Tracks #31

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York
    John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in 2007, Track 31 exemplifies the minimal yet richly surfaced monochromatic drawings which have come to define Richard Serra’s iconoclastic oeuvre. Although the artist is best known for his large-scale metal sculptural works, Serra’s drawings constitute an essential component of his practice, expressing the mass and volume of space in literal form through the visual record of the black paintstick. With graphic intensity, Track 31 reflects the artist’s dynamic understanding of spatial perception and affirms its physical relationship with the world.

    Serra has worked with paintstick since the early 1970s, when he began to create his monumental series of Installation Drawings in an investigation of process and site-specificity. Since this period, his drawings have evolved through several different phases before developing into the Solids series, to which Track 31 belongs. Track 31’s dense, grainy surface is the result of a long and extremely physical process of working the surface, in which Serra first spreads a sheet of handmade paper on top of a heated block of paintstick before pressing it into the paper using a steel block and the weight of his own body. As Neil Cox describes, chance is paramount to each drawing: “The process depends on achieving even pressure across the surface, sensing the marking, through the movement of the hand, through embodied memory and visual tracking over the blank white sheet… Once the process is felt to have reached its end—then and only then is the paper lifted from its bed of black matter” (Neil Cox, “The Shape of Feeling, in Richard Serra: Drawings 2015-2017, exh. cat., Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2017, pp. 12-13). Allowing his method of work to define intention, Serra’s drawings mirror the formation of volume that becomes physically realized in his acclaimed sculptures. Bristling with textural palpability, Track 31 mediates the spectator’s perception of its surroundings by redefining and articulating space and time.

169

Property from the Private Collection of William Harris Smith, Chicago

Tracks #31

paintstick on handmade paper
40 x 40 in. (101.6 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 2007.

Estimate
$300,000 - 400,000 

sold for $475,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261
jmccord@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Morning Session

New York Auction 15 May | On View at 432 and 450 Park Avenue