Phillips is delighted to present pieces from an esteemed Belgian collection, spanning significant decades of European and American contemporary art and photography. This carefully curated selection is centered around pivotal works that helped define the very notions of conceptual and minimalist art as well as the tightly-knit 'Pictures Generation' operating in New York City during the 1970s, offering an intercontinental perspective on the most influential movements of the post-war art world.
Among the featured artists on offer are Rudolf Stingel, Cindy Sherman, Christopher Wool, Robert Longo and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Browse select works below and view them in person at 30 Berkeley Square now through our Evening Sale and Day Sale auctions on 8 and 10 March respectively.
Rudolf Stingel Untitled, 1997 (left) and Untitled, 1989 (right) as seen in our Paris galleries
Provoking consideration of the tensions and contradictions associated with the aestheticisation of surface, the group includes Rudolf Stingel's Untitled, 1989, Untitled, 1997 and Christopher Wool's Untitled, 1989. Both artists question the construction of a painting and how mechanisms of creation can impact upon ones visual experience.
Providing further insight into this discourse, Steven Parrino's Squeaky Fromme, 1987 explores varied mechanical processes of creation, echoing his notion that "radicalism comes from content and not necessarily form."
Steven Parrino Squeaky Fromme, 1987
Visually diverse, the wide range of media present in the collection is exemplified by the influential Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographic exploration of industrial landscapes in Water Towers, 1965-1997. Juxtaposed with Francis Alÿs' exploration of his environment in Cityscapes - (con sabana), 1993, the artists enter the thematic thread of their surroundings.
Bernd and Hilla Becher Water Towers, 1965-1997 (left) juxtaposed in our Paris galleries with Francis Alÿs Cityscapes - (con sabana), 1993 (right)
Through the engagement of sign painters in the creation of his Cityscapes, Alÿs employs commercial iconography, similar to Barbara Kruger with her Untitled (Our Time is Your Money), 1985, both artists addressing cultural constructs of power. Confronting crucial themes from the past decade, the collection considers mechanisms of perception and creation, the role of the artist within his surroundings and the significance of commercial iconography in the post-war art world.
Barbara Kruger Untitled (Our Time is Your Money), 1985
Another strand of this Belgian collection provides unique and in-depth insight into the work of the tightly-knit 'Pictures Generation', artists operating in New York City during the 1970s, with highlights including prints from Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills and Robert Longo's iconic Men in Cities series.
Cindy Sherman Untitled (Film Still #83), 1980
Robert Longo Untitled (Jules), 1981
A thought-provoking dialogue is also established with the ground-breaking appropriation art of the 1980s, allowing an unparalleled look into the relationships between artists like Sherrie Levine, Louise Lawler and Laurie Simmons, their subjects and the younger generations they continue to influence.
Sherrie Levine began challenging concepts of appropriation in the early 1980s when she explicitly re-photographed works by famous photographers such as Edward Weston and Walker Evans. Her work addresses the limitations within modernist cannons and interrogates the notions of authenticity and representation. In this below lot, Parchment Knot: 3 from 2003, Levine channels a Duchampian re-contextualization of the found object and elevates a ready-made — in this case, shipping materials — into a meticulously crafted art object.