Christopher Wool - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, February 14, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Literature

    Hans Werner Holzwarth, ed., Christopher Wool, Cologne, 2012, p.25 (partly illustrated)
    Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Christopher Wool, 1998, pp. 129,
    131, 192, 226 (partly illustrated), p. 263

  • Catalogue Essay

    While being well-known for his so-called ‘word’ paintings – in which the artist explores different word compositions and meanings by breaking up words and playing with letters – Christopher Wool has also worked extensively with photography.

    Wool has usually presented his photographs in the form of an artist’s book. When his studio was damaged by fire in 1996, the artist decided to publish a portfolio of the black-and-white photographs he had taken for the insurance company. Incident on 9th Street (1997) documents the fire damage in thirteen silver-gelatin prints that, in their matter-of-fact documentary nature, resemble crime scene investigation photographs. The sensational aspect to them both attracts and repels the viewer, and, like the works of Thomas Demand or Jeff Wall, asks the viewer to consider whether these photo shoots were purposely staged or not.

    Writing on Wool’s ‘street’ photos, namely Absent Without Leave (1993) and East Broadway Breakdown (2003) – ex-punk icon Richard Hell, who has been collaborating with Wool since 1997, notes striking parallels between the artist’s paintings and photos: "Like the paintings, one realizes the photos are black and white, often feature patterns, exclude people, welcome smears and casual framing, and direct our attention to commonplace corners and underpinnings of our environment that tend not be merely disregarded but to be assumed ugly" (Richard Hell, ‘Christopher Wool’s photographs’, Christopher Wool, ed. Hans Werner Holzwarth, Cologne, 2012, p. 226). Wool’s genius lies in his ability to treat the photographic medium as painting. Composition, visual impact, and interest in multiple readings are not disregarded, but are, on the contrary, the power and effectiveness of his photography.


Incident on 9th Street

13 gelatin silver prints
each sheet: 35.5 x 27.8 cm (13 7/8 x 10 7/8 in) or the reverse
Each signed, titled, dated and numbered 'Incident on 9th St. Ed. 2/12 WOOL 1997' on the reverse. This work is number two from an edition of 12 and printed by Patrick
Painter Editions.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Contemporary Art Day Sale

15 February 2013