Double Speak

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Columbus, Wexner Center for the Arts, Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports, organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), 29 January – 11 April 2010, then travelled to Calgary, Art Gallery of Calgary (30 April - 4 September 2010), Middlebury, Middlebury College Museum of Art (3 February - 17 April 2011)
    Athens, @REMAP 4, NEON PATHS | ECHOES OF SILENCE, 8 September - 30 September 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    Los Angeles-born artist Mark Bradford sources his materials from his surroundings. For the past decade he has amassed remnants of magazines, newspapers and billboards to constitute the resources for his evocative, large-scale collages and installations. The sculptural spheres, designed to replicate soccer balls, are symbols used to exemplify social and cultural issues. They are held together with the signature cord netting, predictable in presentation but innovative in substance and creation. The artist states that his works engage in a complex process that makes use of both creation and destruction: the elements of his oeuvre have been separated and estranged yet reassembled to form a unique, unexpected and cohesive whole.

    The sculptural series was first presented at the California Biennial in 2004 and can now be seen to exemplify the artist’s installation works. The intricately made pieces both record the artist’s personal response to his origins, carried out and soured from his town of birth, and catalogue cultural change and media influence on contemporary society as a whole. Double Speak, in its various mediums and quintessential subject matter, alludes to both urban and virtual landscapes. Despite its straightforward superficiality, on closer inspection, Double Speak explores the structures of urban culture and resonates with complex social undercurrents.

    The present lot reflects the struggles of contemporary society due to the ever-changing cultural diversity of his south central L.A. neighbourhood. The accumulation of the various, diverse materials represents the mix of individuals in modern civilisation and their varying interests. The artist states that the importance of soccer balls within this message is a result of his observation regarding the change from basket-ball players to soccer-players and aficionados in his neighbourhood. The work represents continuity and progress, reflecting how society makes use of fragments and elements of the past to form its present and delineate its future.

  • Artist Bio

    Mark Bradford

    American • 1961

    Now acclaimed worldwide, Mark Bradford was first recognized on the contemporary art scene in 2001, following the inclusion of his multi-layered collage paintings in Thelma Golden’s Freestyle exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundbreaking exhibition introduced him alongside 27 other emerging African American artists as part of a generation of "post-Black" artists who sought to transcend the label of "Black artist”, while still deeply exploring and re-defining the complex notions of blackness. Bradford’s ascent has been as awe-inspiring as it is deserving: from critical attention in Freestyle, to his first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2007, to his installation at the 2017 Venice Biennial as the first African American artist to represent the United States.

    Critical of the ways in which the annals of art history divorced abstract art from its political context, particularly when looking at the Abstract Expressionists working in the 1950s, Bradford has endeavored to “make abstract painting and imbue it with policy, and political, and gender, and race, and sexuality”. Bradford’s pursuit of what he has termed “social abstraction”, that is, “abstract art with a social or political context clinging to the edges”, is deeply indebted to his choice of materials that allow him to imbue his works with a proliferation of readings, from art historical, to political, to autobiographical.

    Bradford’s choice of material has always been deeply connected to his biography and everyday existence. While Bradford’s early work utilized end-papers, the use of which was inspired by time at his mother’s hair salon, in the mid-2000s the artist shifted towards using paper material sourced on the streets of his immediate neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Despite the fact that Bradford is known for making paintings out of found printed material, his works only reveals glimpses of their original documentary intent. Working in the lineage of the Dadaists and the Nouveau Réalisme movement, Bradford honed a refined technique of a décollage, a process defined by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image.

    View More Works

138

Double Speak

2008
Papier-mâché, foil, football netting
Installed dimensions 136 x 65 x 76 cm (53 1/2 x 25 5/8 x 29 7/8 in.)

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 

sold for £146,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Day Sale

+44 207 318 4061

Contemporary Art Day

London Auction 16 October 2014 2pm