, 2006)Since the early 1990s, drawing has been Paul Noble's primary medium, in particular the construction on paper of Nobson Newtown. This fantasy city, meticulously drawn and epic in scale and intent, features its own Nobspital, Shopping Mall, Ye Olde Ruin and Nobsend (the city cemetery). Each element is rendered with extraordinary draughtmanship and described in complex architectural and textual detail. Noble has even devised his own font, Nobsfont, a three-dimensional font based on modernist architectural forms, which he uses almost like building blocks in his compositions to spell out each drawing's name; Paul's Palace, for example. The resulting drawings, monumental in scale and level of detail, constitute a major ongoing exploration into both Utopian urban planning and the ravages of contemporary urban decline, a sense of strong social conviction informing much of Noble's work.In 1988, Paul Noble helped to set up City Racing -- an alternative gallery space run on a hand-to-mouth basis by artists in a rundown part of London -- which showed Sarah Lucas, Michael Landy and Gillian Wearing amongst many others. During the following years on state benefit he also developed Doley, a complex re-interpretation of the board game Monopoly where instead of buying properties, players try to join the dole queue.Noble's drawings have been influenced by medieval illuminations and ancient Chinese scrolls, the map-making of artists like Oyvind Fahlstrom and Robert Smithson as well as the popular computer game Sim City, in which players construct their own city building by building with a variety of different architectural styles and functions. His drawings are composites made up of numerous smaller sheets of paper, which Noble works on individually before gradually building up the whole. Some drawings reach over four metres in height, the details of the upper sections lost to the viewer. 11 Henry Moore Sculptures... depicts bound forms that reference both Henry Moore's monumental figures, playfully piled up on top of each other; and Hans Bellmer's contorted and trussed body parts. The hard edged forms of modernist sculpture are softened and literally squashed by adopting Bellmers' more disturbingly amorphous and fluid treatment of form, while the work's accompanying text, written by the artist, draws attention to the connections he has made between both artists, their treatment of the human form and the wider historical events that shaped their practice.This drawing could easily fit into a pocket of one of the larger drawings as a detail -- there are buried references carefully littered throughout his work to art history, literature, philosophy and political theory. Although the title refers to Henry Moore's reclining figures, as in all of Nobson Newtown, the human figure is characteristically absent, represented by what it has left behind: from abandoned buildings to plastic bags of rubbish or even faeces. It is the remnants of human presence which seem to interest Noble most. Paul Noble's Whitechapel show went on to the Migros Museum in Zurich and the Museum Boyjmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. His work has been collected by the British Council, MoMA, New York, and the Tate. CS

