Barbara Kruger - New Now London Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
    Phillips, London, Contemporary Art Day, 17 October 2013, lot 133
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Barbara Kruger is seminal in her ability to question seemingly banal illustrations appropriated from mass media by coupling them with inventive texts and punchy slogans. Kruger addresses subjects that arose in the wake of the culture wars, such as constructions of power, identity and sexuality in an innovative manner.

    Untitled (Let Go), 2003 is representative of Kruger's masterful use of language - a bird is held in an open hand and is cleverly paired with the slogan "let go", encouraging small acts of liberation. The eye catching image has pop and cultural references that support liberation and question authority. Similar to the hand being outstretched and allowing the bird to fly free form its 'nest', this work appears to suggest that one should be conscious of not being constrained by one's "mother state" in order to live a freer life.

    Although the bird is now able to fly, the image is frozen and catches the bird right before its flight to freedom. Perhaps, Kruger's intentions lie in allowing her viewers to imagine freedom while being aware that it can come gradually- the first step is to recognise, as small acts like these may contribute to its realisation.

  • Artist Biography

    Barbara Kruger

    Cool yet critical, Barbara Kruger’s advertising-influenced conceptual works address and challenge cultural constructions of power, identity, consumerism, and sexuality through their aggressively direct interrogations of the iniquities of modern life. Often employing the use of direct address and inclusive personal pronouns such as “I,” “you,” and “they,” Kruger’s aphorisms are unspecific and all-encompassing; the accusatory ambiguity of Kruger’s artworks unflinchingly implicates the viewer, society, and the artist herself for the omnipresent societal sins of our time.

    Kruger’s work is deeply ironic and thoroughly anti-hierarchical, criticisms delivered through a panoply of media for indiscriminate and immediate reception. Her moralizing messages, memento mori for the digital age, have been featured on museum walls as well as on t-shirts, billboards, and the façade of an infamous Frankfurt department store; they have become so ubiquitous that they seem to emanate from inside of our own consciences. Kruger has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Untitled (Let Go)

silkscreen on canvas, in artist's frame
154.8 x 230.9 cm (60 7/8 x 90 7/8 in.)
This work is number 3 from an edition of 5.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £200,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Sale
+44 207 318 4065

New Now

London Auction 13 April 2016