Banks Violette - Contemporary Art Evening London Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels

  • Exhibited

    Brussels, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Banks Violette, 19 April - 17 May, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    In a relatively short period of time, American conceptual artist Banks Violette has developed a consequential, singular and fantastic oeuvre based on a leitmotif of the Romantic canon – the notion that Romanticism is predicated on failure. Deeply influenced by the work of German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the German landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich, Violette’s evocative multimedia installations capture mankind in a state of decay and left to contemplate the shattered remains of its former glory.
    As in Violette’s favourite Friedrich painting, the 1823 masterpiece The Wreck of Hope, in which a shipwreck is engulfed by grinding slabs of Arctic ice, so symbolizing the frail bark of human aspiration crushed by the world’s immense and glacial indifference, Banks Violette powerfully depicts in No Title (Throne) the inevitable demise of a society suffering from illusions of grandeur. One of his most accomplished and important installations to date, No Title (Throne), comprising a fragmented ornate chandelier covered in crystals and lying on a bed of salt, represents a transcendental moment frozen in time, the ghostly stillness of the broken remains of a violent encounter.
    The nihilistic nature of No Title (Throne) recalls the groundbreaking installations of the 1980s New York painter Steven Parrino, a forefather of a generation of artists headed by Violette and his friend Terence Koh, both of whom currently dominate the city’s art scene. Violette, a high school dropout and former crystal-meth user, is, like Parrino, fascinated by the dark beauty of America’s underbelly, exploring the blurred line between fantasy and reality that defines society’s subcultures. Working as an assistant to Robert Gober, Banks Violette developed an artistic style defined by an exploration of the sublime. A hopeless romantic, his visual aesthetic has a certain melancholic feel, a quiet and poetic sorrow reminiscent of his illustrious peers and fellow New Yorkers Jim Hodges and the late Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The passage of time and the inevitability of death may permeate their art but it is a search for the beauty of a transient state found somewhere between life and death which defines it.


No Title (Throne)

Hand-cast sand-moulded aluminium, borax crystals, magnesium sulfate crystals, salt.
70 × 260 × 420 cm (27 1/2 × 102 1/2 × 165 1/2 in).
This work is unique and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Contemporary Art Evening

12 Feb 2010