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21

Property of an Important Private Collector

The End

2006
oil on linen
215.9 x 226.1 cm. (85 x 89 in.)
Painted in 2006.

Estimate
HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000 
€441,000-662,000
$513,000-769,000

sold for HK$4,060,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, Los Angeles
    Private Collection, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Boston, Museum of Fine Art Boston, Cecily Brown, 18 October 2006 - 15 January 2007

  • Literature

    Dore Ashton, Cecily Brown, New York, 2008, p. 225 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Captivating in its scale and dynamism, Cecily Brown’s The End immerses the viewer in a uniquely visceral abstract, lexicon that is both laden with the semantic weight of art history whilst being exemplary of the artist’s own revolutionary contributions to the medium of painting. Created in 2006, it comes from a crucial period in Brown’s career when she began to draw influence from the formal genres of Old Master paintings, particularly landscapes, still-life and interior scenes. Here we see the artist intensely refine the colour saturation and sexual connotations of her earlier works to embrace a composition that is subtly imbued with delicate tones and a deliberately covert sensuality. Exquisitely sombre in its cool and minimal use of whites and greys, this work undoubtedly shows Brown at her most elegant and consciously enigmatic. The importance of The End is attested to by its immediate inclusion in Brown’s major solo retrospective at the Museum of Fine Art Boston in late 2006. Upholding widespread critical acclaim through the maintenance of her iconic aesthetic, Brown’s paintings today sit in international institutional collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Tate, London.

    Born in London in 1969 and later studying at the Slade School of Art in the 1980s, Brown rose to worldwide recognition over the course of the 1990s. From the beginning of her career, Brown’s paintings have drawn attention due to their unique exploration of the human experience in its most base and carnal forms. Most crucially Brown’s tactile and textured surfaces construct a metaphorical sphere in which themes of lust, desire, history and the nature of perception are all fractured and re-spliced with hypnotic cerebral effect. As the artist explains: “I am interested in the unfixed nature of things. I want the work to have a trapped energy so that the paint seems to vibrate in place. I want the viewing of it to approximate the experience of being in the world.” (D. Ashton, Cecily Brown, New York, 2008, p. 25)

    Ever aware of her predecessors, Brown has dedicated her praxis to re-interrogating the line between abstraction and figuration, eschewing pure non-referential abstraction to invite a more nuanced interpretive encounter. As she has explained: “the moment that interests me the most in 20th century painting, and which I feel was not taken that far because abstraction happened in such an extreme way, is the moment when Rothko, Gorky, and Newman were doing those biomorphic things that just hovered on the edge of representation. They’re not quite abstract and they are absolutely grounded in the figure” (Robert Enright, ‘Paint Whisperer: An Interview with Cecily Brown’, Border Crossing, Vol. 4, No. 1, Issue No. 93, p. 40). Seamlessly evoking both the active abstract figuration of Willem de Kooning as well as the surreal forms of Joan Miró, the present work shows Brown reaching a new intellectual maturity as she embraces the ambiguity of discrete symbolic elements as a mechanism for intrigue. In the complex tapestry of energetic brushwork, our natural quest to discern figurative meaning leads us not only across the textured surface of the canvas, but deep into and out of the psychological space that her painterly illusion creates. From ethereal washes to thicker detailing, the variations in paint application invite a perpetual questioning of elements: are they solid mass, shadows, evocations of movement or merely non-representative traces of Brown’s creative psyche?

    In this instance Brown faintly recalls lavish banquet still-life paintings of the 17th century that, through sight, were intended to arouse synesthetic convulsions of touch, taste and smell. We see the intimation of a discarded fork to the bottom right hand side, above what can be read as a block of pink meat. Further inspection might suggest that the swathes of billowing white triangulate to make a central tablecloth. We find ourselves caught in the beautiful havoc of a deconstructed, dining room interior – perhaps ‘the end’ of a dinner party where the texture of Brown’s brush entices the senses as much as the delectable pink food items scattered for our scopophilic pleasure.

    Yet just as the array of circular forms suggest plates and drinking vessels, their fleshy tones and handling might also suggest a sexualised reading as body parts and orifices. We see Brown as intensely aware of her audience as she engages in a flirtatious dialogue, enticing us to make visual assumptions despite a newfound economy of form within her work. As the artist later noted: “I like the fact that because my earlier work was so known for having erotic contents, I actually need to give very little now and it's seen as erotic or hinting at erotic.” (‘New York Minute: Cecily Brown,’ Another, 14 September 2012) Artfully playing on the human tendency to anthropomorphize forms, The End encapsulates both the stunning technical aptitude, and rigorous intellect that makes Brown one of the most important painters of her generation.

