Dan Colen - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 16, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Peres Projects, Berlin; Victoria Miro, London

  • Exhibited

    London, Victoria Miro, Absent Without Leave, 17 February - 17 March, 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    For a 2007 group show at London's Victoria Miro gallery, Dan Colen, the enfant terrible of the New York art scene, produced a series of 62 of his critically acclaimed bird shit paintings. Executed in thick oil impasto in shades of putrid green, the present lot is as much performative art as it is painting. As is so well captured in the present lot, Dan Colen's highly varied oeuvre, is inspired and influenced by what the artist refers to as ‘everything and nothing,' isolating insignificantly blatant and mundane moments of the declarative. ‘I have spent today installing my work in the gallery. I've made this large series of 62 canvases that I kind of threw paint at in different ways so they end up looking like they are made of bird shit. They vary in size, touch and colour. Some of them look like Pollocks, some look very realistic, others are painterly, some are dumb, some are elegant, some are beautiful. The last solo show that I did I put up sculptures of big boulders covered in spray paint, bubble gum and what looked like pigeon shit. Doing it straight on to a canvas this time around made it explode for me. I think it works perfectly with the theme of this show. The curator was really interested in the residue of performance as opposed to actual performance, as witnessed in the work of the artist Vito Acconci in the early 70s. What excites me is the idea of hypothetical pigeons being the performers, rather than me, so all the shit is the residue of their activity - I don't know if the curator saw it as that. The antics that the artist Dash Snow and I do is shit and giggles, but while everything about my life is worked into my art, this work isn't about mine and Dash's relationship.' (Dan Colen as quoted in My paintings look like shit, The Guardian, Friday 16 February, 2007)  

  • 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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Untitled (Bird Shit)

Oil on canvas.
122 x 92 cm. (48 x 36 1/4 in).
Signed and dated 'Daniel Cohen 2007' on the overlap.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £49,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

17 Oct 2009