Dan Colen - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Gagosian Gallery, Dan Colen, Poetry, 10 September - 16 October 2010

  • Literature

    Pigs and Pigs and Pigs, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2012, p. 38 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Chewing gum looked so much better than paint." Dan Colen

    A Slip of the Tongue, by American artist Dan Colen, draws inspiration from both the imaginary and real spaces of teenage subcuture. It is aquintessentlal example of his
    'gum paintings', a series ofworks that the artist "fell in love with immediately"(Dan Colen, in an interview with Amy Kellner, 'Suck in This', Vice, 2008) Using chewing gum like paint, Colen mixes flavours – drawn from a long list of varieties organized by brand and taste in his studio – to achieve new colours. The result is a dynamic painting which evokes gum-encrusted sites, from the underside of desks to California’s grotto-like tourist landmark Bubblegum Alley. It also recalls abstraction and neo-expressionism, negating formalism in a profoundly contemporary way.

    The present lot is one of Colen's maturepieces, which the artist says are created by "a more elaborate and involved process". Colen recalls their evolution:"Istarted adding alot more gum to each canvas; I would put pieces down, pick them up again, move'em around, stretcht hem out, mush'em together" (Dan Colen, 'Suck on This', Vice, 2008). The broad strokes and larger scale indicate another evolution in Colen's process, when he began boiling the gum to achieve greater fluidity and freedom with the medium.

    Colen's choice of chewing gum as a malleable and gestural medium exposes "a history, not one I necessarily know, but a history for sure. There is an infinity in 'real world objects' that, no matter how much I try, I couldn't paint or sculpt into being'' (Dan Colen,Trash, Gagosian Gallery, 2011). The three-dimensional surface and freely orchestrated strokes reveal a dextrous touch typical of graffiti, another motif intrinsic to Colen's ceuvre. In his skilled hands the humble chewing gum becomes not just material, but tangible evidence of memory and existence.

  • Artist Biography

    Dan Colen

    American • 1979

    American artist Dan Colen has spent most of his career asking himself questions about the editorial decisions artists have to make when creating a scene from scratch on canvas. In his early work, Colen painted mundane interiors punctuated with fantastical elements. This manifested as part of a growing curiosity in the ethereal or divine intervention.

    Colen subsequently stepped away from paint as material and started using found objects as mediums with which to paint. Among these, Colen has used chewing gum, street trash, confetti, feathers, flowers and dirt. This methodology allows Colen to abandon control and create in a more free-form, subconscious manner.

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A Slip of the Tongue

chewing gum on canvas
122 x 92.5 cm (48 x 36 3/8 in)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 'DC-76 Dan Colen 2010 "A SLIP OF THE TONGUE"' on the overlap. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £133,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

14 February 2013