  • Catalogue Essay

    塞西麗·布朗的《終結》,尺幅宏大,充滿活力,將觀者沉浸於一種獨特而本能的抽象語彙之中,既充盈着藝術史的語義分量,又彰顯了藝術家對繪畫媒介獨有的革新貢獻。作品創作於2006年,正值布朗藝術生涯至關重要的時期,她開始從古典大師作品的形式流派中汲取靈感,尤其參考風景、靜物和室內景觀的畫作。於此,藝術家強化凝練其早期作品中的色彩飽和度和情慾暗示,藉以塑造富有細膩色調和隱密感官享受的構圖。作品極簡的冷調灰白用色精美深沉,無疑呈現布朗作品優雅、神祕莫測的一面。《終結》於完成後隨即被囊括於加2006年底,布朗於波士頓美術館舉辦的大型回顧個展,足以證明此作品的重要性。憑藉其一貫的標誌性美學特質而廣受讚譽,布朗的畫作廣爲國際藝術機構收藏,包括紐約所羅門·古根漢美術館、紐約惠特尼美國藝術博物館;倫敦泰特美術館等。 布朗於1969年出生於倫敦,80年代於斯萊德藝術學院求學,並與90年代逐漸獲得全球知名度。自其藝術生涯初期,布朗的畫作便憑藉其獨特探索人生體驗中最基礎且情慾的形式而引人入勝。重要的關鍵是,布朗頗具紋理質感的作品表面構造了一個隱喻空間,使慾望、歷史及視覺本質等主題通過如同催眠反應於其中破碎重組。正如藝術家所述,「我對事物本質中的不確定性感興趣。我希望作品能有埋藏困境的力量,以至於讓顏料能適當地顫抖起來。我希望欣賞作品的體驗能與生存在世界上的體驗相似。」(D.阿詩頓,《塞西麗·布朗》,紐約,2008年,第25頁)。熟諳前人作品,布朗致力於重新探討抽象與具象之間的界定,避開毫無參引的純抽象,傾向於一種更爲精細且具詮釋性的邂逅。正如她解釋所述,「二十世紀繪畫中最吸引我的時刻,同時也是抽象以一種極端的方式發生後,而我認爲沒有過於極端的時刻,這正是當羅斯科、戈爾基、紐曼描繪一些介於具象邊緣的生物形態的時刻。他們不完全是抽象的,而是以具象為基底的。」(羅伯特·恩賴特,「油彩低語者:與塞西麗·布朗的訪談」,《跨境》雜誌,第四卷,第一版,第93期,第40頁)。本件作品引人聯想起威廉·德·庫寧活躍的抽象形狀以及胡安·米羅的超現實形態,彰顯了布朗所的心智,達到的全新的成熟境界,她運用離散的象徵元素作爲引人矚目的技巧。面對整幅作品活力四射的筆觸,我們自然而然會試圖識別其中具象的含義,這迫使我們不僅穿過畫作充滿質感的表面,更深入其幻象筆觸所營造的心理空間。從飄渺的色塊到厚塗的細節,色彩運用的千變萬化引人滿腹疑團:它們是實色塊、陰影、動作的幻影,亦或只是布朗創作心理的非具象痕跡? 在本件作品中,布朗引人聯繫起17世紀奢華饗宴的靜物畫,通過視覺,引發觸覺,味覺,嗅覺的感知連結。我們可於畫面右下角觀察到一支棄置的叉子,上方粉色的方塊如同一個肉塊。細細端詳之後,翻騰的白色長條形成一個三角形,塑造出中央桌布的造型。我們置身於一個被解構的室內餐廳中,它仿佛剛經過一場美麗的浩劫—也許是晚宴的結束。布朗筆觸的質感引誘着我們的感官,而散落的粉色可口食物也滿足了我們的窺視慾。 一排圓狀形態一方面暗指盤子和飲酒器皿,另一方面其肉色調和處理方式也隱含性意味,如同身體部位或孔穴。布朗深諳觀者特性,與其調戲對話,儘管新作中造型不多,卻誘使我們展開視覺暇想。正如藝術家稍後提及,「因爲我的早期作品以情慾內容而聞名,以至於我現在只需要呈現不多的內容,就會被認爲是充滿情慾或著暗藏春色。我喜歡這樣。」(「紐約時光:塞西麗·布朗」,《別冊》雜誌,2012年9月14日)。巧妙地利用人類慣於以擬人態的思維去理解事物的特點,《終結》體現了布朗絕妙的技術天資及其嚴謹的智慧,正是這些特質讓她成爲其同輩中的佼佼者。

Select Language

English

中文

21

Property of an Important Private Collector

The End

2006
oil on linen
215.9 x 226.1 cm. (85 x 89 in.)
Painted in 2006.

Estimate
HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000 
€441,000-662,000
$513,000-769,000

sold for HK$4,060,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017

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