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JIM LAMBIE

Lot 3: JIM LAMBIE

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Description: B. 1964PSYCHEDELICSOULSTICKapproximately 90 by 5 by 5cm.; 35 3/8 by 2 by 2in.bamboo cane, wire, coloured thread, and mixed mediaExecuted in 2006, this work is unique.PROVENANCEDonated by the artist, courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster LtdNOTEPlastic bags, buttons, discarded gloves, belts, magazine cut-outs, threads of wool -- Jim Lambie draws his materials from the attic, the market stall or the jumble sale; from the clutter and visual noise of our daily lives. He arranges these in simple configurations -- a line, a circle -- or manipulates them through simple gestures such as cutting, tying or sticking. This economy of means is in inverse proportion to the sheer punk splendour of his work, which combines colour and line to inject a psychedelic rush of energy into the prosaic and the everyday.Lambie's works often start from, or at least contain, a hard edge that is then broken down and opened out. The outer perimeter of a vinyl record might be pulled inwards by the coloured threads with which it has been covered, rainbow rays that simultaneously draw the eye into the centre and vibrate with the energy of an explosion caught mid air. Others are slower in rhythm: seven punctured plastic bags of different colours hang low on hooks, eking coloured paint that streaks the walls before congealing into formless pools of colour on the gallery's floor. With each of Lambie's works, a physical object sets the parameters for his intervention, and is then abstracted to a point where it hovers between sculpture and image. Perhaps his best-known work is Lambie's Zobop, an ongoing series of patterned floors. These are made with strips of differently coloured adhesive vinyl, applied to follow the contours of the walls in ever-decreasing concentric configurations that eventually cover the entire floor. To a certain extent, Zobop explains the architecture of the space by mapping out its shape, while incorporating itself by fusing with, rather than resting on, the floor. Yet the overall effect is to prize open the solidity of bricks and mortar, which the artist renders almost illegible through a syncopated, vortex-like configuration of colour and line. This disruptive force redefines rather than illustrates the space, transforming it into a psychologically charged environment that speaks of an altogether different use.While Lambie's work spans a number of artistic references -- drip painting, Fluxus, Minimalism, Op Art to name but a few -- his language is more closely aligned with the mental dreamscapes of Surrealism, marked out with the attendant props of a pop cultural iconography that shapes our waking world. Music appears especially important; indeed Zobop is reminiscent of the multi-coloured dance floors of the 1970s and 80s. Other works may consist of record decks covered in coloured glitter, record covers cut and opened into Rorschach images, or speakers covered in mirrors and sparkling, tight fitting tank-tops. Objects such as these have been manipulated in a way that deprives them of their functionality, conjuring up and rendering manifest the experiences and emotions that music can generate in its ability to transform the mundane. Psychedelicsoulstick, created by the artist especially for this auction, is part of an ongoing series, which began in 1998. It consists of a bamboo stick that has been tied up with different coloured thread, while mundane, discarded articles such as empy cigarette packets, an old watch or some guitar lead are woven into it like objects in a time capsule. The crafted quality of the work is emphasised in the materials and the process -- fingers that might have plucked on guitars strings or sown garments for the body have created here an object that vibrates like a shimmering rainbow, carrying within its genetic make-up the promise of music to come. A second line snakes it way around the main stick, this one entirely made of tightly wound material. The two elements come together in several places with bulbous forms that resemble a cocoon or chrysalis, here too suggesting the possibility of a transformation that stems from deep within the work. Psychedelicsoulstick recalls André Cadere's Barres de Bois Ronde of the 1970s, which the artist would carry round the city, give to friends or casually prop up against walls, as though not quite belonging, in gallery exhibitions. Cadere hoped that each Barre would offer a starting point for conversation, and would chose the colours of each work according to a system which, however, would also carry within it one mistake. Lambie's soul stick, by contrast, is all mistake; a criss-crossing vortex of interconnecting line and colour that follows no predetermined order but revels instead in chance and coincidence. Like a shamanistic, ritual object, it possesses an extraordinary energy that radiates out and fills a room, amplifying the abstract, in-between and irrational spaces that are Lambie's terrain. Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2005, Jim Lambie has exhibited around the world with recent shows at the 54th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh (2005), the Lyons Biennale (2005) and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, in 2006. He was one of a group of artists representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2003. AT

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CLAIRE BARCLAY

Lot 4: CLAIRE BARCLAY

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Description: B. 1968HARD MEASUREapproximately 100 by 100 by 150cm.; 39 3/8 by 39 3/8 by 59in.oak, machined brass, and suedeExecuted in 2006.PROVENANCEDonated by the artistNOTEClaire Barclay's works hover between the contained presence of sculpture and the physically dispersed nature of installation. They revolve around a play of subtle nuances that create intimate and meditative spaces, often taking their cue from the architecture and nature of the space in which she exhibits. An astonishing number of readings multiply as we encounter each object and situation, gradually refining and redefining our perception of the overall work. These unfold slowly and through time, evoking both past and present, sex, play, work and domesticity, natural life and urban pursuits, a comforting, protective environment and a lingering sense of threat. Barclay's suggestive and allusive practice stems from her feel for form and materiality. Her works are driven by an outward movement that emanates from the physical properties of her materials, which the artist tests against the suggestive forms in which they have been shaped. These forms are then placed in direct physical relation by resting, balancing and springing off each other, ultimately connecting with the architecture itself through elements that stretch from floor to ceiling or diagonally across the walls. Barclay lives and works in Glasgow and came to prominence in Britain through exhibitions at the Showroom and the Whitechapel. She was one of the artists representing Scotland at the 2003 Venice Biennale.Hard Measure at first appears to be a table or workbench, on top of which some swatches of suede and a number of brass objects have been arranged. The whole has the feel of a museum display, archaeological dig or even the artist's studio: as though the table presents a structural framework for other, more precious materials, laid out as a collection of objects to be scrutinised and observed. On closer inspection we notice that the table is missing a leg, and that its top is made of a series of planks that have fallen somewhat in disarray. The appearance of stability is in fact a mirage that shrouds a precarious balance, one in which it is the smallest elements that act as ballast, holding the larger ones in place. This physical tension is mirrored by Barclay's play between materials: the softness of suede, which wraps and folds itself around the edges of the denser structure of wood; the hard, machined quality of brass, whose weight gently presses into the suede and leaves a trace, like a negative image or blueprint. Colour also plays a role in this carefully conceived balancing act, with the deep brown of suede offsetting blond oak and the golden shine of brass. In Barclay's hands material, form and colour dissolve any sense of sculptural solidity, as though favouring instead the weightless presence of an image.In its material and formal play Hard Measure is entirely abstract. Yet it also suggests a landscape of sorts, the brass objects resembling a succession of architectural models. Their forms are filled with the weight and solidity of brass, windowless and mute like an image from De Chirico. They also convey something essential in the geometry of their shapes -- primary structures that might both refer to buildings from the past, such as pyramids and observatories, or to the cool, clean edges of modernist architecture. The luxurious lustre of brass speaks of a wealth expressed in grand civic schemes and projects born of private patronage -- or of the more domestic detail of knick-knacks and fittings. Like much of Barclay's work, the combination of functionality and decoration, of handmade and machined, also references the integration of art and design that typified movements such as Arts & Crafts; a movement that found in Charles Harrison Townsend's designs for the Whitechapel Gallery one if its most celebrated expressions. AT

