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  • Provenance

    Kurimanzutto Gallery, Mexico City
    Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since 1998, Mexican artist Carlos Amorales has been amassing an enormous digital database of vector graphics (two-dimensional, computer-based images). Calling this database his “liquid archive”, he has since developed or acquired over 300 images. In his on-going artistic projects, which incorporate the realms of painting, drawing, installation art, sculpture, video, and other media, Amorales frees selected graphics from their digital prisons and allows them to assume shape on canvas, in paper, or in other forms. Amorales has favored several specific graphics, creating running themes that have formed his signature style. The present lot attests to Amorales’ love of painting and the graphic of the airplane that has become a common trope in his work; however, in introducing his images into another medium, Amorales often gives a sinister bent to his pictures, enlivening them with fear and darkness.

    The Nightlife of a Shadow II, 2005, bows to Amorales’ manipulative power, presenting us with a jetliner truly out of its element, caught in a tree of black liquid. Amorales’ technique in painting—first projecting the vector graphic then tracing it before adding various other media—renders his familiar airplane in the middle of a disastrous decent, one that evokes our deepest personal horrors. In 2007’s Black Cloud, at the Yvon Lambert gallery, Amorales displayed a similar provocation for imbuing pleasant images with a wicked edge, but in a different medium: hundreds of paper butterflies clung to the ceiling and high walls of the gallery, whimsical in their gathering. Yet, paired with an ominous soundtrack, Amorales made his installation less dazzling and more malevolent: suddenly, the delightful presence of hundreds of silent butterflies turned into a swarm of destructive moths, symbols of decay and deterioration.

    Similar to the omnipresent skull in Mexican imagery, Amorales heightens our awareness of dark aesthetic. And, much as our interpretation of an inkblot reveals our subconscious fears and desires, so Carlos Amorales exposes the mischievous reverse to every pleasant piece of imagery. In the present lot, Amorales renders our fears in a virtuosic fusion of complex paint and simple design. His ability to distill a simple yet terrifying image plays into the viewer’s desire to make sense of what they see through forming a narrative for each specific piece of art: “Amorales effectively [explores] the world of fantasy and imagination that animation symbolizes and develops, enveloping the viewer in a physical space where the animated drawings [are] captivating both because of the medium in itself and because of its ability to tell allegorical stories that convey personal and collective fears.” (J.A.A. Reyes, “Monograph”, ArtNexus, Issue #66, Sept-Nov, 2007)

MEXICAN

33

The Nightlife of a Shadow II

2005
Oil on canvas.
70.87 x 70.87 in. (180 x 180 cm).
Signed "C. Amorales" on a label affixed to the reverse.

Estimate
$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $31,250

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York