Adam McEwen - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Monday, February 8, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Art:Concept, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Walgreens, 2013, is a compelling work by Adam McEwen, a British neo-conceptual artist who lives and works in New York. Previously obituary writer for The Daily Telegraph, McEwen’s works have been displayed in some of the most authoritative art institutions worldwide: the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Whitney Museum among others.

    Throughout his oeuvre, McEwen looks to the neglected motifs of everyday life - whether its chewing gum or grate underfoot, saying: 'You walk around looking out of the corner of your eye, ­trying to find your empathy with the trash and the shit on the street. When you see your empathy alight on the detritus, that’s the moment.' (A. McEwen interviewed by N. Wakefield, 'Garage Talk: Adam McEwen', Garage, Issue No. 6, accessed online.)

    The present lot is a striking piece from McEwen’s Graphite series, which explores the materiality of everyday banal objects. McEwen is well known for re-appropriating familiar items relating to the consumerist culture (old Nokia phones, ATM machines, credit cards) and recontextualising them in unconventional settings, so as to give them a whole new meaning. The use of machined graphite conveys weightiness and density which inter-plays with the neutrality of the graphite grey colour lending the piece the elegiac solemnity of a memorial sculpture.

    McEwen is interested in reinventing the aesthetic and functionality of an object and encourages the viewer to reconsider the materials used and their properties. By giving a totally different purpose to the object, McEwen challenges the viewers to pause and reconsider the grey, industrial portal in a new form. ' I don’t see it as the object withholding so much as the object is unable to provide – the object cannot give you anything, the art ­object cannot give you what is ­demanded of it.' (Ibid).



graphite on aluminium panel
228.6 x 177.8 cm (90 x 70 in.)
Signed and dated 'A. McEwen 2013' on the reverse.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London

+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm