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

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    In a digital age where the internet is infinite and rarity is obsolete, American artist Cory Arcangel arguably returns to the origins of painting in his Photoshop CS series. Imbedded in colour theory and rooted in art history, Arcangel plays upon our daily experience of technology.

    Though created digitally and produced as a chromogenic print, the works of the series are unique, as if painting with oil and canvas. By negating a multiplicity in the physical work, the strength of this work becomes highly conceptual. Despite the objects uniqueness offline, Arcangel prescribes the steps necessary to recreate the work in just four movements of the mouse in Adobe Creative Suite’s Photoshop. In this sense, the work is a digital readymade in the most Duchampian sense of the word. Arcangel himself recalls these influences by saying, ‘I have a great interest in the history of the avant-garde and what all these other artists have done to play around with what art is and the meaning of art. It’s a game, I think.’ (Cory Arcangel in Whitney Stories: Cory Arcangel, 2014, produced by WhitneyFocus, YouTube, Accessed: 30 November 2015).

    The motif of the spectrum itself is also significant in this work as it is a nod to how we see. The spectrum setting in Photoshop provides the gradient of RGB colour that is seen in the present lot. From the crisp line separating the golden yellow to forest green, the gradient fans out from a central axis, where an impossible number of colours meet. Like a digital palette, the invention of the digital RGB colour model was based upon trichomacy: the human perception of colour through our retina’s three main colour receptors red, green and blue. Scientists believe that the human eye can identify millions of colours - an almost absurd number to process. Within the digital sphere, where nothing seems finite, Arcangel taps into notions of the unique and ultimately returns to the basics of painting in the most contemporary way.


Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient "Spectrum", mousedown y=23900 x=11650, mouse up y=32650 x=11650

c-print face mounted to Diasec, in artists frame
287 x 190.5 cm (112 7/8 x 75 in.)

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £140,500

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