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GARY WEBB

Lot 5: GARY WEBB

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Description: B. 1973LITTLE SPLITapproximately 200 by 200 by 15cm.; 78 3/4 by 78 3/4 by 5 7/8 in.American white ash wood, metal brackets, mirrors and tinted mirrorsExecuted in 2006.PROVENANCEDonated by the artist, courtesy of The Approach, LondonNOTEGary Webb's work is marked by an intuitive approach to materials, arranged with a visual flourish that is almost baroque. His is a distinctly urban, fast-paced aesthetic born out of synthetic materials such as acrylic, resin, neon and rubber. At times glass, wood, sand and marble appear, organic materials that are nonetheless given a synthetic twist when rendered in biomorphic, sci-fi forms. Webb has spoken about his work in relation to contemporary 'indoor culture', an aesthetic of shopping malls and drive-ins awash with bright colours and shiny plastics. Experiencing his work is like entering a Las Vegas casino or amusement arcade, spaces that are dedicated to the pursuit of an intense and intoxicating p/leisure experience. Occasionally his work even comes with its own soundtrack -- notes that fill the air like foot soldiers on reconnaissance, sent ahead to hook us with the disembodied promise of material joys to come.Webb assembles his materials according to a logic of contradiction and proliferation: perspex placed on glass placed on rubber; neon on plastic on granite on steel; a wall of tilted mirrors that bounce back the whole as a thousand, distorted reflections. His forms and shapes likewise combine solid and open, transparent and opaque, soft and rigid, speaking in fluent tongues of contradictory sculptural possibilities. Somewhere between the functional and imagined, Webb's sculptures create a sense of exhilarating freedom in the possibilities generated by such juxtapositions; they maintain a form of poetic lightness afforded by suggestions and allusions, rather than the burden of a need for weighty explanations.In recent years Webb has created a number of modular works that seem to play with minimalism's more restrained language. The first, begun in 2002, is an ongoing series of triangular rubber mats, produced in a growing variety of colours. Hovering somewhere between the car mat and the bath mat -- the two lowliest forms of carpet -- Webb displays these either independently, laying them on floors like ziggurats of differing shape, size and permutations; or uses them like a plinth for other works. The artist titled these mats Matte Module, a German sounding neologism that gives a characteristic twist to their structured order, while a corner of each mat bears the artist's name and surname embossed in the flamboyant style of Elvis Presley's signature. His dazzling assemblages were recently shown at the Chisenhale Gallery in 2004, the 2003 Lyon Biennale and in The Moderns at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin in 2003.The present work is the second example in a more recent series of wall-mounted works that, like the floor mats, operate both independently and by interacting with their vicinity. The work consists of a series of rectangular mirrors mounted on wood, arranged in rows and columns that are contained within a larger rectangular shape. The linear geometry of this configuration is broken up by the random insertion of tinted mirrors, while others are tilted up or down, lending the whole a drunken, syncopated feel. The room that contains the work is in turn absorbed by the work itself, reflected back in a broken perspective of odd angles and crooked corners, while the viewer's eye moves back and forth between the coloured surface and the reflected space contained within. Like a sequined curtain it shimmers and shines, creating a heady visual noise that blends Soviet montage, Cubist fragmentation and minimalist seriality with the dancing light and colours of Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43. As with his use of music or his floor mats, this work demonstrates Webb's ability to create self-contained works that nonetheless take on the expansive quality of an environment, giving form to an attitude that we experience through the engagement of all our senses. AT

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