Dada

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, Sherrie Levine, 3 April – 3 May 2008 (another example exhibited)
    London, Simon Lee, Sherrie Levine, 29 May – 31 July 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Krefeld, Museum Haus Lange, Sherrie Levine – Pairs And Posses, 10 October 2010– 6 February 2011 (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The pictures I make are really ghosts of ghosts; their relationship to the original images is tertiary, i.e. three or four times removed.” SHERRIE LEVINE

    Sherrie Levine is one of the best-known of a group of New York artists who rose to fame in the 1980s by turning the process of appropriation into an independent art form. Appropriation, the concept of borrowing, copying, adopting and replicating parts and sometimes even an entire work and turning it into a new artwork, has its roots in the beginning of the 20th century and particularly Dada. Marcel Duchamp, a leading figure of this movement and often described as one of the most influential artists of the century, occupies a pivotal role in Levine’s work. This is the case especially in Duchamp’s concept of the readymade, a prefabricated, often mass-produced and utilitarian object, such as his bicycle wheel on a stool, that achieves classification as art by the mere fact that it has been chosen, sometimes re-configured and designated as ‘art’ by the artist. Idea and concept came first and the artist’s hand became almost irrelevant, an ideology that paved the way for Modernism.

    With this background, the appropriation artists of the 80s focused on re-contextualizing a pre-existing object, so challenging concepts of originality and authorship and infusing the new work with a new context and new meaning. By calling herself a still-life artist, Levine alludes to the fact that she takes objects out of their context, discusses their fundamental, physical nature, and thereby allows them to speak through their sheer presence.

    Sherry Levine’s Dada is a child’s rocking horse made out of polished bronze. The bronze cast is based on an actual wooden original that Levine found in New Mexico. Its title ‘Dada’, as well as its Duchampian sense, also means horse in French and emulates a child’s first attempt to speak. This beautiful, refined design is both an evocation of childhood and a sophisticated sculptural double-take on cultural associations and preconceptions, consumerism and the value of objects. By taking this common object out of its context, transfiguring it and placing it in an unfamiliar environment, the object becomes oddly remote yet familiar, effecting a recurrent theme in Levine’s work following Freud’s and the Surrealists’ concept of the uncanny. Levine’s preoccupation with the idea of the amended and recontextualised copy has had an important impact upon our thinking today about the status of the artwork.

Ο5

Dada

2008
cast bronze
99 × 177.8 × 30.5 cm (38 7/8 × 70 × 12 in)
This work is from an edition of 12.

Estimate
£250,000 - 350,000 

sold for £313,250

Contemporary Art Evening

28 June 2012
London